Leaving SmartThings for.....?

I’ve had the same issues since early this morning. My ST hub has gone offline more times than I can count. Nothing else on my network is down and my router is rock solid.

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There have been platform issues for the last day or two. Listed on the status page, although I believe they are supposed to be resolved.

https://status.smartthings.com/

It almost always happens that when there is a platform issue and it gets resolved, some people, although not everyone, have to reboot their hub to get things back in sync.

@JDRoberts, like you, I’ve been moving more and more towards using HomeKit. We’ve slowly been moving into the Apple ecosystem the past few years and I love the way HomeKit works and Shortcuts offers a lot of flexibility.

What I’m not sure about is how to get Alexa control of things that are in HomeKit. You mentioned using Alexa - did you just get devices that work with both or is there a way to get Alexa to control HomeKit? A skill or something? I’ve been reading and trying to find a way to do this. Right now, I have been trying to get my smart outlets working with Hubitat and then get that working with HomeBridge so I can bring in my other sensors, outlets, etc into HomeKit.

The other thing I’m unsure about is whether to get items that are HomeKit only. We still have some Google Assistant and Alexa devices with screens around the house, which work great but some of the best HomeKit items seem to support HomeKit only (Logitech Circle Cam and View Doorbell are two). I don’t know whether to keep trying to get multifunctional products or just not worry about it and go all in with HomeKit. If I knew there was another way to control HomeKit with Alexa or Google Assistant, I’d definitely go all in on HomeKit. Any info would be amazing. I know you’ve been talking HomeKit for years now with your setup due its accessibility and stability. I totally get that after using it some myself. Thanks so much!

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Mostly I just get devices that work with both, there are a lot these days. :sunglasses: I have some items that only work with one or the other, and mostly we just live with that.

I’m not using homebridge because I only have one techie aide Who only comes once a week and I don’t want to be stuck in between the times when he is here if anything gets goofy.

I do have a couple of situations where I can turn on a Phillips hue device from Alexa and have that hue device coming on trigger a homekit event. I even have one where I have an IFTTT applet turn on the hue device which then turns on the HomeKit fan.

I have a couple of friends, now that Shortcuts support either text or email as triggers, who use Alexa to trigger an IFTTT applet that sends an email that starts a HomeKit scene.

So there are some workarounds using intermediaries. Most of them are only one way and don’t support all features, but they can be useful.

I should also say that HomeKit secure video is so different from anybody else’s standard that I think it’s pretty common for a camera/video doorbell to either be HomeKit or not be HomeKit. Where switches and plug-in devices can often support multiple platforms including homekit.

@JDRoberts, Ahhh, that makes sense about HomeKit Secure Video being very different from the other voice assistant integrations. I am pretty intrigued with HomeKit Secure Video. We’re about to hit our 200gb limit and will be upgrading to the 2Tb anyway. Having the secure video not count towards our 2Tb storage and also have Apple’s strong stance on privacy (and no additional subscription fees for monthly storage), it’s pretty enticing.

The truth is, I’m not really sure why I’d need cameras, specifically to be accessible from Google Assistant/Alexa. We’re about to add Apple TV (both for the hub and the ability to see cameras on screen with easy integration). I can’t really think of a reason I’d need voice control of the cameras that were GA/Alexa. Am I missing a use case? You’ve thought through so much of this, I’m just wondering if I’m missing another reason for needing one of the other voice assistants to control the cameras. I love that the Logitech Circle has such a wide angle of view, so that’s pretty intriguing for those cameras. I hear some people worry about companies owned by Xiaomi in terms of privacy violations or concerns (like Aqara) don’t know how real those fears are. I’ve also seen some posts about Aqara screwing up with other zigbee devices, which also is a worry. I’m also intrigued by Eufy but I wish they’d implement the 2way audio in HomeKit. They are saying in their next gen, I just don’t know how soon that might be released. But I know both of those companies support all voice assistants and Netatmo, too (but their cameras don’t have good reviews). I also really like that HomeKit/HK Secure Video also allows me to mix any brand cameras that work for where I need them and the interface is the same and fully integrated into Apple Home app. That’s pretty awesome.

