Is SmartThings still in business?

Again… Depends where you are looking from. We are doing some pretty innovative things to improve stability. Innovation can absolutely happen on existing feature sets. It doesn’t always have to be some new never before seen feature.

In fact I would argue that it’s dangerous to only focus on what I call “public innovation”. That leads to current feature sets being left behind and becoming broken and buggy.

I will tell you this… With our current balance of behind the scenes work and public work we are growing faster than ever before. Last month beat out all of 2015 as far as the growth metrics we track. So yes, we are very much alive.


Stagnation is in the eyes of the technology consumer, and for a technology/product business unit, the consumer is what matters the most.

I think we all want a stable platform, and we completely understand that stability should be of utmost importance. On the other hand, we would also like to see some of the major issues and concerns being directly addressed.

Open and proactive communication can often help to quash concerns. I think the sentiment in this thread is that the more the ST team communicates (honestly), the more attentive and involved the team is perceived. I believe that the ST team communicates well.

As you’ve stated, we’re all DIY’ers at heart. The irony about modern-day DIY is that it is a misnomer. We often Do-It-Together. I think some community members (consumers) just need to know that we’re all in this project together; that the ST team is in the trenches with us, sharing common goals and concerns.


I am more concerned about which Smartapps are going away. I bought into and sold several friends and family on the “one ring to rule them all” ability of Smartthings. They (and I) have belkin wemo products that were listed as supported when we bought the devices. I am hoping that smartapp isn’t one that is going away, but the smart apps that I am not considering that I use that go away are also a concern. Do we know how quickly they will start killing off the smartapps?

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The zwave protocol specifically allows for “controller shift” which lets you add a new controller to the network as a secondary and then change its role to be the primary. It works fine, many Z wave controllers support this, including vera, homeseer, and wink. However, it’s an optional feature, and SmartThings, for whatever reason, does not support it. (I don’t think Zipato does, either.) In the past, typically this had to do with memory restrictions on the physical device.

Zigbee is more complicated. But it can be done.

In both these cases, you have to have administrator access to the original hub, which is considered sufficient for security purposes. It’s the original hub which says it wants to transfer command to the new hub, not the new hub that just grabs it. So this feature is only available if the original hub is still operational. If the original hub died all together, then you have to rebuild the network from scratch.

In the US, people are very aware of this issue because one of the major competitors to SmartThings, wink, provided a very simple migration process when they released their second generation hub. It was done through their phone app at the account level. Both Wink hubs were added to the same account and then the migration was done pretty much automatically. This seemed to work very well for most people and not at all for some people. But it did set a new competitive standard.

Interestingly, wink’s migration protocol does not work if you are going from their V1 to a new V1. There has to be a V2 in the mix. Since the V2 has twice as much memory as the V1, I’m guessing that it was a memory restriction, but I don’t know for sure.

In Europe, Vera has long had a very simple migration method from one zwave hub to another, but at the time those were Z wave only devices. I don’t know if that’s still possible with their multiprotocol hub. Note that the vera migration can’t transfer third-party plug-ins (the equivalent of SmartThings custom code), but it does use the standard Zwave features to move the devices over.

So basically both the Z wave and zigbee standards currently require physical manipulation of an individual device like a sensor the first time it is added to a hub. As you mentioned, this is considered a security feature as it demonstrates that you do have physical access to the device.

Once the device has been paired with the hub, though, The standards do allow for that hub to transfer its control of the device to a new hub which has been added to the same network. But the standards do not require that this feature be implemented by all hubs, and in the case of SmartThings, it is not available. Again, my guess would be memory constraints, but I don’t know for sure. That’s just the most common reason why this feature is not supported.

So SmartThings isn’t the only hub that doesn’t offer controller shift, but there are some that do. It’s not always a feature that can be enabled later, though, particularly if memory constraints are involved.


I work in IT as I’m sure many of the folks in the community… Typically with a product release the product is barebones and the next month, years you add more and more features as you hear what the users want and or need. After that rush of adding features, etc the code and environments become discombobulated and disorganized - you then have to shift into cleaning, organizing, stabilizing and possibly refactoring all of the previous work.

I have no internal knowledge of Smartthings but that’s all I can assume is happening at this point. After they reorganize everything and prioritize then you’ll see another flurry of additions.

Migrating Z-wave and Zigbee devices can be done and several vendors already do it. This is just abandoning another promise by the CEO, plain and simple.

Up next is the abandonment of open source SmartApps like Connect apps, in favor of built in “super” apps that will not be released as open source (SHM anyone, yet another empty promise by the CEO).

We still lack a decent tablet experience, a decent TV experience, a decent API, actual local execution, actual local scheduling, actual local hubaction (https support and more) and so much more.

Folks, ST may have hundreds employed as Tim put it, but the size of employees has nothing to do with if a company is moving in the right direction. That comes from the top. I certainly hope ST can change and deliver what is so desperately needed to push this platform forward. Change is desperately needed.


What are the growth metrics that you track?
We’re not asking you to share the numbers, just what the metrics tracked actually are.

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If you mean growth metrics for the platform, those would include things like active households, active devices, daily active users, active “developers” on the platform, and a few others. We also track reviews very closely, including from Google Play, iTunes, and Amazon.

These metrics are available to all of our employees in the form of a dashboard that updates in real time.

Can’t imagine they would shut up shop, smart home automation is such a massive industry or will be in the future that they would be silly to give up on a ready made design when they going to have to compete in years to come anyway.

off the top of my head, some new features i can think of from the past 8 months (i think):

  1. ability to remove zigbee (i think) devices without deleting from the smart app first
  2. low battery icon on the device icon in the app
  3. routines added to Alexa
  4. Ring integration
  5. Arlo integration
  6. iris oc and motion fingerprints added to stock handlers to enable running locally
  7. improved stability
  8. OTA updates for ST devices, with more beta testing
  9. zigbee secure inclusion

probably forgetting more. So i’m not sure where you aren’t seeing changes/improvements/updates.

  1. Google Home integration
  1. Lutron Caseta support coming soon. Thank You!!

Tim, you do realize that those weekly blogs, e.g., haven’t happened in six months. I’m not so sure stagnation is just in the eye of the beholder!


Yeah, I can just see the charts…

  • Bugs are up 20%!
  • Complaints are up 10%
  • Sales are up due to increased marketing spend, and therefore we can take credit that…
  • Returns are up 25%
  • Inquiries about Alex’s missing posts are down from Oct-Dec, but up from 2015 as a whole!
  • Hiring of maintenance engineers is up 100%! (We hired two to replace the one who quit.)
  • SHM false alarms are a significant growth area for us

SHM got so bad that in December I turned it off entirely.

Remember Rules Engine? You guys killed that pretty effectively. My own submission, for LANNouncer, you dropped silently after seven months. (The project is still alive, but not integrated. Website for the curious.)

I hear you when you say you can’t tell us anything, but what happened to the Alex posts? Why is the platform still having “availability” issues regularly?


The existence of a future-oriented/installed-base-prioritized backup/migration options would actually demonstrate long term commitment to this market segment and its customers. Not prioritizing that makes it look much more like Samsung is still just dating, and is not gonna “put a ring on it” yet. :slight_smile:

Samsung is a VERY large company…like any other similarly large company, 200 employees in an of itself isn’t an indication of future commitment (or a lack thereof). In large consumer electronic company layoffs of thousands have not been uncommon (sadly), and reassigning 200 employees to other teams/activities is always an option.

Show me the money…

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@NWTony, that’s a great question! With the outage that started in December and continues today, (tomorrow will be about 7 weeks since we went “dark”), there are a bunch of us over on this thread wondering if SmartThings has pulled the plug on the cloud service, just like others that have gone dark.

Today I started shopping for alternatives. Might even go to the old-school, built like a tank products that have stood the test of time.

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@TracySmith I’m in the same.boat. Even more annoying is that SmartThings of their own admission does not monitor these forums at all, so they just turn a blind eye to all of us.

I am also looking into alternatives. The Wink looks like it is improved since I last tried it, so I may give it another shot (also easy return to Home Depot if it doesn’t work out). If that doesn’t work I am probably going to buy a ZWave USB and build my own device with a raspberry pi and OpenHab or similar software.


@Jason_Keirstead, I’m looking into several but might go old-school and check out HomeSeer. Its more technical than I want to be, but if I slow down and take some time I can build exactly what I need. I would be interested in hearing your experience with Wink, too (PM is fine so as to not hijack the thread). If ST gets this fixed in the next few days, they may be able to salvage what little trust I have left, but once I start moving things to an alternate platform and get it working, chances of staying/coming back are slimmer and slimmer.


I haven’t had the problems you are talking about. My biggest problem is the IDE takes a very long time to load and sometimes it times out. They are aware of it and are working to resolve it. All my automations work, so I have no big complaints yet.



I have a lot of respect for you but those kind of posts do you a huge disservice. By stating that stability can be innvovative you are effectively agreeing with my point. Since we do not have feature innovation, and since many of us have no real stability, there is in fact no innovation taking place.

Many people have called you and other staffers out about Alex’s disappearance from the forum and the lack of promised weekly updates. How about you directly address that, right here, right now, once and for all, for everyone to see?? I challenge you and the rest of the ST team to give us all a reason why that stopped happened and why Alex is gone from the forum.

Better yet, how about Alex come here and directly address the community, right on this thread. Can you make that happen???

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