Is SmartThings dead?


(Chris) #1

They don’t appear to be adding new features, developing new smart apps, supporting new hardware, or integrating with new APIs. They have not been updating the app regularly or fixing its many, many bugs, including some massive ones that have been open and public for years. (Like the inability to create new modes, which is functionality core to the use of the product) The hub and system also have many serious bugs that have gone for years without being addressed even though they are well known and frequently reported. It seems that Samsung is willing to continue selling the hardware but has totally abandoned new development or support/updates to the product. Very disappointing.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #2

SmartThings is definitely not “dead”.

Their focus is certainly largely hidden from public view, however, especially consumers.

Current intense initiatives include:

  • Merging of Samsung’s multiple IoT and smart home clouds into a single [new] “SmartThings Cloud”

  • Introducing and shaking out an entirely new API to this cloud that is distinct from the current Groovy/IDE based environment which is to be deprecated once the new API is stable. It is currently in public Beta. The new API retains a lot of pieces the old paradigm (i.e…, Capabilities, Device Types, SmartApps), but refines and enhances their definition and usage considerably.

  • Merging of Samsung’s “Connect” smart home App with the SmartThings mobile App.

  • Merging and Migration of SmartThings and Samsung’s feature code to the new API and App (e.g., SHM, Smart Lighting, Alexa); and new apps (Bixby; probably a rule manager, etc.).

  • Continued research and effort by a “Hub” team, including defining a “Hub OS” of sorts, that allows TVs, ADT Panels, NVIDIA boxes, etc., to be Hubs with just software and an RF dongle; but also leveraging the above changes and unrushed R&D to improve the “local execution” situation.


Are there a ton of bugs and feature requests that are not being addressed: Definitely. Probably most of the stuff that’s visible and annoying to long term customers won’t be fixed overnight, but rather will evolve out of the benefits of the above projects.

Will this be a 2 steps forward - 1 step back experience… probably. There’s no reason for that pattern to change.

Conclusion: Samsung and SmartThings are in this for the loooong game (years and years or decades). SmartThings is moving from toddler to middle-school and beyond … with elementary school happening behind the scenes.


(might be my fake name?) #3

You can create a new mode. You have to go to the Smartthings API to do that.


(Mark) #4

But they have a new logo now!


(Glen King) #5

I hear that took a large development team months to conceive, test, debug, and roll out.


(Dan) #6

SmartThings is now on its 3rd logo, but still no Entry/Exits delays in SHM. :wink:


(Keith Croshaw) #7

Thanks for that. I’ve found things to be stagnant as of late. Whatever they do the best not break WebCore! I’ve just switched everything to it!
Although WebCore is probably why I don’t lurk here anymore. :yum:


(Glen King) #8

I still run simple automations in ST whenever possible.
But yeah, webcore is a great tool for anything beyond those simple automations.


(Keith Croshaw) #9

Fun fact, I can’t seem to get WebCore to toggle my TCL Roku TV on and off. So whenever I trigger things from WebCore for good night and goodbye I trigger a good old fashioned ST routine, which handles it fine.


#10

Are you referring to the windows app? Because that one is dead.

As far as the iOS and android apps, each of those had three or four new releases last year, so they clearly haven’t been abandoned. Well, they hadn’t been abandoned up until now (March 2018) when the SmartThings mobile app is now being combined with the Samsung connect mobile app, and I’m not sure what that’s going to mean in terms of new features. But clearly there’s been activity and corporate resources invested.

As far as new features which Hub V2 customers would see, the most obvious would be the introduction of scenes and the smart lock solutions feature in 2017. Both of those were pretty significant “gap fillers”.

From a corporate perspective, 2017 also saw the introduction of the Nvidia shield extend, Samsung Connect, and the ADT/smartthings security panel. That’s three new versions of the hub in one year. So those were pretty significant, although they didn’t add anything for existing V2 customers.

I agree with those who said that most of the effort has probably been behind the scenes on the new platform architecture. There have been a number of comments about that in the developer threads, but it isn’t anything that the average V2 customer would see yet.

So just looking at it as an outsider would, I think there’s pretty clearly been ongoing corporate resources invested in the platform in 2017. They have not treated it as an EOL product.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that they’ve necessarily delivered the features and functionality that the existing customers have been asking for, in some cases for years. And they broke some critical features for some customers, such as VoiceOver navigation which broke in April 2017 and still isn’t fixed in spite of multiple app releases Since then. I’m also confused about the current state of zwave support for multi channel devices. The official smartapp for that was deprecated over a year ago, but has never been replaced. They also broke the integration with Samsung smart televisions several months ago, which would be very concerning, except I think that’s going to be fixed in the new platform. We’ll have to see.

I think it’s clear that there’s a lot of corporate investment and a lot of change going on, it’s just not totally clear yet what the goal of all that activity is.


#11

I think it’s fair to say that the inbalance of ‘run’ and ‘change’ with ST is what is causing problems.

‘Run’ means fixing existing problems, adding new device capability, increasing capacity where needed, fixing the TV integration etc.

‘Change’ is the new app, account migration, Samsung Connect related migration… All the stuff mentioned above.

As a 6 month old ST user, I’m not jaded enough to think it’s worth looking at alternatives yet. The roundabout of outages and limited official product offerings has caused me to pause migrating anything beyond lighting and heating over to ST…

I get that fixing old problems doesn’t pay the bills, and new shiny things keep the cash rolling in… But more focus on ‘run’ is needed to keep these outages at bay.


(Jimmy) #12

Forgetting about building a whole new back end and app, didn’t we just get a hub firmware update within the past month that added more local devices?


(Benji) #13

Yes, SmartThings is completely dead, absolutely nothing is going on and nothing works anymore, no new products are being added, no new staff is being hired, my hub does absolutely nothing, the website is down and there’s no one on the community anymore.


#14

There’s no denying that the new stuff coming up is very exciting, and I sincerely take my hat off to the ST staff who undoubtedly work themselves to the bone to get the new stuff in whilst under a lot of pressure from Samsung. Threads with titles like this must be disheartening/disappointing/irritating (delete as appropriate), but reliability and existing broken integration does need to be addressed. You can’t build skyscrapers on faulty foundations…


(Jimmy) #15

as long as the building is still standing, don’t need to repair the foundation when a new one a block over is 90% complete.


(Chris) #16

@JDRoberts, no I’m referring to the iOS app

@eric182 I’m aware that you can log into the API to create modes (something your average user will be unable to do), but during an update several years ago they removed that ability (possibly mistakingly so) from the iOS and Android apps. That functionality is core to using their system, so the fact that it has not been re-added indicates they are A: not paying attention to their users that have been filing bug reports and asking about it for several years, and B: not really thinking about how their product is used or how the user experience can be improved.

My concern is that bugs are not being fixed, meaning they are not focusing on the user experience. Yes, they do update the app several times a year, but those updates are few and far between, and have not included much in the way of new features/improvements. If anything (like the sudden removal of modes) they have been a step backward. The latest update to the app actually doubles the number of user interactions required to dismiss and flag a false alarm. That is only compounded by some bugs (mentioned later) frequently cause false alarms for some users. I’ve been averaging around 5 false alarms per week for around 3 of the 4+ years I’ve been using SmartThings due to a geofencing bug that has not been addressed.

Don’t get me wrong, I love SmartThings. I’ve spent thousands outfitting my home with their hardware. But they are not holding up their end of the bargain. No new smart apps, falling way behind in supported devices, falling even further behind on integration with other smart home APIs and services, and have an increasingly long list of bugs (some critical) that have been reported but not addressed for years. I have 2 major bugs that have been on their radar for over 4 years now. One relating to geofencing’s inability to detect the re-entry of a device if it leaves the zone and returns within a 10-30 min period of time, and one relating to the alarm functionality that controls the color of Philips Hue lights. Those are jus the 2 unaddressed bugs I’ve reported that have been outstanding for over 4 years, there are many more that have gone 1-2 years without addressing. I get that not everything will make it to the top of the queue, but eventually bugs that cause frequent issues for users should get some kind of attention. Especially when those are tied to the alarm functionality.

The sad reality is that the quality of the user experience with the Samsung SmartThings product line has been declining (which given how bad it was at first is saying something!), and with a little attention from Samsung that could be easily addressed. The potential is there. They just need to listen to users, fix bugs, and update the slow/buggy mobile apps more frequently to at least show that they are trying to improve things.

I get that they are doing some tasks behind the scenes, but they have horribly neglected everything else.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #17

You’re aware of the expression “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”?

I never cease to be amazed at how long-time SmartThings customers continue to believe that the company will suddenly change their characteristics once their personality has been firmly established. Particularly since every complaint and lack of resolution is documented in this archive.

If a bug hasn’t been fixed in 2 years, then there’s no evidence it will be fixed in 4.

SmartThings will fix what it chooses to fix whenever they choose to fix it. The official position is that they’ll fix more stuff after the evolution to the new cloud, API and App, but none of that has a committed timeline, and we also know SmartThings has broken more promises than filled.

The excitement pre-Hub V2 launch was tremendous, immeasurable, impatient, and highly speculative, but the delivered product met perhaps 30% of expectations or less. Yet we’re still here and the company continues to grow.

New expectations get set every year (some by the company, but even more by its customers :roll_eyes:) and some come through and others don’t — with zero correlation to the Community’s input. That’s never changed.


SmartThings isn’t dead. It’s being “itself” - no more and no less than ever before.


(Glen King) #18

Wife and I are installing a new kitchen in the upcoming months.
Guess what brand refrigerator, oven, cooktop and dishwasher we’re not even considering.

That’s easily $6K that Samsung does not stand a chance of getting from me… and it’s because of exactly the sort of things mentioned by vexFX. Beyond Smsung’s refusal to fix obvious bugs or live up to their ST promises, he mentioned the multiple steps needed to dismiss a false alarm. How about the MyHome - Things screen? Why aren’t the dimmer sliders there? Why do you have to open an individual device to dim it?

I’m invested in the ST environment, in large part due to this user community. But Samsung is the most atrocious customer service company I’ve ever experienced (I’ve documented some of those issues here previously). Everything they do is to try to draw in new customers, with very little care for existing customers. In a world of billions of potential suckers, clearly they are doing OK.

But not from me anymore.


(Allan) #19

I ran the old version of the app for precisely this reason. I want to click once and then dim something, not click three times to do the same thing. Not only that it looks stupid having the dimmed percent twice on the same device. I never will understand this change that to me is completely backwards. And were still don’t have entry/exit delays to get around there buggy/borderline non-functioning presence detection. I’m still waiting to see how the whole Hubitat thing plays out especially since my system is relatively simple.

The staff that is on these forums has said multiple times that they track requests for changes or new features when someone puts in a support request. But never have I seen a official survey sent out by SmartThings asking its users for feedback on what they would like changed or improved. They have everyone email address, it wouldn’t be hard. It does seem they will do what they want to do when they want to do it and just try to sell as much hardware as possible to get people locked in. Just my impression lately, hopefully I’m wrong.


(Mike) #20

What scares me is they are combining Samsung Connect (that still thinks my dryer is a washer) and Smartthings (that connect even turn my Samsung KS8000 TV on).

Connect seems to be for the general public who just want simple and I am afraid we will end up with more “simple” and lose a lot of the features that Smartthings already had (as we have already lost things like “double tap”.