Also, thanks so much for letting me know about some of those workarounds using email, IFTTT, etc. That’s super cool. You know so much about this stuff and I SO appreciate you sharing. I also use this tech due to disabilities and have become tired of “request maybe” - just never knowing if the command will actually work (or the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th request).

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If you set up the Aqara camera through the HomeKit app instead of its own app The video never leaves your own network except to your iCloud account and does not use the normal manufacturer servers, which is pretty amazing, and very cool from a privacy standpoint.

Also, when they introduced the aqara G2H camera to the US, they added US servers for it, not Chinese ones like the previous devices. So at least it’s covered by US law. But again, you can bypass those servers completely by setting up the camera from the Apple home app instead of the aqara app.

And if you are using the camera as a base station for aqara devices it doesn’t get near any of your other Zigbee devices, so again, no issue with that. It’s forming its own mini network.

As far as voice control, the $99 HomePod mini makes Siri voice control very easy, so that tends not to be a big deal. it is nice to see video on an echo show screen , which is the main thing that you lose with a HomeKit only camera. I also get my video alerts on my Apple Watch, so that solves that issue for me for a lot of use cases.

So the main thing is if it’s a HomeKit only camera you have to ask Siri, not Alexa.

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Oh, that is wicked cool! And the Apple Watch notifications does reduce the need for seeing the video feed on an Echo Show/Nest Hub type device. It’s always there on one’s wrist. Plus the AppleTV offers a larger screen option. That does really reduce the need for the other voice assistants for quick viewing - and I can’t think of other things one asks a voice assistant to do with cameras.

Do you happen to use the HomePod mini? How far of a range does it have for picking up voice commands? One issue I have currently using Siri on my Apple Watch and iPhone is that it doesn’t pick up my Hey Siri command 100% of the time. Sometimes I have to try a few times to get it to acknowledge me. I’m not sure if it’s settings, user error (on my part), not having my voice setup properly, or just the way it is. I’m curious if I add some HP minis around the apartment, if that would improve this and how many I would need for decent coverage. I do find, for things like basic home control commands (when I can equally get all assistants to respond to my voice), Siri is the most reliable in actually getting the command accomplished. I think this is due to the HomeKit technology, or that’s my guess anyway. My spouse has noticed it too. In fact, when I want to make sure the TV gets turned off first time (or similar), I always ask Siri first. :slight_smile:

Again, different things work for different people, and I don’t want to get too far off topic for this particular thread. At our house we prefer Alexa for voice control, but we do have two of the HomePod Minis, and they work quite well. I can be sitting about 15 feet away next to the echo show playing a podcast and speak in a normal voice to the HomePod mini to add something to my calendar or to activate a HomeKit scene and it usually gets it right. Not always, but usually. :sunglasses:

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Thanks! That’s about all anyone can hope on voice assistants - “usually”. :smiley: And hearing that it can pickup a normal voice at 15 ft is great. I really appreciate the info about the HP minis (it’s hard to know without hearing from someone who’s actually used them at home and not what most tech reviews cover…I’ve watched more reviews of them than I care to admit without ever hearing that info!). It sounds like it would definitely help with consistency as far as Siri goes.

Amazing info, as always, @JDRoberts! Also, forgot to thank you for letting me know that the Aqara can completely bypass their own servers with HomeKit Secure Video. That’s truly amazing, as you said, from a privacy standpoint and kind of an amazing concession for the company to make. I’ll stop bugging you now and getting this further off topic. Again, massive thanks. I so appreciate the contributions you’ve made to this community and helping me, specifically over the years.

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@jamesxheath

hubitat. hubitat. hubitat.

Almost a year of use now, and virtually no issues. I have zoned smart heating, propane-heated hot tub, lights, motion sensors, the list goes on.

None of this ever just worked (and continued to work) in my many years with smartthings. After the jump to hubitat, well… @oldcomputerwiz has said it all.

If you’re remotely tech-minded (and I guess you are due to the homebrew) you’ll absolutely love hubitat. And webcore runs local on it too.

Just buy one. You’ll never look back. There’s a fantastic community over there too, many of the users frequent both forums (here and there) and many like myself, started here and just lost all confidence in the system after the various repeated outages. I can virtually guess today’s date by seeing when the latest “smartthings outage” post is posted.

Some people have experienced the odd zwave issue on the c7 hub (with the older zwave devices). I use predominantly wifi-based nodeMCUs flashed with konnected, or zigbee, but I do have an old zwave boiler switch that works to perfection.

You could check out the Alternative Hubs thread linked to somewhere above, but the smartthings team locked it to replies after it became very obvious that that so many people were jumping ship. Other threads are set to lock 5 days after last reply. That was a really popular thread, and someone chose to lock it after 10 hours. Go figure :wink:

Have a dig around the hubitat forums and enquire over there about any incompatibility issues you may have - there are some very, very knowledgeable users over there who would be happy to help. Similar to here.

Good luck!

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image
:slight_smile:

Exactly.

Threads auto lock after 5 days of inactivity, yes?

But here’s the ‘end’ of the thread I was referring to:

How odd, eh? =p

Getting back to the topic and a quick shout out to @JDRoberts for his absolute continued wisdom on this message board - I continue to advocate that multiple platforms should be in your quiver of IoT tools. I use SmartThings and Hubitat and have found a nice harmony between the two.

Give them all a try - expand your knowledge - enjoy the journey. That is what got you here.

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I’m always interested to read how much success people report with apple’s home kit in conjunction with other platforms.

The more I read about this subject as a whole, the more it seems that the “heavy hitters” (I’m not, I just like tinkering on a budget) prefer to use a combination. Home kit, node red and hubitat come up pretty frequently. It’s worth a read-around.

=)

Homekit has a ton of homebridge plugins that let you add devices from unsupported manufacturers. The main downside is that device types are limited and custom capabilities are not supported. If flexibility is your thing smartthings and hubitat still offer more of that.

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Thanks all,
I think it’s fairly clear for me at least, that the way forward is a Hubitat hub, but slowly & gently, and carefully planned.
Likely ending up with Hubitat and SmartThings rather than thinking of it as a replacement.
I’m not Apple-ified, so HomeKit is not the way for me. I’m geeky, and happy to code a bit, but Home Assistant scares me.
I’ve got some more specific queries / worries about Hubitat & my old (3 years old!!) Fibaro Z wave devices (of which there are too many to change), so I think it’s time I started posting on the Hubitat forum!
Cheers,

James

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The curious thing now is the slowing of community forum traffic. It might be an odd day, but in the last 4 hours 9 topics have been updated SmartThings vice the other site rolling in at 32 topics.

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There may soon be a new player on the market. Seems like they are shooting to unite all you home automation equipment.

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As I have often said, until you can order it on Amazon for two day delivery, it’s vaporware. And this one definitely is. :thinking:

They aren’t overpromising, which is a nice change: they’re basically trying to clone hubitat for the Hong Kong region. If they actually bring it to market it will have the same pluses and minuses that Hubitat does, including what looks like the absence of a nice app.

They use a lot of smartthings/hubitat Terminology, sometimes in a confusing way, but seem to be basing their rules on MQTT instead.

I do like the idea of being able to create an automation with a placeholder before you’ve added a specific device to the system. I don’t like the fact that they called their rules “Devices“ because in my mind there is a very definite difference between the hardware device and the rule that schedules it. But maybe that’s just me.

I doubt if it will have Ifttt or Alexa integration at launch: again, we’ll see.

I don’t think it’s going to have a big impact on the home automation market overall. I suspect they’re going to try to compete on price, and only be available for some regions.

@mwav3 or @ogiewon might have some additional thoughts.

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