OPEN LETTER or PLEA - Please give me some guidance about investing time in Smartthings

Harmony Elite works with over 270,000 that doesn’t really mean anything. I agree that Control4 is a polished, more reliable system, but when you mix cloud and local processing the MFOP is just not there. The difference is that if you have Zigbee interference in your home, you don’t hassle yourself with it, you call a dealer to do it for you. That’s what the extra dollars get you, when you buy into Control4 universe.

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Alex

Your post didn’t rile me up in the slightest, because it was thought out and articulate.

I would take issue with a couple of your comments/observations though.

While Samsung do not ‘charge’ for the service, they are doing this as they clearly see that if they can become the defacto standard for ‘simple’ home automation that gives them enormous leverage regarding the implementation of APIs going forward. There will be a huge revenues in charging Sony, LG, et al for a licence to use Samsung/Smartthings implementation code rather then having to have a their own department write and then taking it through acceptance testing.

I have no problem giving them the benefit of the doubt to a point, but the reality is that Alexa, Siri, GH and others are going to drive this market forward in leaps and bounds over the next five years. If they don’t have the correct management already in place to address the issues I’ve raised pretty much immediately there is a serious chance the opportunity will pass them by.

This is not small number were talking about, if you imagine that say ten years from now that every electrical item in your home has a level of automation control and integration think of what that market is worth globally, it’s in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

To be still making after this long, what I honestly have to describe as schoolboy errors, is a damning indictment in my opinion and needs to be addressed quickly.

Bob

Having designed and managed systems for Investment banks I’d be very surprised if their compensation package would meet my expectations.

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@stilllearning - I agree with your latest post but adopting ST for the time being is not a lifelong decision. I am more than glad to jump boat if ST can’t keep up and something better comes along. I love technology/innovation and will not stick with a boat anchor, if ST were to turn into that. For now, I see great value in ST and I enjoy the openness and low cost. If I were looking for absolute reliability I would look into other options such as Control4 but I don’t want to pay 10k and above and have to rely on a 3rd party to automate my house for me. The fun and satisfaction I get when my automations work as desired makes it worth the occasional frustration when the cloud goes haywire. Don’t get me wrong, I am not fully excusing all the troubles but I am willing to consider them as part of the price of this low cost solution (in hope for things to get better over time).

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I can’t blame for saying zip on the timeline. They kept doing so in the past and got trashed each time they missed the timeline. It is never soon enough as I am hungry for new features/capabilities but I try to relax and enjoy what trickles down to us.

Sorry I meant to comment on this point.

This is still a management issue.

People that can’t forecast and then implement to a timetable are frankly just not up to the ‘management’ part of the job, they may well be technically brilliant but not everyone has both skillsets.

Back in the mid nineties I was involved in building and implementing a migration of 2000 traders to a new custom built trading floor in a new building in Canary Wharf in London.

We had six months to plan, at the end of which we had a Gantt chart with slightly over 50,000 individual line items, the line item including responsibilities, dependencies, costings etc…it was pretty comprehensive and most important included who was the responsible owner for that line item.

As the plan began to roll out to a ninety day timetable there were daily reviews of the current state of the plan and weekly audits to ensure what was being reported was what was being met. If any line item started to slip for any reason a management decision was made to either commit more resources to bring it back on schedule (and the new resources would be fed back into the updated plan) or, if it was felt it was an inability of the line item owner to deliver they were quickly replaced. The project was delivered three days ahead of schedule and almost exactly on budget forecast.

Good management has vision AND makes things work, after all vision without execution are just stories.

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Sorry if I wasn’t clear. Those numbers aren’t the maximum number of devices in any one installation. They are the numbers of different third-party models that could be selected for someone’s account. The number of possible integration partners. That was the question that had been asked.

There are many businesses, projects, and “miracles of engineering” that absolutely would not exist without incredible project management and coordination. These range from relatively small, but critical (the management of a patient from entry to a hospital all the way through surgery and discharge), to the incomprehensible 400,000 parts that have to be coordinated from hundreds of vendors to build an passenger airplane, to the code that launches a satellite into orbit, or the timing and measurement tolerances required to erect a bridge or skyscraper…

In general, software tends to be an area with a lot more delays and mistakes. Some manufacturers do better than others. The software & systems at the bank I worked at were almost laughable in quality, but they managed sufficient reliability to operate and increase their bottom line by 10% annually,


But that’s irrelevant here. The reason Samsung doesn’t give out a timeline for new features, is that they have decided there is no net benefit to do so. And they aren’t alone in the tech industry: Apple doesn’t announce features of the next iPhone in advance of one official press release or reveal event (when the device is already complete and headed to mass production). Amazon doesn’t publish a timeline of the features they plan for the next update(s) to Alexa’s software. Most consumer product companies do not layout the future publicly - but some choose to.

