New Radios for SmartThings... any plans?


(Chrisb) #1

I’m sorta curious what SmartThings long term thinking is re: the Hub. I know that originally there was talk of Bluetooth being incorporated but time and funds precluded this from happening. I also know that there are new technologies being planned for the future (6LoWPAN for example).

Now granted, SmartThings is still young and Home Automation is really just starting to really take off. Z-wave and Zigbee are still the rulers in terms of moving existing home setups into a Smart Home environment. But it seems to me that when we start to talk about integrating new technologies (TVs, computers, appliances, portable devices, etc) these things will probably lean more towards tech like BLE, WiFi, or perhaps the a fore mentioned 6LoWPAN.

Are there any thoughts about how SmartThings might work with these new protocols? Might there be a Hub 2.0 that has more radios built in? Or an add on hub that adds new radios?

I really love SmartThings and I’m happy with the direction that SmartThings has taken with integrating with some of the new tech (Sonos, Ubi, Hue). I just hope that ST doesn’t get left behind if lots of the new “toys” only work with BLE or some other protocol that ST can’t handle.


(Florian Z) #2

Hijacking this just to say that I would also really love 6LoWPAN support. That would be amazing.


(Chrisb) #3

Well… it’s only a *semi-*hijack as I did mention 6LoWPAN in my original post, plus while I did specifically mention BLE at the end, it really was an open ended question. I’m curious about any new radios that SmartThings is thinking of supporting and hope to have a discussion about all possibilities.

I guess I’m curious what ST long term plan is. They’ve integrated (to various levels) with some non-Zigbee/Zwave products like Ubi, Sonos, and Hue and have done this via Cloud-to-Cloud communication or Cloud-to-ExternalHub communication… and that’s fine, but it does present the possibility of being overwhelmed with hubs.

Already some people have the SmartThings Hub, a Sonos Bridge, and a Hue hub. Ideally I’d like to see ST communicate directly with more devices so I don’t end up with multiple hubs in the future. This would also be cheaper in the long run if I’m just buying the individual devices rather than hubs for each device too.

But of course, to the best of my knowledge, the SmartThings Hub does not have any external expansion ports, so how would ST add new radios if they decided too? The obvious one is a new class of Hub that can do everything the first Hub can do, plus more. But again, this means we all need to go out and get the new Hub (if we want/need the new radios).

I wonder if it would be possible to have a “add on” hub… This is pure speculation on my part here. I have no idea if this makes sense from a hardware or software point of view, but I would envision a sort of “base” that the existing hub would fit on (kinda like add on trays for HP laser printers if you’re familiar with those). The existing hub would be plugged into a network port on the “add on”, and that another port on the add on would be wired to a users router.


(Florian Z) #4

This is the primary reason why I have not adopted Hue or TCP. I just don’t want another hub.

Granted, though, this is not a problem that I expect SmartThings to solve. In fact it’s greatly advantageous for them from a business and engineering point of view, as well as for us as customers, to just focus on one (in this case two) physical layer, and make sure it works reliably.

Having said that, I feel like the home automation market is largely stagnant from an end-device perspective: Both ZWave and ZigBee are not really open standards by any stretch of the imagination. The entry barrier with ZigBee is lower, but that’s about it. Most end-devices are cheaply made and hopelessly overpriced. We rarely see new startups entering that market without investing in their own (closed) radio layer, only adding to existing fragmentation (more bridges, yay!).

6LoWPAN is a beautifully designed protocol, and I really believe it could (and should!) become as ubiquitous as WiFi. There is just something elegant about simply tying low-powered, embedded devices into an existing Ethernet using proven standards and protocols (IPv6). On top of that, the SmartThings hub already has a 802.15.4 radio running the ZigBee layer stack, as well as APIs to speak to LAN devices.

Anyways, I am just venting a bit. You may nor may not agree :wink: