Questions from Wink user thinking of moving to SmartThings--multiple locations?

I’ve been a Wink user for a couple of years now and while the Wink Hub 2 has been reliable and relatively painless to use 2 things annoy me enough that I’m thinking of switching to SmartThings: First, Wink still doesn’t have a user community so even the simplest of questions requires sending them an email and waiting (in some cases ) a week or more to a reply or, calling them and waiting on hold (for up to an hour). I’ve suggest the user community thing to them several times and all I get is “we’ll pass this along to the development team” or “I’ll submit a feature request” for you. I find this so frustrating because it’s so easily fixable. I’m sure that most of the questions I’ve asked have also been asked by hundreds of other Wink customers and could easily and quickly be answered by their user base. Instead, they’re making their customers contact support and support is probably answering the same questions over and over again. To me this shows an extremely lack of vision and makes me wonder if the people running Wink are paranoid control freaks.

Second, as much as I like the Wink app for its simplicity, it’s not extensible and the only way to get any new functionality is to submit a feature request. I have submitted a dozen or more feature requests over the past couple of years and have seen none of them implemented. I’m a software guy and have played around with their API but short of writing my own front end there’s no way to do anything to the app itself.

So, after that very long ramble; on to the questions:

  1. One of the things I really like about Wink is the local control for lights an locks. Lighting commands are nearly instantaneous compared to the 2-3 seconds some commands took before local control was implemented. I’m reading conflicting info about the SmartThings hub’s local control ability. Is it capable of local control and if so, how well does it work, what are limitations, etc?

  2. I have 2 properties one of which is 600 miles away from my primary residence. How well does the SmartThings app deal with multiple “Houses”?

  3. Lastly, any old Wink users here willing to share SmartThings vs Wink pros and cons?

Thanks – Steve

The following thread discusses local control in detail. It should help answer some of your questions (this is a clickable link)

As far as questions about multiple locations, it depends on exactly what your concerns are as there are many different aspects to this.

You could start by looking on the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki in the project report section. There is a list there for second homes which might have some of what you’re looking for.

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=How_to_Quick_Browse_the_Community-Created_SmartApps_Forum_Section#Quick_Browse_Links_for_Project_Reports.2FQuestions

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Thanks for the info. I’ve had a look at the links you provided and have a couple of questions that weren’t covered.

  1. My second property has a full time broadband connection so being able to monitor status isn’t a problem. But it’s 600 miles away so while a temporary ST outage is no big deal, a situation that requires that the ST hub be power cycled is disastrous. The Wink hub doesn’t auto update so I’ll generally wait until I’m on-site (I’m there approx. 8 times a year) before updating. The ST hub auto-updates this isn’t an option. Do you know of any instances where outages or updates have required a hub power cycle?

  2. Regarding multiple properties: It’s not clear to me how the app’s UI deals with this. Are the devices at each location grouped, are the locations shown on separate tabs, etc.?

Thanks again.

There have been some cases which did require a power cycle for many users but not many that I remember in 2017. However, every single platform update has had some small percentage of users who have had to do power cycles on their hubs after the update. So you can’t tell in advance if you are going to be one of the unlucky ones or not. :disappointed_relieved:

As far as what the UI looks like with multiple “locations,” ( in SmartThings, each hub counts as its own “location,” you can NOT have multiple hubs on the same location the way you can with Wink) I will have to leave that to others to respond as I don’t have multiple locations.

@tgauchat is a very active community member and one of the developers for a third-party dashboard app that works with SmartThings – – he should be able to say more.

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Yeah, that may be a deal breaker for me. In the nearly 2 years I’ve been using Wink I’ve never needed to power cycle. And the nature of the manual updates has allowed me to postpone the them until I’m local. So if something does go wrong and a power cycle is required at least I’m not 600 miles away.

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I actually had to power cycle after the firmware update last night. I had no control over my Hue lights (oddly smartlight rules were working but I couldn’t control via “things”).

