Leaving SmartThings for.....?

Hi All,

After many years as an ST advocate, I think I’m just about ready to leave.
I’ve got a network of around 150 devices, which used to perform well, but isn’t now.
I’ve given the new app a good 6 months to grow on me, and it hasn’t, It’s so slow I tend to walk to the switch and flick that (even if it’s 2 floors away).
I think that I need to reconstruct my Z wave mesh, fault finding & resolving the points at issue. None of that is the new app’s fault, but ST doesn’t seem to be helping me with this.
Support has also gone from being useful, if slow, to being a bit quicker but entirely useless.

So I think the relationship is coming to an end, and I’m beginning to look for other partners… What I’m keen to understand from everyone is whether the grass is actually greener on the other side, and what options I should consider.
The network is a lot of Fibaro Z wave, some Sonoff Wifi, some homebrew esp8266 using STAnything, and other one offs (Nuki door lock, Netatmo weather, Meross garage opener), all hooked up to an ST v2 hub.
In terms of coding, I’m using WebCore Pistons where existing smartapps don’t cut it.
I realise that migrating is going to be a huge task, but what I have now is not working well enough and so even staying with ST is going to require a lot of work, and a deepening of my understanding / getting further under the hood in order to understand where my issues lie.

All input is welcomed!
All the best, James

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I now use Hubitat and am very, very happy with the speed, local execution and how everything “just works” now every hour, of every day, of every week.

But, the transition was not without it’s difficulties and took me close to 6 months to get it all sorted out. When I started, I had a SmartThings hub. When I was done with my transition I had a Hubitat hub, a Hue bridge and a lightify gateway. My bulbs and LED strips needed to be separate from my main Hubitat hub.

See the “alternative hub” thread below for other people’s thoughts.

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I saw this and figured I’d share my own experience with Smartthings.

I came to Smartthings about a year ago when Wink pulled their subscription nonsense. I was extremely happy with it for the first few months. Then the trouble started. First, the classic app was phased out. It wasn’t a huge deal for me since I actually started with a V3 hub and new app was required to set that up, but then I had some devices that older handlers didn’t work in the new app. I actually spent time digging into those and even figured out the coding to fix those device handlers, and published them on my Github and got very involved with the awesome folks at the community here. All was good. Then, they killed Echo Speaks. There was no suitable replacement, so I looked into alternatives. At first, I tried Home Assistant, but at the time I thought it was overly complicated, and I hated the “Open Zwave” integration. Voice monkey came along and I was able to work around losing Echo Speaks so stuck with Smartthings. Again, got everything working. So I ran a dual Smartthings/Homeassistant setup for a long time- from September until last month. It gave me time to really figure out Homeassistant and learn more about it.

Then, Voicemonkey was pulled from Alexa and was out for weeks. I ended up moving all Alexa announcements and control to Home Assitant using the Alexa Media Player integration, and just gradually moved more to Home Assistant day by day. Then, there was a post in the Webcore community about its uncertain future, with a “doomsday clock” ticking for the IDE to go off sometime this year. There is still no plan or communication from Smartthings about what will happen around the IDE phaseout. Given how they handled the classic app phaseout, it didn’t leave me with a lot of confidence they will magically “get it right” this time. So, I switched all my automations from Webcore to Node red (the rules engine basically everyone with Home Assistant uses) due to the uncertainty around Webcore.

Home Assistant then integrated with a new Zwave tool, ZwaveJS2Mqtt, a few months ago, and I moved all my zwave devices to it. The tool is awesome for zwave control, with a UI, network map, and advance diagnostic capabilities. Also everything with it just worked, no complex Groovy device handler needed. ZwaveJS2Mqtt

After this, I only had a handful of zigbee sensors left on Smartthings. I got a zigbee stick and finished moving those over the Home Assistant. Basically, one day I woke up, and realized nothing was left on Smartthings. I disconnected the Hub a few weeks ago and no longer use it at all. It wasn’t a “final straw”, and I still like the product a lot and it has a huge place in the Home Automation market. There is NO way I could have gone from Wink to Home Assistant without using Smartthings first. It is just overly complicated for a new user. I think Smarrthings still is important to get people involved with Home Automation, and the more people in the market, the better products we can all get. However, over time, I think more advanced users just kind of outgrow it.

You could possibly try my path and run a dual Home Assistant/Smartthings setup, and give it a try. You link them together with the Smartthings integration - SmartThings - Home Assistant What’s nice about Home Assistant is if you have an old computer or laptop lying around, you can run it on that. Its open source, so trying it out for me at least was very little upfront cost. It is much cheaper then say buying a Hubitat, especially if you don’t like the Hubitat. However, be warned it is a huge time suck and very technical. In the end though, I have a local system that works great, and I don’t have to worry about what will happen in the future as much. I would definitely say it was worth it.

This guy had a similar transition it appeared - he has a video I think is worth watching - SmartThings to Home Assistant: Joining the Dark Side - YouTube

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Different things will work for different people. You’ll find lots of discussion in the thread already mentioned above.

As for me, I realized that I needed a more stable reliable set up back in 2015. There are a lot of things I really like about SmartThings , but I just can’t count on it. And as a quadriparetic, I need to be able to count on my home automation system.

I ended up moving all of my critical use cases to Apple’s HomeKit, continuing to use smartthings for some convenience use cases where it provided options that HomeKit didn’t have.

Over the years, HomeKit has gotten better and better, supporting much more complex automations through the Shortcuts feature, and a wider variety of less expensive devices, particularly Meross and Xioami. The Aqara Zigbee sensors Which are often flaky with smartthings are rocksolid on HomeKit when using their own camera as the base station.

For the last year or so I haven’t had a smartthings hub at all, but continued to use it to bring in my Switchbot devices, which don’t have a HomeKit integration.

I also use Alexa a lot, and their routines Have also continued to dramatically improve over the last couple of years.

Meanwhile, The stability of smartthings remains problematic, particularly when you include undocumented changes, and the app has gotten worse and worse with regard to voice navigation. :disappointed_relieved: multiple ST staff have assured me both in the forum and privately that they are going to improve accessibility, but it’s clear that they just don’t have a corporate commitment to that. All of my other apps, including HomeKit and Alexa, are at least usable for me with some practice. ST is not.

I wouldn’t recommend that anyone who doesn’t already have an iPhone get into HomeKit, the startup cost will be too high. And while more powerful than it used to be, the logic is still more limited than MQTT or Hubitat or Homeseer. But for someone who wants a nice app, plug and play convenience, reliability, and local operation, it’s worth considering. Even more so if you need accessible features.

There are a lot of choices out there now. If you don’t mind paying a monthly subscription, Abode is another possibility. It has a nice app, supports Zigbee, zwave, And its own proprietary protocol, and has security features that the others don’t, including professional monitoring as an option. Not for somebody who uses a lot of Webcore, but just right for some people.

Every system has pluses and minuses, and none of them are perfect, but there are definitely a lot of choices now. :sunglasses:

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@oldcomputerwiz Lightify gateway service will shutdown in May

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Based on the link you provided they are shutting down the cloud service on August 31, 2021.

"Osram will therefore be shutting down the cloud server for controlling the Lightify gateway on August 31, 2021. "

The August date is the one they have been using for quite some time now. Your devices should continue to work locally on Hubitat you just won’t be able to add any more.

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Just out of curiosity, if you have Hue bridge, why haven’t you paired the Osram bulbs to that one?

I have 5 bulbs paired to a Hue bridge, at an end segment of the network, so no issue with relaying neither.

Sockets generally work well with ST, so I would be surprised if there is any issue with Hubitat, if Hue wouldn’t support the socket.

Just curious has anyone had an outage since 2.36am gmt as my hub has gone solid blue light and still hasn’t came back on. Nothing at all is working as it is saying everything is offline! I’ve rebooted the router and the hub several times at source and still nothing. Any ideas and is anyone else suffering the same problem ?

