SmartThings Community

Living in Fear as a SmartThings User (Jan 2019)

I need to say this because I am sure I am not the only one who lives in constant fear of SmartThings breaking and/or breaking for good.

My main issue is the thought of being forced to use the New SmartThings App. It is, in my strong opinion, 100 steps backwards. The main reason why I chose SmartThings is because of the vast number of custom apps that allow for “Things” to be integrated into SmartThings that are not officially supported. I understand that this causes issues with the reliability of SmartThings as a whole but again for me, that was the attraction.

I have been seeing more and more threads with people having issues with the Classic App. I am one of those people as well. My Things Tab no longer loads. My SmartApp Tab loads 60% of the time. Stuff randomly stops working. I receive forced updates that breaks things that were working for months. I am also experiencing unusual shorter battery life on certain zigbee devices. On top of all of this, SmartThings has made it clear that they will be forcing people to switch over to the New App which is, in my opinion, extremely crippled.

What’s the rub here? How has something as beautiful as SmartThings and it’s ability to be totally customizable turn into such a cluster f**k? I can honestly say that I can no longer recommend Smartthings as a suitable platform for those venturing off into Home Automation. This is because I am scared that once I recommend it and they get it up and running, it will break shortly after. Or, all of the wonderful things I am doing with my System, will no longer be available in the future. Again, living in fear.

I am not sure what the h**l is going on over at SmartThings but something is terribly wrong. The New App is just bad. The new concept of no custom apps is just bad.The idea that Smartthings users will wake up one day and loose access to their installed custom apps is bad. Having your customers living in fear is bad.

I’m NOT sorry for the Rant. I have put in a ton of hours into my Home Automation and now I have to either use a Broken Classic App or a Crippled New App when things use to just work.

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I agree with everything that you have said. If I could “like” this post 110 times I would.

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Ron,

I agree wholeheartedly with your reasoning. I too adopted SmartThings as my home automation platform back in 2014 due to the fact that it encouraged community developers to write their own device handlers and applications. I was very concerned a year ago when “I saw the writing on the wall” that most of my hard work was going to become obsolete, once Samsung forced users to use the ‘New SmartThings’ mobile phone app. Knowing that day was coming, and knowing that SmartApps and Device Handlers as we knew them were going to be obsolete one day, was enough for me to jump ship for my main home automation needs. I still use SmartThings for a few integrations, and I try to support the ST_Anything users. However, I can honestly say I am very happy with my decision to switch my main platform. The fact that all of my groovy code was portable was icing on the cake.

I really hope Samsung wakes up and realizes what an amazing community of developers it has. Unfortunately, I don’t feel they believe that the original Groovy Platform is something they want to keep long-term. And they have been very slow in sharing details regarding writing hub-connected custom device handlers for their new platform and app.

I hope things get better for SmartThings users, especially those that have been with ST since the early days.

I almost forgot to share my favorite quote…

“Go then, there are other worlds than these.”

― Stephen King, The Gunslinger

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I agree with you, to a large extent.

That said, I also wonder if something you said might have some bearing here: there are a number of things that have been included in ST that perhaps don’t belong there, and are likely taxing the system and those responsible for maintaining it. For example, video. An automation based on any event (including video events) would be valid in a home automation platform, while simply including a video frame for convenience is questionable.

Not claiming video is inherently not valid!! Just wondering.

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SmartThings promised local processing which is achievable but very limited. Seems like they could have spent a little more focus here to save on server resources.

However, I do understand what you are saying. Just because you can, doesn’t always mean you should.

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I have Zero fear, if smartthings makes things unusable for me I’m switching to Hubitat. Shoot if Hubitat makes a migration tool so I can replace my hub or radios and keep my config I’ll be switching over.

Depending on how complex your environment is there are several options to chose from should you decide to part ways with smartthings. The best way to alleviate your fear is to educate yourself on the other home automation options and chose a “Plan B”. As you continue to expand your home automation functionality do so with “Plan B” in mind. That way it doesn’t matter what Smartthings decides to do and when you need to go you know how to handle it.

