Guest Access - Solution?

dashboard
accountsharing
actiontiles

(Gregory) #1

Okay.

I’ve gone through a few dozen threads about this already, and it’s annoying to me that SmartThings / Samsung ignores something that every other smart home company has - GUEST ACCOUNT ACCESS. Seriously, “SmartThings is the easiest way to turn your home into a smart home.” Adding a simple guest account for someone to use sounds pretty easy, or how about turn on this switch if the temperature is X outside? Oh wait, I have to install 10 different SmartApps to get the functionality I want that should already be programmed into it.

Without this community, I feel ST would be dead. And maybe that’s the problem - maybe the community does so much that ST just sits back and watches instead of implementing features that people are asking for.

Anyway - Rant over.

This is what I want to do, maybe someone can help me out. I want an APP (not a web browser based app) that I can connect to my SmartThings, to allow access to only certain devices for certain users. I am going out-of-town this weekend, and someone is going to be coming over to check on animals (cats) and get the mail.

Presence sensors are not an option. They are too unreliable and I’ve already had issues with them. Even simple ones like “Turn on this light when X arrives” never works even. Or the garage door tries to kill me because it thinks I’m 20 blocks away due GPS signal bouncing around.

IFTTT: I signed up, took me about an hour to find the “Applets” I created. I found about a thousand suggestions, every page, more suggestions on awesome stuff to do, just not a section / page on how to USE the stuff I created. Kept telling me to look on my home page, ummmm: Okay. All I see is more suggestions. Anyway - it does not appear I can invite people to see / view my Applets.

I also tried ActionTiles, and, no. Just no. There’s not a mobile App, it uses a web browser. Mobile browsers are horrible and rarely function correctly. That’s why we have an Appstore now. I did try it though, I set it all up, but commands were taking 10+ minutes to execute, if the page would even load properly. Cellular and/or on home wireless - I have GigaPower (1000 / 1000 Mbps), there is no excuse for the lag. The ST hub is near instant when I give commands.

So am I just asking too much here? Is this something that is not reasonable to do or ask for? If I have to learn to code and make an app that will do this, then so be it. But I can’t believe that ST has been around this long, that no one else has come along to take on that challenge. I had AT&T Digital Life before (still do, but didn’t want to pay monthly for the smarthome stuff), and it had these simple features - and that’s AT&T!

tl;dr: Is there a different solution to providing access to my ST without creating an account through Samsung, and also, isn’t IFTTT, ActionTiles and/or Core.


#2

Unfortunately, what you are asking for is not doable with the current platform. :disappointed_relieved: ActionTiles is the most popular solution for this kind of situation, and since you’ve already said you don’t want to use that, there really aren’t any alternatives that work the way you’ve described.

I suppose it depends on specifically how many devices you want to set for your house sitter.

The IFTTT integration does allow you to limit IFTTT access to specific devices.

So you could create a housesitter IFTTT account, only give it access to a few devices, and create some on/off “do” buttons for those devices and then have the housesitter put the IFTTT app on their phone. You would give them the password to the IFTTT housesitter account, but they can’t do very much with it because they can only access the SmartThings devices you authorized on the SmartThings side.

As far as finding the applets you created for that IFTTT account, go to www.ifttt.com , sign in with the housesitter account, and then click on “my applets” at the top of the screen. That takes you directly to any applets that you have already created.

If you are using the IFTTT app, it’s the same thing, but the my applets navigation is down at the bottom of the page:

To set up a single applet as a widget on the phone, follow the following instructions:

https://ifttt.com/help/applets-with-widgets

But again, it all depends on how many different things you want the housesitter to be able to do. If you need 4 widgets: disarm the security system, turn on all lights, turn off all lights, and arm the security system, the IFTTT method might be enough.

To remove the housesitter’s access after you get back, log into the housesitter IFTTT account, remove the SmartThings service, and since they don’t have your SmartThings password, they won’t be able to log back into it.

But if you want them to be able to do a lot more things, then, yes, at the present time smartthings does not have the concept of secondary accounts with limited access and it’s very annoying that they don’t.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #3

Hi Gregory,

Would you do me a super favor and drop me a line to Support@ActionTiles.com. While I agree that there are various efficiencies that are inherent in a “native mobile App” vs a “web App”; your experience of “10+ minutes” for command execution is absolutely not typical (we have had no such reports) and we want to do everything we can to figure out what went wrong during your exploration or configuration.

BTW: We gladly extend (reset) our free Trial periods for folks who experienced a less-than-ideal situation and would like to work with us to narrow down the issue or explore in more depth.