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Not being able to delay or postpone updates is a big issue for many people but smartthings is still primarily a cloud-based system and they can and do push out updates whenever they want. :disappointed_relieved:

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You do have the ability to reboot your hub from IDE when you aren’t home at https://account.smartthings.com.

Now in some cases, folks have reported that they could not perform this (hub didn’t respond) or that a simple physical reboot did not bring the hub back online and had to do a full boot meaning, unplugging power to the hub, removing batteries (if added) and waiting 15 minutes or so. I have never once had to do this. Any firmware update or outage that has occurred over the last year, my hub has recovered 100% of the time on it’s own. When I have initiated the Reboot Hub remotely, I have never had a single issue.

Thanks–good to know. Of course it’s the one time I have the problem that’s going to be the issue :frowning:

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I bought the Smarthings hub to drive the 9 zone heat thermostats in my house. I’m beginning to question this decision. With “device health” turned on the system will just randomly stop (and start) talking to random individual thermostats. Weird . With “device health” off the system reports crazy nonsense from the thermostats (one day when it was 40 degrees outside, my Master Bath was supposedly 5 Degrees lol ). Luckily, the Radio Thermostats seem to revert to internal programming when hub drops them, so the housing isn’t freezing or a sauna… but Samsung needs to fix this before i would think about integrating a front door lock or my security system. I opened a ticket with Samsung support and in spite of this being a cloud solution with them having the ability to see what is happening remotely they have no solutions for me. Samsung knows about this problem and seem powerless to fix it in spite of 6 months of trying.

The users here are great, Samsung Support on the other hand needs a tune up.

As for updates… Samsung forced one to my hub just yesterday… 19.20… There is no postings here or on Samsung’s web page telling my what this fixed… Just a vague email about video streaming…

If your system is simple stay with wink… If you like to fiddle tinker or are trying to do something complicated, then welcome to the joys of an open cloud solution.

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https://status.smartthings.com/incidents/fqmp6rhz094q

This update fixes a bug which can prevent streaming from LAN video cameras.

Thanks for that,

I was looking for a formal announcement from Samsung on the section of this forum dedicated to updates… You know Giving us a list of what 19.20 does and what it fixes…

As I noted so far all we is a confusing statement about video streaming… and some confusion from users if this was an emergency or not. For all cloud system change management is critical. Sure sometime you have to push out an emergency patch… But you need to follow up with what is going on right quick or users start to wonder. You can see this phenomenon on the threads you posted.

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Doesn’t always happen :slight_smile:

Some things are just a surprise.

Best best to know when things are ever happening. Goto https://status.smartthings.com and Subscribe to Updates

EDIT: This isn’t intended at looking for scheduled or non scheduled updates (ie: firmware or app). It is more targeted at system or platform Issues and it’s normally nothing in real time. It may be hours later before anything about a problem is reported or sent out.

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Fair enough but so is Wink and I have the ability to decide if and when I apply the update. Having said that though, they never detail what the update is for what it fixes, adds, changes, etc., so not awesome there.

The most recent forced update. Some of the trouble reports posted there are from very experienced users, at least one of whom is a network engineer. So just saying it doesn’t look like the trouble reports for this one are due to user error/ignorance.

Therein lies the conundrum :wink:

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Edited my previous post based on your deleted one for clarification as to details of Status. :sunglasses:

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Try to find a Version 1 of the Hub… It’s no longer getting any firmware upgrades, so that eliminates the unscheduled reboots. I’ve never upgraded, and, anecdotally, my home is more stable than most!

I think this eliminates the possibility of local control though which is something I’d hate to give up. Thanks for the thought though.

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OK, so here’s a crazy thought. I have an always on computer with BIOS settings to power on after a power outage. I can VPN into the computer using RealVNC. What if I plugged the Hub into a network controllable power strip like this one?

If the hub we’re to become unresponsive I could control the power strip to power cycle the hub.