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I lost much of my fear once I made the decision to budget home autimation like a smart phone, with the assumption that I would be replacing everything, even the hub, every three or four years. It changed how I look at the whole thing, but I save both money and aggravation.

If I end up keeping things longer, that’s just a bonus. :wink:

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Well the way I see it, Samsung / SmartThings provides a service, much like your cell phone or cable company, except that there are A LOT more options to choose from when it comes to competitors, and the field is just getting bigger every day.

The way that I have set things up, it’s all for the sake of convenience with a mild chance of annoyance when things don’t work the right way – if the lights don’t turn on based on motion or one of the bulbs didn’t get the message, oh well that’s too bad, but it’s 100% fixable without it being “a big deal.”

The day I wake up and things are just completely broken, I’m taking my stuff to another platform. If I woke up tomorrow and WebCore or most SmartApps stopped working because of the platform changes, I would probably still use ST, but only until I could find a suitable replacement that would allow me to do the same things I’m doing today, reliably.

I think SmartThings realizes that their extensible platform is what makes it appealing, but it doesn’t help them grow if all the cool things come from outside, and there’s no post-sale monetization. It also doesn’t help that a lot of this stuff only appeals to the people that like to tinker with things. Average Joe would love to set up room occupancy or custom item group automations on the cheap, but right now the built-in ST functionality is pretty limited.

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I purchased a Hubitat Hub and because of this fascicle, I am moving things over slowly. Whenever I move something over, I mirror that device in SmartThings using the Other Hub-Hubitat App. I do this because I still prefer SmartThings’s Classic App interface. It’s sad that I am maintaining 2 HA systems now when just using SmartThings was good enough.

I would much prefer for ST to get their stuff together than to jump ship completely. I have way too many devices to be trying to switch things around every 4-5 years. I guess I really do not fully understand what going on behind the scene there at SmartThings…

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Sorry JD, but that’s just not practical for most people. Switching smart phones takes 30 minutes at most to set up and transfer your data. Setting up smart home takes days, weeks or even months to get it right. Switching to a new setup is a huge pain.

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Just my opinion, and I don’t have any inside information, But back when Samsung bought SmartThings, I said I thought they bought it for the name and the buzz, and to give themselves some time until they had a TV – centric system ready to go. Not for anything to do with the platform itself, particularly since SmartThings held no patents.

I haven’t seen anything since to change my mind on that.

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Upgrading your phone should be a choice…As long as your old phone works, there shouldn’t be a reason why a company should force you to update. Hello Apple and many other companies out there.

This is exactly what Apple was trying to do to me. One day, my good old trusty iPhone 6 Plus just stop being responsive. I finally figured out that Apple had throttled my CPU! Like really WTF??!??!?!?! I finally got them to put things back to the way they were because I had absolutely no interest in spending another $800 on something that I didn’t need.

I have electronic devices that I have had for 15+ years. Things do get old and upgrades are common practice. However upgrades should be UPGRADES! Going from the Classic App to the New App is definitely not an upgrade. It’s outright laughable and pure Boo Boo.

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I recently had to swap all my devices from the v2 hub to a v3 hub due to what appeared to be a failure of the zigbee radio. Whether or not this sudden failure was caused by a firmware update… weeks no response from support.

Anyway, my account was also slated for migration and I too had issues.
However, setting up a new location and deleting all remnants of my v2 setup.
I no longer have issues using either the new or classic app.
Custom app automatons appear in both. (which wasnt there on the v2)
May not be a fix for you but for me all my recent issues were resolved.

I use both apps in my setup now and both work fine.

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^^^^This is what I would like for every SmartThings User to report because that is the way it should be!

