Is Amazon beating ST PR?

(Someday my dog will be automated) #1

If you don’t follow CNET, they have been quite pro-ST for a while, and you get ST ads in their website as well. Even though they’ve always “preferred” the hubless smart home, they went for ST and now they are ditching it.


I read that article and while it makes sense for the security aspect, the point of the ST solution was to control everything else. Originally they didn’t list security as a priority. That being said, I’m a few days into my ST adventure and everything has been flaky according to the status page since.
Maybe I broke ST. LOL

(Beckwith) #3

They mentioned “software has stagnated rather than improved” but that seems to miss the real issue. The community has produced great solutions in spite of SmartThings tumbling quality and reliability.

(Someday my dog will be automated) #4

This is true. But I doubt CNET as a tech reviewer for “common people”, will recommend their readers to go into a forum and look and ask for answers. Just not the Plug & Play they might be expecting, I guess.

Bingo. This is why I don’t get when they talk about a hubless system. If you have a Nest/Ecobee, Echo, Garageio, IFTTT, Scout, Racchio, Ring, etc., it is nice that they play together through Alexa, but you won’t have motion and door sensor-controlled lights, and you’ll find yourself talking to Alexa every time, instead of having things happening automatically.


I think the key is this from the article:

We’ve also tired of SmartThings as a hub.

SmartThings introduced me to harmony, echo, the Hue bridge, and Beecon plus.

I use all of these every day, and each of them has significantly improved in functionality over the last year. In echo’s case, by a lot. In the hue bridge’s case, by a little (mostly better pricing for the Hue white bulbs, but also the addition of HomeKit).

But I’ve also taken each of them off of SmartThings, because the SmartThings side just was too much work.

I would love to see a stripped-down version of SmartThings that worked reliably even if it meant a limited set of devices, as long as it maintained triggers and notifications from zigbee sensors.

I’ll go further and say I would pay more for a stripped-down version of smart things that worked reliably assuming it also integrated with echo and provided network mapping utilities to make it easier to figure out the problem when something went wrong.

I’m hoping that’s what the TV-based version of SmartThings delivers. There’s no way of knowing now, but I still have hopes. :sunglasses:

(Scott G) #6

To be fair, they didn’t say they were ditching ST; but that they were tired of it as their “hub”. Ever since Echo got into the Smart Home game, they’ve started making all of their smart home product picks based on integration with Echo, even ones that don’t make a lot of sense to me (garage door, security, locks). I love my Echo as much as the next guy, but they’ve gone WAY overboard.

This! They’re now building a voice controlled home that is still mostly dumb just like you point out. Each Cnet smart home article has gotten progressively worse in its over-reliance on Echo as the sole determination of a quality product.

(Someday my dog will be automated) #7

Totally agree. Alexa changed my life (a bit of exaggeration, here). But I wouldn’t want to have to say “Alexa, do this…”, “Alexa, do that…” every time I want something. I want things to happen without me doing anything (sounds very lazy once I say it out loud).

Don’t we all. I would gladly change SmartApp customization power, as long as the official things worked flawlessly. Don’t get me wrong. Being able to use a ST multi inside a cube to change things, and making apps to support non-official devices and all of that is great, but if the system worked without a hitch, I would choose that over anything.

(Geko) #8

We’ve also tired of SmartThings as a hub. Yes, it works with an array of smart home products, but the app still doesn’t deliver the “easy, universal accessibility” that was originally promised. It would be great if we could easily find and control all sorts of products from different manufacturers through a single app, but the usability of SmartThings’ software has stagnated rather than improved.

Wow! That’s the first pretty significant negative verdict from the mainstream media. I guess frustration is not limited just to the posters in this forum. @tgauchat, comments?

(Geko) #9

There’s no way to automate everything if you have more than one person living in the house. Simply because each person has its own needs and preferences and not a single automation system on the market today is capable of personal identification, unless you force everyone wear an RFID tag at all times, which would be totally insane. So there’s no way around command and control component and using voice for this is the best option so far. Therefore CNet’s decision to build their smart home around Echo makes perfect sense. If you don’t want to talk to your house, there’s a solution that’s been around for 20 years - wall mounted scene controllers.


It all comes down to exactly which use cases you need at your house. That’s going to vary a lot. But you can set up many things so that they can be operated from echo or run on a schedule or from some other triggers.

I can put lights on a time schedule without needing a hub at all. Just the Hue bridge and IFTTT.

I can throw in Geopresence for arrival and departure again with IFTTT.

For me, right now, the biggest challenge is lights and notifications that are triggered by motion sensors. There are some options. Kumostat Wireless tags work with IFTTT. Obviously several of the hub-based systems do.

Harmony can run a totally local zigbee sensornet, but it’s a little too local for my tastes as you can’t get any notifications from it.

I’m still going to wait until May to see what the options are for my phase 2, and it somewhat disconcerting that HomeKit still doesn’t have battery powered motion sensors, but there are getting to be more choices even if you require that all the “that’s” also work with echo. :sunglasses:

(Geko) #11

Insteon motion sensors should work with HomeKit, no?


No. :disappointed_relieved:

First, if you choose the HomeKit-enabled hub, you get Siri, but you lose Echo.

And then there’s this:

“Insteon plus” (the HomeKit enabled Insteon control app) is actually “insteon minus” any device class which is not yet supported in HomeKit.

(Geko) #13

Ouch… Not surprising that even mainstream media gets frustrated with “smart” home technology. :frowning:

(Someday my dog will be automated) #14

I know, I know. It’s not easy. I should have said it was from my point of view and my use for me and my wife. Automation is very relative to each person’s needs. You can get around only by using occupancy sensors and Hue bulbs in other places, if your habits allow for that. I really like my Echo and use it quite frequently. But it is just not enough by itself for me.

You can technically consider the Hue bridge a hub. :wink:
On a more serious note, true. It all depends on your needs. I can imagine why Alexa and Homekit are very important in your case. But it wouldn’t be enough for most other people.

Still, I think ST might be losing some grip on the market here, according to the tech media. If even CNET is noticing the limitations of the platform, it goes to say a lot about it. We’re talking about the “tech reviewer” that gives all Apple products an almost perfect rating, all Samsung phones and mostly publishes Star Wars related stuff.


Actually not. Technically. :smile:

ZLL doesn’t require a central coordinator. The hue bridge passes along requests, but isn’t actually a hub.

Its purpose is to bridge communication between the LAN and the ZLL network.

(Someday my dog will be automated) #16

Hey, I said “consider”. Not all of us are network engineers. :wink:

(Mike) #17

It looks like we creating another meaning for hub, already used in networking.
like “hacker” mean different thing in 1960 and now

Smartthings Hub is more Automation router or switch (central control and adding ports)
Hue bridge is a hub (repeating without directing and adding ports)

The term ‘hub’ is sometimes used to refer to any piece of network equipment that connects PCs together, but it actually refers to a multi-port repeater. This type of device simply passes on (repeats) all the information it receives, so that all devices connected to its ports receive that information.

Hubs repeat everything they receive and can be used to extend the network. However, this can result in a lot of unnecessary traffic being sent to all devices on the network. Hubs pass on traffic to the network regardless of the intended destination; the PCs to which the packets are sent use the address information in each packet to work out which packets are meant for them. In a small network repeating is not a problem but for a larger, more heavily used network, another piece of networking equipment (such as a switch) may be required to help reduce the amount of unnecessary traffic being generated.


Switches control the flow of network traffic based on the address information in each packet. A switch learns which devices are connected to its ports (by monitoring the packets it receives), and then forwards on packets to the appropriate port only. This allows simultaneous communication across the switch, improving bandwidth.

This switching operation reduces the amount of unnecessary traffic that would have occurred if the same information had been sent from every port (as with a hub).

Switches and hubs are often used in the same network; the hubs extend the network by providing more ports, and the switches divide the network into smaller, less congested sections.


Doesn’t do this. All Hue messages are directed to reduce traffic on the mesh. It’s a bridge.

(Some of us are network engineers. :wink: )

(Mike) #19

silly me, Hue bridge is a bridge :grinning:
I have to agree

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #20