Important changes to Community Code Submissions and Developer Discussions

(Geko) #82

I don’t think so. There’s been many signs pointing in that direction. The biggest one of course is 2016 Smart TV fiasco that caused Samsung brass great embarrassment. The 2017 models are now available for preorder and they don’t include SmartThings hub functionality, which means that SmartThings has been written off by Samsung. Every announcement that ST has made over past three month bears signs of a company getting ready to change hands.

(Patrick Stuart [@pstuart]) #83

Ironically, at Mobile World Congress, Samsung didn’t talk phones, but did talk IoT and did have a slide showing Samsung SmartThings…

The reality is Samsung SmartThings will evolve away from what SmartThings was based on, an open platform…

It will be a brand for all Samsung IoT initiatives and the “hub” as we know it, and the services we have will slowly become less and less of a focus and something else… Something far more closed to the user, but maybe open to Samsung Developers, will emerge.

Just my two cents…

(Geko) #84

That was a grand idea before ST was acquired by Samsung. It’s been put to rest long time ago. The name is just a legacy nobody bothered to change. This was discussed adnauseum in the past and the conclusion always was that Smart App market was too small to provide meaningful source of revenue.

(Jimmy) #85

I was here for the full life cycle of Rule Machine. Judging by the following thread, they learned their lesson from that fiasco.

This would be a horrible business decision. I can’t even count how many people on here and the FaceBook group I’ve seen switch from Wink and immediately been like “I can’t believe all the stuff i can do with these community apps!”. Closing off the system would eliminate any competitive advantage they have and also get rid of what is essentially free labor that keeps SmartThings one of the most agile and adaptive consumer grade HA platforms.

This would be perfect! Developers potentially have an easier way to get revenue, ST gets a slice and it eliminates the users headache of having to learn to use the IDE.

(Patrick Stuart [@pstuart]) #86

Which is why all voices need to be heard. ST has been developing this model for months now, I fear. And they have proven to not listen to their customers… Promising but never delivering…

If its just a vocal 1-5% that they make no revenue off and drain resources, they will kill it to support the 95-99% of users that want stability over features (and community).

I would venture to guess 80+% of the end user accounts out there, never even log into the IDE, nor install “community code”.

(Geko) #87

Samsung has several independent IoT platforms developed by entirely separate business units. There’s been an attempt to unify them under SmartThings umbrella or at least implement some kind of interoperability layer. For all I know, these attempts failed due to various issues, some of them technical, but mostly due to corporate politics.

(Joel W) #88

I hope you are wrong, it will be a disaster. I wish they would come out with a true intent statement.

(Geko) #89

Openness is a double-edged sword. What worked well for a small start-up with a few thousand users and a handful of developers, may not be scalable to hundreds of thousand users. There’s been an obvious trend over past two years to put brakes on third-party apps and device handlers. Also, every major new feature introduced since the acquisition (e.g. SHM and video streaming) was not open to third-party developers from the start. Should I also mention recent cancellation of the Arduino shield which has been the singe most attractive and differentiating feature of SmartThings? I think this paints a clear picture what to expect from SmartThings in the future.

( I hate Mondays) #90

In the characteristic Blazing Saddles style, let me just ask:

Facebook group? There’s a Facebook group?!

(Dan P Parker) #91

That’s a bit like saying that ST doesn’t make any revenue from its own engineers and software developers, so there’s no business justification for facilitating their ability to enhance the product. Community developed extensions to the platform have been, and still are are a significant selling point and competitive advantage for ST. Take away apps like CoRE (or it’s predecessor, Rule Machine), LANnouncer, EchoSistant, Ask Alexa, numerous custom DHs, etc…or the possibility of the community creating them rather than being at the mercy of the product vendor…and it becomes much more difficult to justify recommending ST as the way to go for someone considering a significant hub-based HA solution.

(Jimmy) #92

Oh yes, search “SmartThings Users Group”, Currently sits at ~3300 people. But be warned, if you thought the forum was full of duplicate and basic questions, the FB group takes it to whole new level.

(Patrick Stuart [@pstuart]) #93

I don’t disagree. But they don’t market it that way. And again, no one has provided any proof that any of these community apps are installed on anything but 1-5% of the accounts. Event if its 20%, that’s still 80% of end users never touch this forum, facebook group, github, or any of the great community apps out there…

(Dan P Parker) #94

But that’s a very different thing from them not making any revenue from the efforts of community developers.

In the past month alone my recommendation of ST as the way to go is directly responsible for at least 4 new customers for the platform (1 family member and 3 coworkers who value my opinion on the subject), with that recommendation being largely based on the aforementioned community extensibility. Whether or not any of those new customers ultimately ever use any custom DHs or SAs, or ever see this website does not alter the fact that the revenue ST derived from the sale of those new hubs and any subsequent other ST products is a result of the efforts of community developers.

(Dan Fox) #95

Looking at ST from Samsung’s point of view, where is the profit potential for them? Selling a $100 piece of hardware and a few accessories? I can understand why most of the other smart home companies charge a monthly fee. Perhaps they see the future in some paid services that work with ST? (This is mere speculation on my part.)

That said, the reason I chose ST over IRIS and others was because of no monthly service fee. At the time, I didn’t know anything about it being an open system for developers, etc. But I am happy for the choice I made because of the vast customization potential.

I personally wouldn’t have a problem paying a one-time fee for some add on apps [Action Tiles, anybody] if I found them to be of use. That would be a way Samsung could recoup their support costs. I like that Action Tiles is offering a free trial period to evaluate the app before spending the money.

(Patrick Stuart [@pstuart]) #96

and as I’ve said, nothing I’ve seen shows that this community is anything but 1-5% of the entire userbase. Adding a customer because of this community or the code that we provide is great… But it is not the core audience or market ST is going after… Nor where their revenue is derived from.

(Dan P Parker) #97

And I’m not sure what it is that’s supposed to lead me to conclude. Is it that there’s some sort of 1:1 relationship between members of this site and ST revenue that is attributable to it? I doubt that my story is particularly unique, and that many others here are similarly responsible for getting people to adopt ST as their HA platform. Many of those new adopters will themselves talk about the product to people they know, and no doubt lead to at least some new customers…and so on, and so on. The growing popularity of a product is a very effective automatic marketing mechanism.

There seems to have been some drift here from your original statement, which is what I responded to. Let me quote it again:

“St makes zero revenue from their community developers.”

That is simply not true in any meaningful sense. It is open to debate whether not not any of that revenue results in profit when the cost of supporting community development is taken into account, but not whether or not it results in any revenue.

(Patrick Stuart [@pstuart]) #98

My original, in context point was the revenue the generate from revenue splits and charging for integration to 3rd parties is a key part of their revenue. In contrast they generate zero, and charge nothing from community developer solutions.

Yes, community apps bring people in, this adds revenue. But it isn’t 90% of their customers.

(Tony - SmartThings Unpublished Contributor ) #99

Just our luck - I hear that bribes are no longer favored over there…

(Dan P Parker) #100

That is a refutation of…

“St makes zero revenue from their community developers.”

…regardless of context.

No argument there…which is why I didn’t say anything to the contrary.

(Geko) #101

I would not overestimate significance of the community-developed apps. As of today, there’re 44,495 registered users, some of whom are no longer active SmartThings users. I’m pretty sure majority of SmartThings users don’t bother with community-developed apps either because they’re either not aware of them or find the process of installing them cumbersome and intimidating. I for one, have been using SmartThings for three years, but I never bothered with Core or SmartTiles. Just don’t have a good use for them.