My Thoughts on Smartthings after a few weeks


(Patrick Stuart [@pstuart]) #1

First of all, let me provide a bit of background about me. Been a user of Control4 for over 4 years. I’m also now a developer for that platform, mainly IP drivers. My house is fully automated with Control4, from security to HDMI Matrix switch to all AVRs and TV’s. On top of that, cameras, door locks, and much more.

I was very excited about Smartthings when it started. I wanted to wait till it was available retail and bought via Amazon.

First setup was a test for my father’s location, and I set everything up, moved it out to Wyoming and that worked. Added his and his wife’s iPhones to the location and they like being able to find out the temp of the house, be able to turn a light on and see when doors open. This is all they needed.

I got home and bought a second kit from Amazon for my own use. Amazon shipped the wrong kit and that was remedied by support after a few days and email exchanges, saving me from having to send it back and wait a week to get a replacement. Support was very good.

Now, I got my 2nd location set up, and all my devices and custom programming started, Sonos set up, custom weather, nest integration, etc. I set up some weather warnings to send push notifications and some other push notifications for my location. I couldn’t get a single notification to push to my Android phone.

What is the purpose of locations? Turns out, all the testing I did on my second location on notifications got pushed to my dad’s and his wife’s phone in a separate location. Shouldn’t push notifications be specific to the location the device that is pushing the notification is set to?

I still couldn’t get a single notification to push to my android device yet they all show up in another location on my dad’s phone. Contact support, I know they are busy, but really no good progress on this issue.

Based on some of the responses, it appears locations are just dividers for devices, but really serve no practical purpose. So I figure the only real way is to move my 2nd location hub to a new account.

I open another ticket to support to find out the process on getting a hub moved or removed and a new welcome code sent, and I get a response that are you sure, this will require all devices to be set up. It takes a day or more to get a response from support, on top of that, they can’t answer the question, just ask other questions.

So now I have removed all the devices from the hub, removed the hub and am waiting patiently for the new welcome code to be generated.

My issues with the system so far and feature list:
-Ditch the welcome code, or at least have a way to generate a new code on removal of the hub from the account
-Locations should determine which mobile devices get notifications. All devices should not get all notifications.
-Invite people just to a specific location not the entire solution
-Finer control over which devices get notifications
-Better support for android push notifications, ie, use Google Push Messaging Service.
-Better local network support, specifically, raw sockets to control many 3rd party simple devices

And most importantly, more resources available for support. This platform is made and lost on its support. So far, I was impressed at the beginning but now support is slow and incomplete.

I hope to get my 2nd hub working on another account and will hope the above issues / features will be addressed in the future.

I am working on integrating the hub and devices into a control4 environment as well as using the presence functionality into Control4 to trigger room programming.

If you have any questions, let me know. This forum needs some healthy debate and conversations going…


(Geko) #2

I mostly agree with your review. I bought ‘used’ ST hub from Amazon that was previously activated. I did however receive new activation code within 12 hours, so my experience in this regard was better than yours.

Yes, ST ‘locations’ don’t make a lot of sense. On one hand, notifications are sent globally, regardless of location. On the other hand, events cannot cross location boundaries, so you cannot have a smart app that handles events from multiple locations.

Aslo, I’ve ran into a weird problem where I cannot install my apps into a second location using Android app. The iPhone app does not exhibit the same issue.

Also, a more granular control of user permissions is absolutely necessary. For example, I may want to give my kids ability to turn on lights, but not open garage door.


(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #3

^ This is very important to me as well. I want some folks to have control of a number things without having to give them the keys to the castle.

I don’t pretend to understand locations as I have never used them. I originally added one of my phones and then instead wanted to use a presence sensor. Took me forever to figure out how to remove my phone. There are a number of other ambiguities in the interface, as well as documentation that describes things that’re not there.

Cleaning those up would go a long way in improving things.


(Patrick Stuart [@pstuart]) #4

Granular control of specific user permissions would be a GIANT differentiators amongst the big HA players.

As a control4 user, I have been begging for this for years. There just isn’t any good way to allow a subset of functions to a specific user, most HA systems have no understanding of a user.

Smartthings has presence sensors and phones, these should be the basis of a user (since they are tied to an email account).

Setting access control to devices based on a user or groups of users would be desired.

A simple, all users, group 1, group 2 and group 3 could be a start.

That way you can assign specific users into one of the 3 groups and those 3 groups are explicitly set at the device level to have (or not have) access to it.

Maybe the addition of a guest account, which only allows minimal interaction would be great as well.

However, ultimately, to take this platform to the next level, both users and groups will be needed to do amazing automation things in the future.


(Patrick Stuart [@pstuart]) #5

Well, was finally able to get my hub set up on another account. Not sure where I read it, but I thought I had seen that the activation code is a single use only.

Turns out, that once a hub is removed from the account, the activation code will then work again for another account.

So hang on to those codes and/or box (the code is on the bottom of the box as well) in case you ever need to move the hub to another account.

Had to re-add all my devices, which involved resetting them and re-pairing them, but all was smooth with that process.

Support today was very good. Must not be USA soccer fans :slight_smile:


#6

Patrick,

That’s correct about the welcome codes. Deleting a location or removing a hub will reset the welcome code so that we don’t need to intervene or generate a new one for you.

As you said - hang on to those after the initial setup. If you (or another user) happens to lose the welcome code you can shoot us an email or jump on live chat and we can help you out pretty quickly.

As a side note, we’ve also followed up on the bug with Android notifications and it’ll be corrected in the next build. I’ll also follow up on that thread.


(Kalvin) #7

Yes, yes, yes! Lack of user permissions on a per device basis is my biggest problem with SmartThings. Is this coming?


(Elijah) #8

yes, so need a user permission system in a bad way.
my teen has discovered we use ST to monitor his coming & going, so he hoped on Moms tablet when she wasnt looking and uninstalled the app that txts us when he leaves/arrives past curfew. grrrrrr. my solution was an app locker.


(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #9

Check out Web Dashboard!