My First Expereicne with SmartThings

(Darryl) #1


I just installed my SmartThings, and figured it was my time to discuss my experience!:

So lets start with the issues:

  1. Found one multi on android device, showing the door as open/closed frequently. Eventually stopped. Upon reviewing log, I could not confirm that there were log entries that correlated with it blinking on/off frequently.
  2. Occasionally received timeouts (unable to communicate with network) from android app. Usaully resolved itself by restarting app.
  3. Found multi-sensors double-side tape less than ideal (if you need to reposition the install, the stuff quickly becomes less usable).
  4. Found multi-sensors difficult to install as crown molding, weather stripping, etc can affect spacing/alignment. I tend to stil wonder if I have enough contact between both sections to ensure a consistent and accurate open/close status.
  5. Brand new mutli sensor put on door, not 30 min later, battery is 88%? My other multi-sensor (exposed to about the same amount of activity) still at 100%…

Now that all being said, I must give credit where credit is due… Connecting the devices to the hub was effortless. I am also very impressed with the latency of the hub(I have a lamp turning on in under 1 second!).Overall, very happy considering the state of the project as a whole. Lastly, support absolutely was awesome. When the android app wouldnt let me create a location, within an hour of online chat we had an explanation why and a fix (turn on locating services).

Things I would like to start seeing from the SmartThings team

  • Weekly updates on the blog going over what companies are being negotiated with (Perhaps even each dev having a 2-3x a week quick update)
  • status of various projects (IP communication, webcam integration, etc)
  • a bug tracker
  • a “support” forum (with an android sub forum seperate from iDevices)
  • a changelog for firmware updates/etc.
  • ability to participate and upvote priorities
  • Some input/suggestions in which aspects of the various protocols are focused on. For example, with IP based communication, just having a basic HTTP POST and HTTP GET could satisfy a lot of immediate demands, and that may be able to help satisfy further needs for a bit. (Give a little quickly to let people get started, and add in the future).
  • I would ideally like to modify the “phone home” of each device. For example, a battery status from devices I’d rather have only at 6hr intervals, and just be notified when we are below 10%. Temperature could be at 10 minute intervals.
  • A community wiki for devices with verification levels (i.e. 1 = SmartThings conirmed, 2 = Community confirmed, 3 = Untested, 4 = Failed Testing, 5 = Unsupported Protocol). A simple wiki with basic moderation could allow for this to effectively be done quickly. Remember, all your users currently are fairly “power users” on this build site—help us help you!!!
  • Free SmartThings incentives? (I.e. Successful projects that are used by a large majority, the writers get a free smartthing device) (Frequent contributors, etc) (Hey, code being developed outside of SmartThings that is being shared is good for us all—let’s encourage it!!) (And contributors for helping in other ways may have a place (i.e. moderating the wiki?))

These are just a few samples, quickly written together so dont judge my run-on sentences too much (please)!.

Well thats my quick .02$. and if the SmartThings staff need troubleshooting, etc—I will be more than happy to help.


(Darryl) #2

Ahh crud… I cant seem to spell Experience. Fat fingers for my loss…

(Saxnix) #3

It is pretty sad when you post something with quite a lot of feedback/ideas and a week later the mods/company reps haven’t even taken the time to respond - if in fact they have actually read it. I know they must be flat out trying to get a bunch of other things done, but this is really dropping the ball.

(Dan Lieberman) #4

@darryl – Thank you for the thoughtful notes and feedback. I’ll do my best to write up a response in the next day or two.

@saxnix – While I certainly agree that darryl’s note deserves a response - and I try to respond to forum threads that aren’t resolved by the community - our participation in this community forum is intended to be on a best-effort basis and unfortunately some threads fall through the cracks.

For a guaranteed response, you can email for product support issues and for comments, questions, feedback, or issues related to the SmartThings developer platform.

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #5

I just noticed @darrylb’s ideas and they match quite a lot of my own.

I wonder if I’m the biggest complainer innovator on the Forums :wink:

I like sharing, but agree that direct email is worthwhile for urgent or important ussued.

