For those of you that liked my original post, thank you! I wanted to do one more post now that I am about a month of living without the ST Hub in my life. In addition, I want to expand on a couple points from my original post that I think are important and as I look back, probably the main reason I enjoy Home Assistant so much.
The big question…do I miss my SmartThing hub? No…simply put. But remember, outside of the Alexa integration and the other things around the house that were compatible with ST’s infrastructure, SmartThings was simply turning devices (mostly Zigbe and Zwave) on or off in ‘fancy’ ways (automations). As I reread my original post, the thing that impressed me the most with HA was NOT that aspect…it was the fact that I could now, from a single dashboard, see my washer/dryer (Non Samsung) my television (again, non Samsung), my IP cameras video streams (non SmartThings) and other things that that were NOT Zigbee and Zwave. Once I was fully in on HA, I could then use the simply on/off aspect to control a wider range of devices around the house (i.e. Turn a television off when the house lights are off and in ‘sleep’ mode). Yes, you CAN do that with SmartThings…if you happen to have a Samsung product. I think this is the biggest ‘sin’ of the ST infrastructure…the ‘easy’ integrations are wrapped around Samsung’s other products. I never even considered adding my LG washer and dryer to ST, but this was easy with HA and I found uses for it that I never dreamed (i.e. keeping track of the number of washes and alert when it is time to do a tub wash). When you start having ‘brand tie in’ you start to limit your options or freedom of choice. Now, is it theoretically possible to add LG (or other brands) to ST using the new Edge platform? As near as I can tell, yes…but you (as an end user) will have to wait for someone to do that, or you do it yourself. That same is true for HA, but many of these were tackled in the past few years, so going from ST to HA feels like a door opening up to a wide, open field.
And as we are taking about ‘open possibilities’, I discovered something in just the past few weeks that has me really excited. The ‘holy grail’ (IMO) of home automation is ROOM PRESENCE detection. I played with with when I was on ST, but it seemed overly complicated and not very precise. Enter the integration of ESP32 micro controllers in HA. These are little ($3-$4) WIFI and Bluetooth devices that sit in each room. Pairing this with Bluetooth Low Energy (i.e. Fitbits or cell phones) I carry around, I now have rather decent individual person room detection in my house…for less than $50.00 all in including the small cases and cables I bought to house these units! Now, it is NOT 100% perfect, but works MUCH better than multiple motion sensors in a room that become less important for room detection when you stop moving (like sitting watching TV or working in an office). No more waving my hands in the air to ‘remind’ the home automation system that I am still in the room. Again, not saying this isn’t possible with an MQTT integration to ST Edge, but this literally took less than one hour to set up and get working in HA. Nothing I ever did in ST ever seem to take less than an hour
I will reenforce my recommendation/warning from my other post as to whether you should do the conversion to HA. This, again, is really up to you…but I reiterate the fact that you WILL have to put some time into HA. This is an ‘investment’…When I first got HA working and transferred my automations I spent a LOT of time plugging away in HA as the logic of automation is slightly different than ST with WebCore. However, now that everything is ‘tuned’ I spend about 90% less time ‘babysitting’ the platform as it hums away. I have had some (Zigbee) mesh issues and devices that seemed to stop working for no reason, but the recovery of these is easy (which is usually popping the battery and reinserting). And, to be clear, this has only happened twice and is NOT unique to HA (this happened in ST).
So, overall, a month in, I haven’t looked back…ST was great for me to learn the concepts of HA, but in my circumstance where I want a bit more control over the environment and don’t mind spending a bit more time ‘hand holding’ the system, it was right for me to switch.
Hope this is helpful. I won’t post any more about my journey as I think I have closed the door to ever come back to ST and I think ST folks are tired of hearing about how great the ‘other side’ is. It really depends on your needs, and I won’t play the game of “come over to the dark side, your side sucks”. Each to their own…