Typical response to ActionTiles commands is absolutely in the same ballpark as the SmartThings native mobile App. In other words, updates and commands in/from ActionTiles is 500ms to 1500ms. We are constantly working on performance improvements too and have a major initiative underway; yet obviously my concern and point here is that there is a huge difference between our “worst case” of 1.5 seconds and the “10+ seconds minutes (sic)” behavior you mention observing.

Keep in mind that SmartThings does not have a direct API for 3rd party user-interfaces (Apps, web-apps, voice controllers (Alexa, Google Home), external rule engines (Stringify), etc.), and thus there is a lower-bound on the maximum possible performance. We believe that an average response to updates and commands in the 500-ish ms range is likely the best than anyone can do. We consider anything more than 2500ms to be unacceptable and it’s very rare that SmartThings takes that long to respond to AT’s commands

As for the front-end redraws … We have folks running on very inexpensive Amazon Fire tablets who consider the performance to be “more than acceptable”, using the built-in Silk Browser, or a simple add-on browser like Chrome or Fully.


Though only 30 Reviews posted so far, we are proud and grateful for our 5-Star rating on Facebook. Doesn’t mean the app is a perfect fit for everyone, but we appreciate the happy customers. https://www.facebook.com/ActionTiles/reviews/


So… If you please send us a support request, I’d be beyond appreciative and indebted to you! We wouldn’t have the thousands of customers we have (and our very high conversion rate from free-Trial to paid) if lots of folks experienced the troubles you had. I want to be sure that you and other folks haven’t fallen into a crevasse that we have inadvertently overlooked!

Sincerely,
…Terry; Thingterfaces LP.
Support@ActionTiles.com


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #4

ActionTiles (and our underlying database platform) was architected from “day one” with secure sharing as a feature. Our pre-launch Beta refined and extensively tested this feature, and we were able to launch with full functionality.

We have subsequently, in v6.6.0, added the option to PIN Protect individual Tiles, adding another popular layer for security.

ActionTiles can now serve as the “traditional” arm/disarm keypad for SHM or for Virtual Switches that trigger CoRE or Routines that are sensitive. A Panel assigned to a guest login (or mounted in a shared area of the home) is securely limited to the functionality assigned by the Panel owner, and permissions can be added or revoked at any time. PIN Protection can be assigned to a Lock Tile to ensure that only folks with the PIN can unlock the door, even if your authorized family member or dog walk loses their logged in device.

There is no additional charge for unlimited guest accounts connected to the same SmartThings Hub, meaning that you can give a simple URL web-page link with personal login and password to your friends, family, dog walker, house cleaner, and so on. Honestly, we focus on functionality first, that’s why I admit that I haven’t done enough to help our customers understand the tremendous power at their fingertips in ActionTiles!


(Brett) #5

The issue you’re describing with ActionTiles is something I’ve never heard before. I run ActionTiles on 3 different Wink Relay’s which are very slow but when turning on lights and such through ActionTiles the lights turn on in 1 second. I also run ActionTiles on an old iPad mini 2 and a new Fire Tablet 8 and my experiences are the same.


(Tom fontaine) #6

Squeaky - I understand you are frustrated. As an actiontiles customer and user, I can tell you we are EXTREMELY satisified with this product for guest access.

My wife uses actiontiles exclusively to access all of our homeautomation features. I just opened her phone and her ipad - access is almost instantaneous … no lag.

I now have several Amazon fire tablets I plan to wall mount in my house for access. Through actiontiles, I have put a code on certain buttons I do NOT WANT anyone else but us homeowners to be able to run (like arming or disarming the security system). Works PERFECTLY.

Terry and Actiontiles have put out a great product. It really is the icing on the Smarthings cake in my opinion. It WILL WORK for what you want.


(Cam Soper) #7

Try Home Remote. You can create multiple instances of it in SmartThings, each instance with its own permissions. There are apps available for every platform, including Windows.


#8

Unfortunately, the Home Remote app doesn’t work with Voiceover. :disappointed_relieved: I looked at this again recently when SmartThings broke VoiceOver access in the official SmartThings mobile app two months ago, but the Home Remote app isn’t accessible, either.


(Scott Grayban) #9

I got the trial license and only had it for 3 hours… got the paid version immediately! I have had no issues in speed on any device AT is on.


(Cam Soper) #10

I’m sorry. It really sucks that it’s so hard to find accessible apps to do what you need to do. :cry:


#11

HomeKit and Wink both work, so it’s not impossible. But I haven’t found one that works with SmartThings since the official app broke. :scream:


(Patrick Stuart [@pstuart]) #12

I wouldn’t hold my breath for a solution from SmartThings on Guest access. It’s been on the wishlist for 3+ years.