(Av8rdude) #6

@dlieberman I agree with the urgent need to get community involvement. Like most backers I was very excited to receive my SmartThings kit and run with it. But after an initial burst of excitement replacing 10-20 switches in my house and writing (cut/pasting) apps to do cool things…I’ve run out of ideas and options. I need 5 presence tags, 3 multi’s and more sensors. So until I can get more things I’m just sitting on the side lines feeling defeated :frowning: I think many of the folks on the forums are having similar feelings. These are the same people willing to jump in and build a better community and provide great feedback. Some members have huge development talent, too.

@darrylb Has some great ideas. If you guys would spend a few days implementing some of these ideas it would be a huge manpower multiplier for SmartThings. Leave the back-end alone for a day or two and energize the community. This is the only way SmartThings will succeed.

Off my soapbox,

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #7


I appreciate your contribution to this discussion.

I’m not sure how you could have “run out of ideas”, though; there are so many prototypes of SmartApps that can be built and tested even using a few real Things and running others through the Simulator in the IDE, … no?

As one of the “Maker” backers, though, a lot of my ideas involve hardware (and thinking of ways to make sensors/activators/switches cheaper while still being sufficiently reliable…). The lack of shipping SmartThing Shields for Arduino are a bottleneck in this regard; though there are alternatives (and associated bottlenecks…); such as direct LAN IP (WiFi) connectivity, and the exploration of bridging other RF protocols (see my Project and various discussions regarding X10), … Bluetooth, and more. – LOTS of ideas!!! :slight_smile:

But one area I don’t see questioned, presented, or discussed in depth, is WHAT is the actual business model (and associated roadmap) for SmartThings / Physical Graph Corporation?

i.e., Of the various potential sources of revenue, which are they focusing on and believe will be the most lucrative (or ALL of them)?

  • Hub sales.
  • Proprietary Thing sales (how broad of a line of Thing's will be SmartThings labeled?). Compete heavily against established thing makers (GE, Aeon) and up and coming competitors (WigWag, ...).
  • Third-party Thing certification (i.e., "Works with SmartThings certified! logo".
  • SmartCloud subscription fees, installation and support fees, ...?
  • In-house developed SmartApp sales.
  • Resale fees on community build SmartApps.
  • OEM branding / major partnerships.
  • Complete cash-in of the investors by selling off the entire SmartThings business (a la Instagram, Waze, Astrid, Tumblr, ...)
  • ... ??? ...
  • Inquiring minds want to know!


(Solardave1) #8

You actually think there’s a business model? Right now, when you do something, it pops up on Andrews console and he manually issues the command to do what you want. The latency issue comes in when he’s watching something on TV.

(Mark B) #9

@CosmicPuppy: Thanks for bringing that up for discussion - it has been overlooked/held close to the chest for sure. I too am very interested in understanding the underlying business road map with an eye towards leveraging the SmartThings platform for my own moneymaking entrepreneurial endeavors. Like you, I’ve got a head full of ideas. I lack the skills of a code writer but am business savvy & technical.

Perhaps we can create a community/group interested in discussing the business side to compliment all this DIY geek fun & games. Who wouldn’t want to make money while making cool stuff?

Feedback & comments welcomed …

(Solardave1) #10

And you can raise a million bucks for pet rock food via crowd flu ding :). Seriously, I can’t believe some of the stuff that gets funded. If I see one more “worlds greatest minimalist wallet” I may shoot myself.

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #11

Hmmm… a Smart minimalist wallet! It pings the hub every time it is opened, and keeps track of how much money and what credit cards are inside.



(Chuckles) #12


(Dan Lieberman) #13


I’ll pass on your Android issues to our Android team - they’ve come a long way with it so far, but it’s still considered a beta and there’s definitely still quite a ways to go. As for the included mounting tape, it’s designed to be semi-permanent and wasn’t really meant to be moved. Personally, I buy 3M Command strips that are meant to be easily removed and cut them down to size. Also, our support team has some other recommendations on mounting tape for different applications, so I’d suggest dropping an email to regarding the mounting tape and the battery issues.