Paul

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I have an outage too, and there is a new thread started in General Discussion about it.

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Oh right. Where is the new thread please. Have you got a link Tamas ?

That doesn’t work in the US. Hue blocked that ability here.

I originally had my Cree bulbs (they are the only things connected to the Hue) on the lightify gateway but they didn’t play well in that configuration. Fortunately, Hubitat has a local integration with the Hue hub, even the EOL V1 which I bought cheap on Ebay for $9.

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Whaaaaaaaat?

Believe it. It was on lots of threads I was reading while sorting it all out but did actually try anyway. They won’t pair. I actually have RGB strips. Some are the older ZLL protocol and some are the newer ZHA. I had hoped the ZLL would pair to the Hue then I was going to move the ZHA strips to the Hubitat and cross my fingers.

If the lightify gateway ends up quitting, I’ll have to buy a second Hubitat hub and then use Hubmesh to hook the two together. Hubmesh allows devices on multiple hubs to be shared. Kind of cool. If that happens, I could move the Cree to the second Hubitat too but the Hue works so well I would probably just leave it.

@oldcomputerwiz, have a look at Home Assistant’s Zigbee solution, like Zigbee2MQTT. You just need a Zigbee USB dongle as a radio, and has a lot of features and handles all sort of devices. Or the Tasmota solution to repurpose Sonoff Zigbee gateways. You might find it better than the Lightify Gateway.

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Thanks for the suggestions. Fortunately, there are multiple solutions for those older ZLL zigbee devices that repeat poorly. Ideally, I would just swap out the controllers but I have too many to make that a financially viable solution. There are many other cool things to buy. :laughing:

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The Sonoff Zigbee bridge is cheap, like 20-30 USD on Amazon.

And this is the Tasmota solution:

https://tasmota.github.io/docs/Zigbee/

And as I can recall, Hubitat supports MQTT as well.

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It does support MQTT. Hubitat isn’t for everyone but I’m happy. I guess what I like the best is that it is “never down”. I haven’t had an outage in over a year. I’m really hoping that ST gets their local integration working and everyone here can experience that too. Having things “just work” is pretty darn awesome.

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It wasn’t Hue.

Osram made the decision to use the ZLL zigbee profile in Europe and the ZHA zigbee profile in the US. The Hue Bridge was originally a ZLL device in both regions. So Osram bulbs with a Z LL profile worked fine with the Hue Bridge. Osram bulbs with a ZHA profile did not. There was much discussion in this forum about it at the time.

Since that time, the Hue Bridge was updated to zigbee 3.0, but the Osram devices were not. In fact, Osram gives that as one of the reasons why they are discontinuing their cloud service: they say their devices use the older profiles and are now out of date.

Furthermore the implemented ZigBee® standard is not state of the art anymore (ZigBee® Light Link and ZigBee® Home Automation instead of ZigBee® 3.0) which makes it more and more difficult to ensure compatibility to other smart home systems.

https://www.osram.com/cb/lightify/index.jsp

There was a very brief period, about four months, when Hue decided to lock out third party bulbs like Ikea A few years ago, but they withdrew that after customer complaints and since that time most bulbs that meets the zigbee 3.0 standard will work with The current generation. But that was a different issue.

Hue didn’t decide to “lock out” Osram bulbs in the US any more than smartthings decided to “lock out“ the Hue Tap device. They just use incompatible zigbee profiles.

Submitted with respect.

@GSzabados

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Thanks for the clarification, JD. I didn’t realize the osram ZLL protocol was different in the US & Europe.

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Thanks everyone for your help.
It looks like Hubitat or Home Assistant.
I do like the idea of a z wave map -I’m sure that some of my ST issues are due to the z wave mesh, but apart from continually hitting repair, there doesn’t seem much to help me diagnose the issue.
I’ll but the forum on alternative hubs, as no one seems to be suggesting sticking with ST.
Ironically for the first time in 3 years the internet has gone flakey for the last 3 days, and suddenly local execution seems very attractive.