If you want to know the roadmap or timeline of the product you are buying, just don’t buy a product which doesn’t offer you that - and best of luck that whatever product you find actually delivers on time and according to specifications.

It’s a free market and you’re a consumer. You can “plea” all you want - but we have observed how Samsung operates SmartThings. If that’s unsatisfactory to you, then you can choose to not be one of the millions of customers of SmartThings. They won’t miss you. Harsh? Nope, just reality - businesses exist to execute whatever strategy they want and hopefully maximize profit of their shareholders. If that leaves opportunities open for other companies, then other companies enter the free market and operate however they choose as well.

I’m just glad that SmartThings doesn’t make airplanes. That’s my only plea :relieved:.

In the meantime, Alex made a recommendation which I agree with completely:

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Samsung can make phones that explode, if you cannot stomach that, one should not try SmartThings at home. :smile:

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It was the washing machines that exploded. The phones just caught fire. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I think the main point that counts here is that a number of community members have similar backgrounds to you, quite a few of us have worked for global 2000 companies (I myself worked at IBM), and many of us had very similar reactions to the one you are having now. You will find discussions of these, many making exactly the same points You’re making about software development, going back to 2015.

Company representatives including the SmartThings CEO, have come into the forums from time to time, always promising that they were going to make reliability their top priority. :innocent: And this has been going on for years.

Many of those community members have moved on to other platforms, but smartthings is still here, And still seems to have the same “run fast and break things” development philosophy.

I do think it’s important to note that smartthings has never had patents on anything. They’re not doing anything that anybody else couldn’t do. Samsung on the other hand has thousands of patents, and if there’s anything that they intend to be used by other companies, it’s what’s coming out of Artik, not out of the current hub-based SmartThings system.

After four years, my best guess, which I have mentioned before, is that Samsung bought SmartThings in 2015 for the name and the buzz. But they have their own long term IOT plans, and they aren’t based on this platform.

So I will say what I always say when this topic comes up, which it does about every six weeks: if you are a tinkerer and can tolerate the level of instability, SmartThings offers a tremendous amount of flexibility and power at a very low cost.

If you need a longer MFOP For whatever reason, there are a number of competing systems out there which may be a better match for you.

But there just isn’t much point in raising your stress level in trying to argue That SmartThings should have a different development philosophy. The one they have is working for them or they would’ve changed it two or three years ago.

If you enjoy the argument (some people do), feel free to carry-on. Or if you just want to vent. :rage: But realistically, SmartThings is unlikely to change because of anything said in this forum.

We hear you, we sympathize, many of us agree with what you’re saying, it just isn’t going to change anything.

FWIW

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But that’s irrelevant here. The reason Samsung doesn’t give out a timeline for new features, is that they have decided there is no net benefit to do so. And they aren’t alone in the tech industry: Apple doesn’t announce features of the next iPhone in advance of one official press release or reveal event (when the device is already complete and headed to mass production). Amazon doesn’t publish a timeline of the features they plan for the next update(s) to Alexa’s software. Most consumer product companies do not layout the future publicly - but some choose to.

Sorry Terry, that’s not a like for like comparison. Both Apple and Amazon do give pre-release versions of their OS to developers on a strict NDA basis, they then release the product when it’s finished (allowing for bugs). As the Apple reason, for no early announcements, is they have a commercial product that the ‘announcement’ is a major part of their marketing campaign, thus early leaks undermine that announcement. Amazon on the other hand are releasing products where there isn’t the same requirement for ‘external hackery’ to make them work as required (excepting bugs of course). I think you would agree, to some degree, that the release of the ‘new’ version of the smartthings app is what would be best described as a beta release, given the number of features and DHs that are missing.

If you want to know the roadmap or timeline of the product you are buying, just don’t buy a product which doesn’t offer you that - and best of luck that whatever product you find actually delivers on time and according to specifications.

That of course is one viewpoint and I understand why you say it, however, there’s a better way. Try to work with an organisation that’s got it 70% right to improve it till they get it nearer to 100% right (of course 100% is never possible). The only way to do that in my opinion is to actively lobby and push the management team to work in a way that’s more conducive to the whole communities benefit, if the current management team are unable to provide that capability then either help them acquire the skills or in the last instance lobby to get them replaced by people that do have the skills.

