I am a Smartthinger now! My day 1 Z-Wave experience


(Rubin Dhillon) #1

Well - as of last night I am. Received my kit yesterday and plugged it in.

I have an existing Z-Wave network of about 30 devices, so the first thing I wanted to do is setup the Smartthings Hub as a secondary controller. The Z-Wave documentation pointed mt to menus I could not find in the Smartthings app. Support told me it was because I am an Android user (this should be made clear in the Z-Wave docs). Anyways … they pointed me to the Z-Wave tools in the Smartthings Hub web interface (once again - not mentioned in any docs I could find).

I’m using the Open Z-Wave tools with a compatible USB stick. For whatever reason I could not get the Smartthings Hub set up as a secondary controller. (I’m not sure it was the Hub’s fault). So I ended up transferring the role of Primary Controller from USB to Hub and now all of my Z-Wave devices show up in Smartthings! Woooohoooo!

So now that I have my devices - here are my initial findings. I am using the Android app since I’m quite allergic to anything Apple-related…

  • Need the Z-Wave tools in the Android app (obviously).
  • You really need to add the device name to each of the circles in the UI. I now have 30 something devices and I have to click on the little gear to figure out what they are (and rename them).
  • Often trying to change the Icon for a device does not stick - I change it and it just reverts back to default.
  • I’ve created a few groups, which is easy and intuitive. What would be really great is an ability to add one device to multiple groups!
  • I’ve found a few useful apps that enable me to turn specific devices on at Sunrise/Sunset etc. I need to determine whether there are apps that let me select GROUPS instead of individual devices.
  • Lights turn on much faster and seem more responsive than my old Open Z-Wave setup (using the ZVirtualscenes open source server on a PC)
  • The App has crashed on me a few times.
  • I will keep using my existing setup (ZVirtualscenes) and Android app (Lightswitch) for the time being since the Wife Acceptance Factor is not there yet with Smartthings. I’m hoping the WAF is improved to the point where I can retire my old setup in future.

QUESTION: Why has the development of the iOS app had a higher priority than Android? I understand the business case etc for most apps, but given the development nature of Smartthings (it really is not just a simple, polished, plug and play solution yet), I thought the Android community would be a better place to start.


(Chrisb) #2
- You really need to add the device name to each of the circles in the UI. I now have 30 something devices and I have to click on the little gear to figure out what they are (and rename them).
This has been something complained about in the past... For now, you can shake your phone and it will momentarily display the names. A number of users have pointed out that shaking a multi-hundred dollar device vigorously is not something the average Joe wants to do. :)

You can also change the icons to help distinguish your devices, and you can put them in folders/groups to help organize as well.

- Often trying to change the Icon for a device does not stick – I change it and it just reverts back to default.

When you first select a new icon, it “previews” the icon for you in the tile. But you need to hit the check mark on the right hand side to “save” the change.

- I’ve created a few groups, which is easy and intuitive. What would be really great is an ability to add one device to multiple groups!

Also something that’s been requested. There is a brand new interface that’s coming down the line soon. iOS users have it and it’s scheduled for Android in the next Month or so. Given that, this request is probably not high on the list.

- I’ve found a few useful apps that enable me to turn specific devices on at Sunrise/Sunset etc. I need to determine whether there are apps that let me select GROUPS instead of individual devices.

As far as I know, no there is no way to select a group. Part of the problem with this idea is that there may be many types of things in a group, like switches, outlets, mutli-sensors, motions sensors, etc. Not all of these can be turned on or off of course. That said, many apps allow you to select more than on device when installing. When selecting devices for a program, if there are check boxes you can pick multiple devices. If there are check circles then it’s just one device.

QUESTION: Why has the development of the iOS app had a higher priority than Android? I understand the business case etc for most apps, but given the development nature of Smartthings (it really is not just a simple, polished, plug and play solution yet), I thought the Android community would be a better place to start.

Another question that’s been asked before! :slight_smile: It generally seems that most (if not all) the early people inside SmartThings were/are iOS users, so they naturally gravitated towards the iOS side first. They had said that Android is a priority and they are making strong efforts to bring the Android app up to par with the iOS. That said, iOS still seems to be their preferred app and it had a good head start. This isn’t to say that SmartThings isn’t committed to the Android side. The Android app has made many strong strides since it was initially offered in Beta many months ago. But I think that iOS will probably always be 1/2 step ahead, at least for the foreseeable future. I use Android myself and I think the program is, for the most part, pretty good and solid. There’s still some polishing I’d like to see of course, but these still some room for improvement.

This is all just my opinion of course… but it seems to fit what we’ve seen.