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The problem though is the beginning part of that post… :slight_smile:

With ST in particular, the longer you keep your system, and the more complex you make it in order to suit your needs, the more painful it is to eventually make this switch – either to ST or to something else.

I “only” have about 50 devices, and a truckload of automation tied to them with different SmartApps and WebCore routines. Considering that ST has failed to provide a proper migration / backup tool that would allow me to just recreate this back in their system relatively quickly, I would consider a hardware failure the proverbial last straw.

After all, why spend weeks / months setting things up only to have a failure that requires you to spend weeks / months to set things back up again, with no guarantee that it wouldn’t happen again at any time?

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I think ST should provide some therapists for users (including myself) posting on this thread to cope with the trauma caused :wink:

I do not see things so dark and gloomy but I do fear my fun will soon be spoiled. Even if the new app were at feature parity, it is absolutely unusable due to its abysmal layout. It really seems like it is geared to those famous “users with an average of 15 devices”. With over a couple hundred “things” that show up in the app, I cringe each time I open it. Also, with the huge buttons your scrolling finger will suffer from arthritis after a year of usage.

However, I am in the “hopeful” camp. I am sure ST is full of smart people and they know what the issues are… they are likely constrained by Samsung’s larger picture but will hopefully have a say in protecting their power users.

The GOOD thing, is that all your Zigbee and Zwave devices can be used on other systems. The majority of your investment is protected. So if ST / Samsung do not see the light, we can move to another platform. Before I do that, I really want to see what their new ecosystem will look like. Also, it is my understanding that they originally promised everything would continue to work in the new ecosystem so I want to see if that is true… hopefully it is not another migration tool fiasco.

Every time I read one of these threads I get tempted to purchase a Hubitat to check it out… For interested people, this video actually gives lots of great info on it:

HUBITAT

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Unlike you, I have a truckload of devices and a handful of non Smart Lighting automations. I am running on the assumption that all gadgets break (or better ones are built), so the “final straw” for me would be to remember why I set up automations the way I did. And who has time to write manuals for their own home? KISS is my rule of thumb. The more “something” makes things easier for my family, the better. Life is too short to spend months on something that in the end only ensures the lights turn off when you leave the room.

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I hear ya. I have REALLY tried to get with the New App. I just can’t stomach it…at all. It’s broken and my main issue here is that I’ve invested in a system that, although had its issues, was fundamentally usable. I guess this is part of my frustration because, in my opinion, there was no other bigger fanboy of SmartThings than me. I still am truthfully…and I am staying hopeful but things are not looking good.

I would hate if it all went to hell and I didn’t at least speak up. You can see my device count at the top of the screen shot. I just can’t get to anything efficiently in the New App. I can’t get to “Things” at all in the Classic App. :roll_eyes:

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The automations are a problem waiting to happen, and the only saving grace is that I have a lot of stuff running as WebCore pistons. It would be terrible for things to go dark, but at least I have a (relatively) easy way to look at the automation flow and see why I set things up a particular way, and recreate them.

Right now it’s just a pain when I get a new sensor or new light that I have to add into a piston, but I would imagine that doing all this from within ST – after having to run through the hell of exclusion / inclusion – would just make me quit the thing altogether.

I’m still not sure why there’s not some kind of abstraction layer between the system and the device though… even though there’s some kind of pseudo-layer now that translates the device ID into a “Thing” in the app. That way when the time comes for everything to get migrated, you could do some funky device re-assignment based on the ID of the old device, the “friendly name” and the ID of the new device.

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@rontalley - I have your same issue but with Scenes. I was told it was due to some timeout (in the cloud I believe as I was told it has nothing to do with the hub firmware) caused by the large number of things (254 according to new app).

Anyway, have you tried to clear memory/cache of the ST classic app (assuming iPhone has the same feature Android has to do this) in case something got corrupted locally? I tried to do so to solve my issue but it did not help. It makes me wonder whether it is some device I added that “crashes” the loading of devices (first thing the Scenes tab does).