Given your role in the development of action tiles how cheesed off would you be if all that time and effort got flushed because people didn’t have the sense to recognise the opportunity and their own shortcomings?

It’s a free market and you’re a consumer. You can “plea” all you want - but we have observed how Samsung operates SmartThings. If that’s unsatisfactory to you, then you can choose to not be one of the millions of customers of SmartThings. They won’t miss you. Harsh? Nope, just reality - businesses exist to execute whatever strategy they want and hopefully maximize profit of their shareholders. If that leaves opportunities open for other companies, then other companies enter the free market and operate however they choose as well.

What I’m hearing is there does appear to be a gap in this market for someone to develop an infrastructure in a more co-operative and less obtuse way, smartthings should start to think about the risk to their business model if it’s that obvious to me.

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There are lots of existing alternatives to SmartThings with very different development models. Apple’s HomeKit puts reliability Right at the top of their list, and you can delay an update for as long as you want. Lowe’s Iris, Wink, Homeseer, and even Insteon Are all popular alternatives. People who don’t want to do it themselves can call their local cable company and probably get a decent alternative, although they will pay a monthly fee. Amazon is regularly updating the capabilities of echo plus, and just added sensors last week. Lots of companies are looking at this space and approaching it in different ways. As a potential customer you have many different choices now.

But I think the thing that may be most helpful to you is to understand that the Samsung smartthings business model is not about selling individual hubs. And it’s not about creating a hub-based code platform that other companies might license (again, they don’t hold any patents for the hub-based system, so they don’t really have anything to sell that regard).

Based on all their public marketing for the last couple of years, what they really want for the consumer market is a way to continue to sell $6000 refrigerators and smart televisions, and the future means those have to be able to connect to some kind of IOT options even if most people won’t use them. ( for the commercial market, as I mentioned, Artik is the product.)

They’ve already told us that most smartthings customers have fewer than 15 devices and use only the built-in features, no custom code of any kind. So that’s what they need to replicate in their TV-friendly system.

The device list in theIr keystone ad shows a refrigerator, washer, television, and robot vacuum (all Samsung products)— and one lightbulb. :wink:

The power users in this forum don’t represent the market they’re going after, So the features we would like to see are not what is driving the development path.

It all makes sense when you look at the Samsung strategy overall. It may not be what we’d like to see, but it’s not a bad business strategy per se.

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Thanks for posting a patient, positive, and accurate perspective, JD…

Unfortunately, all that comes to my my mind, is “oh gee… Not another one of these well-intentioned, but confoundingly naive and cocky folks who think they can change a $ billion corporation with a forum post”. :pensive:

@stilllearning - I have to bow out of this conversation before it puts me over the edge. Nothing personal.

All you would need to understand reality is just read the dozen or more existing topics/threads in the Community that happen to have exactly the same tone and points that you wrote above. Literally, incredibly - it’s like cut and paste. :flushed:

We should really index all the posts with this theme. Can you come up with a #tag, @JDRoberts? :slightly_smiling_face:

I guess I cannot in good faith say that @stilllearning’s sentiment is “wrong” — It’s just not applicable to this product / platform. It’s a fantasy, maybe?.. Well, that’s the most generous way I can put it. Been here since Day #1; I’ve heard it all before. So I’m certainly too jaded to offer you any empathy.

Good-luck.

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#armchairCTO :stuck_out_tongue:

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Love this, but the problem is most of the posts of this type are just individual comments in threads on other topics. I really don’t want to tag the whole thread to identify those couple of posts and it could get very confusing. I can give you a couple of examples:

2015

2016

2017

2018

And my personal favorite:

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ohhh man… did I step in it… I’m just having a little fun responding to @tgauchat’s request for a hashtag and you come out swinging trying to compare legacy sizes. Me? I’m just a budding Millennial living in my single mom’s basement subsiding on Cheeto’s and bong hits waiting for my major league Xbox gaming career to get off the ground. Or I might just be lying to impress you. :kissing_heart:

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#armchairCTO is an honorable distinction that many have achieved around here. Is too bad that certain people are not around to award you a beer badge, because you certainly deserve one for your efforts :smile:

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I made a top 10 list :star_struck:

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Me too! For the record I switched to a cheaper hub and use Alexa to control it. It’s been nearly rock solid stable.