I agree, trusting a 3rd party with your home data is a risk. As for your argument against web based solutions, you probably don’t realize most apps are just web views wrapped in an app container anyway…

There are several other dashboard like solutions, but nothing specifically for allowing guest access.

It is a huge gap in the offering. None of the major DIY HA platforms currently provide a native solution.

Unfortunately, given your requirements, you really are out of options at the moment.

Remember the original and ultimate goal for home automation is to NOT have to use an app, dashboard, etc. It should just work. Originally, the founders of SmartThings considered it a failure of the product if you had to open the app to do something.

Most of the basic automation can be done in routines. But most love WebCORE to do more complicated automations.

Bottom line, if you want to stick to native only solutions, you have to learn how to trick any system into doing what you want.

I’d focus on trying to automate and the need for Guest Access should go away if you can think of ways to use buttons, or other input devices to trigger what you want to happen for guests vs regular users.


(Mark) #13

Really? An hour? Here’s a screenshot of the IFTTT mobile app’s home screen:

I use safari on my iPhone all the time, including for sites that have their own apps, and I have no issues. As long as I don’t try to load a Flash site, I guess.

I recently set up my first actiontiles panel for use as a wall mounted dashboard and so far I think it’s great. Lag is no more noticeable than anything else I do with SmartThings.

You seem to have unusually poor experiences with several different mobile apps/websites.


(Gregory) #14

Your applets are located there, but those are just to toggle them on and off. If I have shortcut buttons, they are not located there. You have to add the “IFTTT” widget to the notification screen to actually access the buttons.


(Gregory) #15

Thanks. I will check that out.


(Gregory) #16

Thank you for the response.

If ST does not have a direct API, then how are apps like “Home Remote” and “IFTTT” working? The nice thing about having a native app on the device vs. a website is the ability to add push notifications for events, location alerts, sync data with iCloud (or other cloud services), less data usage (trivial, but still valid) and not relying on the mobile browser to not mess anything up if an update occurs. If Chrome pushes an update and it breaks something, then I can’t access the app. It’s great that other people have good experience with web apps. I’d just rather have apps to install on the device, that will pull the data instead of relying on HTML.

As far as the issues with AT itself. I don’t know. I know that it was taking 10+ minutes to unlock doors and turn lights on. Nothing in any logs, even tried disconnecting the API and reconnecting. It also would error out when trying to view cameras using the streaming API from NEST, which works with the NST Manager. Both in Safari and Chrome.

I really want a solution to give to my wife, for example, who wants one app to do everything. Not one for SmartThings, not one for NEST, RING, DigitalLife, etc…

I’d gladly pay $50 for an app that could do all that (maybe not the DigitalLife).

Thank you.


(Patrick Stuart [@pstuart]) #17

ST doesn’t have a direct API, all the 3rd party integrations use SmartApps in the background to connect via Oauth.

ST has an internal review process for those approved (read, pay money or agree to revenue share programs) to publish their smartapps into their marketplace. So there is no end user need to install the smartapp, it does it automatically.

Again, the whole purpose of automation is to not need to use an app. Use other points of user input, buttons, remotes, taps on lights, etc. to trigger your “Smart Home”.


(Mark) #18

IFTTT has a separate app for applets with the “Do” button too (on iOS at least). Not sure if that helps.


(Gregory) #19

Okay - That makes more sense then.

I understand that is the point of home automation, but we aren’t there yet. I can’t open my garage door without hitting a button, and using a presence sensor for that is WAY to insecure, which I’ve already experienced in my testing. Opening a web browser, logging into a website site, clicking a link and then clicking a button is too much “effort” for something that should be easy. I might as well get out of the car and put the code into the code reader, or better yet, use the garage door opener. Fortunately, I have HomeBridge working, so I can just ask Siri to open my garage, but it’s still a press of a button.

The majority of what I do now is automated. I don’t have to touch a single button other than to gain entry to the house. I’d love to be able to give my house sitter a card and then when they get close to the house, it opens everything. But that’s not practical.


#20

This is also a point of philosophical divergence. There isn’t a “right answer” on this yet. While there are many people who believe that the point of home automation is for things to happen without human intervention, there are probably just as many who believe that the point of home automation is to add additional convenience to “home control” actions initiated by a person.

A perfect example is the tremendous popularity of voice assistants like Amazon echo. They don’t make anything happen automatically, they just make it easier to do things on demand. But they are definitely driving the features that manufacturers are adding to home automation equipment, both at the low and high end of the market.

I personally believe we need both, just as people still want wall switches even after they add smart bulbs. Choice is good. :sunglasses: