I was very excited to get into SmartThings 2 years ago, but I can’t help but feel it is another stop gap solution in my long history with home automaton.
1.) It is not Smart! It does nothing with the data it collects from your usage; that seems to be for the sole benefit of SmartThings.
2.) It’s poorly automated. The word “Automation” brings with it a certain expectation of reliability, which IMHO is not there yet.
3.) It’s sluggish. Not just in responding to the instructions it has been given, but with regard to the company itself. For a small start-up, they seem surprisingly immobile. I look (from a user/consumer perspective) what’s been expanded upon over the last two years and am a little dumbfounded.
4.) I imagine most of us are already invested in one of the two leading mobile platforms. For me, since 2012, it has been Google/Android. Google knows when I’m not home. Oftentimes it knows where/when I will be leaving and how long I’ll be gone. And it knows when I am on my way back. It already uses this data (and much more) to provide me info proactively. Google even catalogs my photos and allows me to search for things in them “without me having to tag them”, and builds travelogs of my trips based on location data and photo content!
The thought of this kind of ‘smart’ behavior coming to devices in my home is very compelling. I don’t have to program it, just answer the occasional query as to whether I care about something I have previously expressed interest in.
While Samsung has the horsepower to accomplish something akin to this, I don’t believe they have the expertise. Apple, Google, and even Microsoft do. And Google has such an incredible head start, I’m betting on them.
And while there will be those that are uncomfortable with this kind of data mining, if your platform of choice is cloud based, it’s already being collected. Would you prefer for it to be used to your benefit, or solely for the platform owners?
So I am once again in a holding pattern, expecting, hoping, praying that 2016 is a year where we see solid indications that smart homes will actually become smart. I know Google can do it. Apple and Microsoft too. SmartThings/Samsung… not so much.