To address your suggestions:

  1. Weekly updates: We're doing our best to get a weekly update email out, and we've had a couple of folks suggest that we replicate that content on the blog. I'll definitely look into that. Unfortunately, we can't often discuss companies that we're in negotiation with due to contractual obligations - but I'll definitely look into better ways to communicate integrations when they're launched. We're still doing quite a bit behind the scenes - specifically with the OAuth2 journey for devices - and when that's done (in the next couple of weeks), a number of cloud-connected devices should be released in the weeks following.
  2. <li>I'll do my best to include updates on projects that we've talked about on a regular basis.  We do tend to talk about them during our Office Hours Google Hangouts, but that's clearly not enough.  Another issue is that there's not always something to share on these each week - there's an awful lot of scaffolding that has to be put in place for some of these features, and sometimes several weeks go by before there's something announcement-worthy.</li>
    <li>A bug tracker.  This has come up a few times, and I'll work with our dev team to figure whether there's a good way we can do this and integrate a publicly facing bug tracker into our dev team's existing workflow.</li>
    <li>There is a support forum for users who were on the early Android beta but it's not yet there for all users - we're working on that.</li>
    <li>I believe that we intend to make a change log available for firmware updates.  I'll track this down with our firmware engineering team and figure out how we plan to release it.</li>
    <li>I like the idea of community participation in the management of product priorities and direction in theory, but in practice it's incredibly hard to do well with a small startup team that's moving at a relatively high velocity.  I'll certainly bring it up with the team, but in reality I don't think it's something that we'll be able to do in the short term, but I'll keep it on the list for the longer-term.</li>
    <li>Today, we support HTTP PUT, POST, DELETE, HEAD, and GET from both SmartApps and Device Types to external services.  You can also expose HTTP endpoint and map methods to each of the verbs.  As far as connectivity to LAN-connected devices through the SmartThings Hub, the initial implementation will support UPnP for discovery and communication, as well as SSDP discovery and HTTP communication - so you'll be able to discover devices and write methods to talk to them - think the Philips Hue.</li>
    <li>An upcoming release will add the concept of preferences for devices - similar to how preferences are handled for SmartApps.  I don't know if setting the device's check-in will be immediately available, but it's something that we'll certainly look at for our own devices and something that we'll try to get to for third-party devices that expose the ability to set that attribute.</li>
    <li>Yes.  A device testing and "certification" (I put that in quotes because I don't really know exactly what it'll consist of yet) program is in the works.  We intend for this to be a hybrid program where we will test and "certify" some number of devices, and we'll figure out the right way for users to submit their own experiences and reports as well.</li>
    <li>We've definitely been noodling on the idea of community engagement incentives - while it hasn't been a short-term priority, it's on my personal to-do list.  I like your suggestions, and feel free to give us more.</li>

Thanks again for taking the time to write up your experiences and suggestions - it’s definitely helpful and helps us understand what we’re doing well and what we can do better.

(Dan Lieberman) #14

@av8rdude – I completely agree that there’s a lot we can be doing better to engage the fantastic community that has grown around SmartThings. We’re doing our best to support and foster that growth - but we’re behind on having the right tools to build the types of community engagement features that we need to be able to support the types of functionality that is being suggested in this thread. The point is taken - and not lost on us - but candidly, it’ll take some time to get there.

(Av8rdude) #15

@dlieberman Thanks for the insightful update. No matter if people are providing constructive feedback, throwing tomatoes or chucking spears you do a great job providing a well thought out professional response.

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #16


I appreciate your updates here (as always). Actually, big ditto of @avrdude’s thanks regarding your tolerance and professional responses! :slight_smile:

May I, ummm, heartily suggest this service (or one that is highly similar) to address the bug tracking / feature request voting functionality that appears to be desirable?

  • I do not know if their pricing is decent – but, from a customer/developer/builder perspective, I like the design.

    I realize, however, that there are some designers who completely frown upon user voting for feature prioritization – not sure if that is the case at SmartThings.