Non Technical People using SmartThings

I reread my comment above and meant to say that they need to hear from people who don’t know the difference between electronic components as well as those who do.

The latest “competitor”:

TiO = “Turn it On”.

–> Though at $499 for the hub, unclear about what “Thing” standards it supports, and $600 for audio zones, I think… (isn’t a Sonos system as little as $300?), this certainly reinforces our enthusiasm for SmartThings’ (assumed) low pricing…

Synchronizing multiple audio zones over IP is not that easy to do, that’s why Sonos is so popular. I like that TioHome is out of the gate with Android (of course!). So far no mention of Zigbee and such, but maybe just an oversight or they are just being stealthy…

But in particular relevance to this Thread (non-technical people…), I like their configuration scenario description (“Moods”, “Experiences”)

"The TiO home automation solution is built from the ground up with the central focus on the customer experience," said Mike Anderson, president of TiO's parent company Automated Control Technology Partners (ACTP), "Today's home automation customers want a solution that empowers them to easily create relaxing and comforting moods and experiences in their home. In the past, making changes to automation systems was difficult and often required an integrator to visit the home. With TiO, the customer is in control once the system is installed and configured."

TiO Moods are single-room events created by adjusting elements within a room (i.e. lighting levels, temperature, music source and volume) to a desired setting and then simply “capturing” the settings with a single button press. Once a Mood is created, it can be recalled anytime by selecting it from a list of captured Moods. When the homeowner’s preferences change, a new Mood can be created.

TiO Experiences are a collection of Moods that work together to create a complete home scene. Experiences can be scheduled and, like Moods, can be quickly and easily changed whenever the homeowner wants.

“With this kind of intuitive control”, said Anderson, “TiO adapts to the customer instead of requiring the customer to adapt to the system.”


Oh… regarding TiO Home Automation and Zigbee…

Here’s a quote from Electronic House that I overlooked:

The ZigBee wireless protocol has been replaced by an all-IP communications infrastructure for lighting and thermostat control, and Android now rules the system.

Hmph! Are they trying to be proprietary or did they just think Zigbee (or Z-Wave) has drawbacks?

These systems are too expensive to expect people to replace hundreds (or thousands) of dollars worth of devices just to use their HUB. Anything that hopes to succeed needs to have cross standard support. Granted, it’s not like every home in America is already wired up with Zigbee, or Z-wave but at this stage they need a good selection of devices for people to pick, and they need early adopters who may already have a system to try them out and evangelize.

It is very puzzling why they are, apparently, locking themselves out of homes (and integrators), which have or trust Zigbee/Z-Wave devices (though perhaps some might say the same could be said for X10 or Insteon protocols: Yet these are much less reliable and not really comparable…).

I’ve asked the question on their facebook page (

The product price point is not super high-end, yet, obviously, not low end either. They are definitely targeting a specific market slice.

It is likely a very deliberate marketing decision to focus on IP as their RF layer to encourage proprietary environments? And/or to make support easier? Maybe they think they are a step-ahead…

It’s because it came from ColoradovNet. More for guys like me. vNet was awesome sauce, I still have a few installs running strong, but just never made it very far in the market. Their lighting controllers were by far the coolest thing about them, and I’ve been looking at Ube to fill that niche.

@Formix: By “guys like us”, you mean Custom Integrators (= VARS, System Integrators, Custom Installers, …)?
I think many folks here think we are at the turning point where CI’s are not necessary for most installs. Yet, since we’re obviously the early-adopters, that skews the demographic to various types of geeks and tinkerers and bargain hunters.

By Ube, I guess you are referring to:

What is your view of Ube in relation or comparison to SmartThings? Doesn’t it seem rather “heavyweight” to use fully connected WiFi IP for every dimmer and switch? What is the ideal price-point for a reliable remote dimmer switch? The entry level backer price is $49, which I think is pretty high, but everything is relative. Haven’t yet found out if cheaper ones are going to work well in my SmartThings network.

I would tend to agree, we’re at that turning point with equipment and demographic shift where integrators like me won’t be needed as much by most folks. At the same time, the gear is coming down in cost so that there is a wider market. However, when Time<Money, there’s always someone who wants to hire out the work, and just enjoy the convenience. Or as I like to say, it’s not what it costs, it’s what it’s worth that matters. Keep in mind while we the technically minded folks see a glitch as an interesting problem, for some folks even rebooting their phone is an insurmountable obstacle. WiFi may be a bit heavy, we’ll have to see. I’m more interested in how they deal with 2.4 interference. Even Sonos had a heck of a time with that at first.

I hope they make it 5Ghz compatible.

You’d hope, but that has issues too. Nothing is 100% groovy.