My initial thoughts of SmartThings (Coming from Vera 3)


(Greyson Morrow) #1

So for the last 2 years I have been running a Vera 3 with a Yale door lock and kwikset door lock. I also have Sonos throughout the house, Philips Hue throughout the house, and a couple cameras of different makes (Foscam and Grandstream). The Vera 3 just wasn’t cutting it for me. So I decided to make the switch. I see A LOT of pros but there are some cons or some areas where SmartThings fall short. I hope someone sees this thread and comments if any of these are on the roadmap.

  1. I wish that when setting actions with locks, like I said above I have both a Yale and Kwikset, that it would know if the door is opened from a user entering a pin or someone just unlocking it manually from the inside. This would have multiple uses mainly for lights. If someone manually unlocks and opens the door then it would know they are leaving instead of coming. Whereas if someone enters the PIN and opens the door then you could turn lights on because it would know they are entering and not leaving.

  2. The ‘things’ section seems WAY to cluttered. And you can’t lock tiles into place. So if you get your tiles exactly how you want them and add 1 more item or multiple items, that will screw up all your tiles. There should be a way to lock tiles into place that way they don’t move when you add new items.

  3. The ‘things’ section has generic icons that you can’t distinguish between them. For example. I have 20 Hue lights, 3 GE on/off switches, and 1 hue light strip. The icons all look the same. There is no way to distinguish between them. It wouldn’t be so bad if they improved suggestion 2 where you can lock tiles into place.

  4. Get a better grip on all your actions… I have been finding the easiest way after adding a motion, door sensor, light, etc don’t add any action. After it’s added then manually add actions so you don’t get confused. But have a section called ‘actions’ where you can view all your configured actions. I find it very difficult to go through all 24 lights to find the 1 action I setup for a light.

Sorry this is so long, but the potential is there. I love that I made the switch but just some little tweaking would really take this product to the next step.

Oh and one other request, PLEASE don’t sell out to Samsung. Once they get involved, the updates will stop and they will change everything. SmartThings, you seem like your very responsive with your community and customer support is great. Go ahead and try and call Samsung customer service and see how they treat you.


Switching from Vera
(Greyson Morrow) #2

Also, I wish there was a (easy) way of changing the time a motion detector refreshes. For example. The motion detector detects motion right away. But it takes like 4 minutes for it to report no motion.


(swanny) #3

A few notes that may help:

  • You can change the icons for pretty much everything in the device preferences. You can’t choose any image you want for them but there is a pretty wide selection. I used bathroom icons for the bathroom lights and it helps a lot.
  • I’m not sure if you are grouping your icons in “Things” but you can group them by holding down on an icon and dragging one on top of another.
  • You can also see the name of the devices by shaking your phone. Not ideal user experience but better than nothing.

Others may have more ideas as I’m still pretty early on with ST.


(Ben Edwards) #4

Your feedback ias totally valid. I want to let you know, however that you can shake your phone to see labels. ,


(Elliot Justin) #5

@greysonmorrow

Great post. Am I assuming that #1 is possible in a Vera system?

Would you mind jotting down your smartthings pro’s as well? I would be curious to know from someone who has owned both.


(Greyson Morrow) #6

@Elliot_Justin The Vera 3 in my eyes was just too hard to use to set scenes. But yes. #1 was valid with Vera. You could set it on a per user basis. So if User A typed in his code, then do this. If User B typed in his code then do this and so on. You could also receive alerts on wrong pins entered.

@swanny @Ben Thanks for letting me know this. I didn’t know about this feature. But wow does it change back quick. I’m hopeful of a future update that allows users to choose between the two. I also didn’t know about dragging icons on top of each other to create groups. This helps a lot. The only problem I found with creating groups and adding things to them is after you ‘drop’ the tile on top of the group you have no indication it actually went into that group. So if you have a group with a bunch of lights around it and you drag and drop a light into that group, did it actually go in? Did it just go beside it? It would be great if the group quickly flashed or pulsated letting you know it dropped into that group.

As far as the PRO’s to SmartThings… There are a lot. Probably too many for me to remember because they just seem so natural that that’s how ALL automation devices should be. But unfortunately there not. It took me a long time to decide to go with SmartThings. I was debating about going with Revolv. But eventually the community made me decide to go with SmartThings.

PRO’s

  1. I love the community. You guys are awesome with helping each other out. @Ben responds quickly to every post I have seen and seems like they care about the community. Coming from Vera community they were always “search first!!” Never actually helped you out. As it is true that searching first does help, I believe every scenario is different. And would it kill someone to help someone else out if they knew how to resolve their issue instead of insulting them or telling them it’s been posted before and to search?

  2. I really like the SmartThings app. This is something Vera never got down. Sure there were multiple apps from different companies and even 1 from micasavera but it never seems to be fluid. The SmartThings apps is great minus a few of the quirks I pointed out in the original post.

  3. I love how easy it is to create actions or alerts. But refer to point 4 in original post.

  4. I really like how easy it is to add new devices. With Vera the device had to be 3 feet away from the unit to work.

  5. I like push notifications to mobile devices. Coming from Vera the only option you had was SMS text messages. Everyone that went directly to SmartThings don’t realize how nice of a product this actually is in terms of the app and notifications.

Now here are the things I liked about the Vera over the SmartThings. The list is short. Very short, but they are big things in my eyes. Important things.

  1. I liked the ability to tell who entered the front door based on code.

  2. I liked the ability to set new PIN codes on the locks from the Vera. And they could be time based. So if you have a contractor coming to do work that needs access. Set a new access code from 8-5 M-F.

  3. You could EASILY repair your z-wave network and have it reroute new z-wave devices added to different devices if it gets there quicker. Now I know you can do this with SmartThings but you have to be in IDE to do so. Not something I want to play around with.

