I’m not sure how I missed this topic when I started my own. But what I’ve gathered so far is that what Iris intends to do is very similar to what SmartThings strives to do.
To get much functionality out of it, you need to pay $10/month so that you can get full functionality on your phone and set up a decent set of rules. They seem to claim compatibility with Zigbee and Z-Wave devices, like SmartThings, plus there are some Iris-branded items as well. What I’ve read from a bit of googling suggests that these Iris-specific devices have some additional code on top of standard Zigbee or Z-Wave and don’t work with other home automation systems–so probably wouldn’t work with SmartThings either.
The Iris-branded devices are pretty cheap: $20 presence fob, $25 motion sensor, $20 smart button, $30 smart plug, $20 open/closed sensor that they claim is indoor/outdoor. Only a few other devices are pushed by Lowe’s as Iris-compatible (including those GE outlets and switches and a Schlage deadbolt), though maybe any standard Zigbee/Z-Wave devices would actually work.
But overall the price point and basic functionality look similar to SmartThings. If the SmartThings team intends to charge a monthly fee on the order of the $10 Iris fee, I imagine that they would be pretty direct competitors. I would hope that SmartThings could beat Iris in terms of the customization available
(through the Internet and SmartApps) and the number of devices certified compatible. But I guess we’ll find out soon…