  4. You could add Foscam cameras to it. I happen to own a Foscam camera as a baby monitor and it was great. But I went into this knowing SmartThings didn’t support it and just hoping they release an update that does support them. In the meantime I have bought a DropCam Pro and in the process of getting that setup.


#7

The ability to add my Foscam cameras it what pushed me over the edge to investing in Smartthings. I was able to add them via the developer interface and have them arm and disarm based on certain rules. Huge plus!


(Justin) #9

The lack of pin code support still blows my mind. Both vera and revolv have this and the locks are even sold in the ST store. Shame in an otherwise great system.


(Korban Hadley) #10

I would love a to manage Pins for door locks. But I also second better user management. That should have been a first thing when originally setup.


(Ricardo Souza) #11

Hello, there! Thanks for posting details on your experience moving from Vera to ST. I wonder if you can give me some help. I am trying to move from a Vera 2 setup to my recently acquired ST Hub. Most of my devices are Z-Wave. I am going through the (very) tedious process of un-enrolling each device from Vera, turning the Vera Off and then re-enrolling it with the ST Hub. This is such a horrible process that I wonder if there is an easier way to do it. Also, I am having a lot of difficulty with the devices that are fixed to the awl, such as a GE smart outlet and an Aeon Labs Micro Switch, wich resides behind the wall light switch. They don’t have an enroll/unenroll button and, if I just delete them from Vera, they don’t seem to be found by the ST Hub. I also have an Aeon Labs DSD37 Repeater. I managed to remove it from Vera and it’s red LED blinks saying that it’s ready to be enrolled, but my ST Hub doesn’t see it.
Anyway … any light you may shed here will be greatly appreciated. Should you prefer, please email me directly on ricso at me dot com
Thanks in advance.


(Ron S) #12

Love the Samsung part in your post!


(Mike Maxwell) #13

For the Aeon micros, ten toggles of the switch within 1 second or so puts them in pairing mode.


Converting from Vera to ST v2...Advice requested
(Michel Labelle) #14

Richardo, you can use the SmartThings Dashboard to simply clone your existing Z-Wave network and switch controllers. Note this is a z-wave standard function and you can do the same to go from SmartThings to Vera or other.

To do so from the Dashboard

  • Click the 3 bars (top left)
  • Click the Gear icon
  • Scroll to where it says Hubs, and select the right arrow
  • Select Z-wave Utilities
  • Select Join or Leave Existing Z-Wave Network
  • Select Join

Note it may not always work the first time and you should ensure you are fully committed to the swap before proceeding. I’d also backup your existing VERA config prior to swapping.

I was able to do this before Christmas with no issues, but you will probably also have to run a Repair Z-Wave Network function.

Don’t be afraid to e-mail support for more info on how to do this right.

When you are done, you can reset your VERA if desired and continue to use it, but only as a secondary controller.

I moved everything except my door lock as that is still experimental here on SmartThings but the new developer code appears to be relative stable.

Good Luck


(Ricardo Souza) #15

Thank you, Mike and Michel, especially for the quick replies!!
I followed Michel’s instructions to make the ST Hub join the Vera Z-Wave Network - if it all works according to plan, I may not even need to follow Mike’s instruction. Now, how do I actually clone the Vera’s setup over to ST? Did I miss come thing on the post?


(Michel Labelle) #16

Just to be clear, you are transitioning the “z-wave devices” not the “z-wave config”. I.e. if you have specific programming (scenes) on your Vera, these will NOT come across. As such you will need to reconfigure these on the SmartThings either via the dashboard, or via the IDE (especially if you want macro like functionality). SmartThings uses a different language, these are now called Phrases and are tied to modes. Thus you would call the “Goodbye” phrase to transition from the “Home” to “Away” modes. You would create additional modes (Movie night, home alone), and create additional phrases to transition from one mode to another. The phrases are the action sequences that you want performed, while the mode is the state you want your system in.

It’s a good idea to document any customizations that you have done, or scenes you have configured in your Vera to assist with the “family-acceptance-factor” as we’ve been calling it. If your family is used to things working a particular way, you will need to re-program your SmartThings to do the same.

Key apps to look at once you are over is DoubleTap, ActiON Dashboard, SmartAlarm and a few others depending on your level of integration. Within the SmartThings App (i.e. Dashboard), you will want to set up presence, and alerts appropriate to each family member.

Hope that helps. It takes a few weeks to get out of Vera land and adjust, so be patient, and as I’ve said before, unlike the Vera world, you’ve got great support here directly from SmartThings so feel free to e-mail them any questions. Don’t be a guy… and pretend you are not lost when you are! It’s ok to ask for help.

Cheers


Moving from VeraLite to SmartThings help
(Nicholas Murarik) #17

Wow, this is so dumb and useful. I had no idea.


(Mark) #18

@greysonmorrow,

You mentioned concerns about Samsung in a earlier post. I’m considering a switch from a Vera 3 myself and wanted to know if the service and community are still strong now that Samsung is in the loop. The Vera community is also good but the device still feels like a Linux hobby project. Nice for hacking but things can get to be a mess too. After the last system update, reliability has gone from about 90% to 20% (in terms of devices responding/visible). I made no system changes. It’s frustrating enough to dump the system and Smarthings is looking like a nice option.


(Geko) #19

The grass is always greener on the other side :smile:


(Mark) #20

Exactly my fear. I switched from an all Insteon home to Z-Wave hoping for better reliability and it was initially great but now seems flakey. I’m hoping it’s the controller. The Smartthings hub is cheap enough to give it a try (plus, the 30 day return policy)


#21

Don’t listen to the haters @simdude. While SmartThings can be quirky, you get unmatched support from everyone on this forum. The problems are still there, but the great work of the ST team and coders here you can not loose.