Ready for Home Automation- Why Smartthings?


(Bill) #1

Hey all, new to the forums, but was hoping you all could help me out with a couple things…I need some guidance and some help convincing the wife that this home automation stuff is worth it!

I used the old X10 stuff for a while, but wanting something a little more “smart” and that I can use with my phone, tablet etc. I’ve been doing some research between Smartthings, Insteon, Iris, etc, and before I buy one I’d like to get some input if Smartthings is the way to go. From everything I’m reading, it sure appears so with all of the great things you can do as well as the community support. Here’s what I’d like to do with a system:

Control Lights
Be able to tell if my wife unplugs her straightener
Tell if a door is locked, if not lock them.
If a door is opened after 10:00 PM, sound alarm
Control my sprinkler system with phone
Open/Close garage door

It appears that Smartthings can do most of this. My question is, does any other system do the same thing, or am I heading down the right path with Smartthings.

Thanks!


(Elliot Justin) #2

@Billb1981

Smartthings can do everything you listed with the exception of the sprinklers. I believe you can direct control the controller in that situation. Insteon doesn’t support locks. Iris will support all of those use cases but you will have a monthly fee. Platforms like Vera may support your existing X10 but your mileage may vary.


(Bill) #3

Perfect…that really helps. The big thing is locks and such for us down the road. Also noticed they are starting to come up with support for FosCams…


(Tim Slagle) #4

Foscams are community supports right now. But they work wonderfully so far.

Here’s the deal…

STs is the best out there at the moment. If you want expandability STs is a must. I’ve had insteon, vera and the comacast crap… STs wins everytime. They have there issues don’t get me wrong, but so far STs is the best thing out there. You won’t be dissapointed.


(Bill) #5

This is what I’m looking for Tim, thank you.


(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #6

Well… you could be. If you are the type to want to get your fingers between the fan blades (i.e. geek, hacker, techie)… I think SmartThings is great. But its all in the cloud nature, and its limited number of officially supported devices and programs can, and will present challenges to the casual user. Please keep that in mind when making your decision.


(Bill) #7

I’m an IT guy, so I enjoy some of that…but certainly can’t do a bunch of programming, but I think this gives me the best option for everything I want to do.


(Tim Slagle) #8

What other platform has more “offically” supported devices than STs? If you are talking “officially” supported then STs wins by a mile. For instance Vera, STs biggest competitor IMO, “officially” only supports zwave devices. STs supports many different zwave devices, many zigbee, hue, sonos, and many more in the pipeline(netatmo and plantlink). The rest comes from the community, which in my opinion beats Vera out of the water.

The people on the Vera community are very condesending and rude at best. Here there is a loving commonity that always helps each other, and we build our product up. Thats the hidden gem that is STs. Without the comunity STs wouldn’t have an edge.

@Billb1981 if you stay around and keep active in the community your option are almost limitless. As long as there is an open API for the device we can help you incorporate it into smartthings.

@scottinpollock also developed an awesome app that will allow you to run scripts from your MAC. Further extending the awesomeness that is STs. The beauty of the community is when we see a hole, we fill it.

Pretty awesome in my opinion :smile:


(Alex) #9

Amen to that! This was a determining factor for me as well.


(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #10

Sorry, but my feelings are that much of SmartThings is iffy at best. As a big Hue user, SmartThings integration sucks (and is just barey there). Until just recently, you couldn’t even add a light. I understand it’s beta, but the whole thing feels like beta.

Locks, and countless other integrations are incomplete at best. And don’t get me started on the stuff that should work, but doesn’t (polling for instance). And an app that can’t even present itself, as is, in landscape view.

I understand the Vera community has been around a lot longer, and with a lot of jaded members at this point. And they seem to be in trouble for now, so I didn’t go there. But the fact is that it is a much more mature ecosystem… as is insteon currently.

Is SmartThings best… I made that decision to go with it so maybe it is for me (although in its current state it required a lot of workarounds from me to be useful - and a LOT of my time). It certainly can be for others as well, but I can see a bunch of folks being frustrated with it who don’t have the time or interest to make this their hobby. Will it get better, probably. Worse? Possibly, especially if samdung takes the helm.

While I love Zigbee, it is unfortunate most OEMs go with Z-Wave, and because of that, not having support for it is not a deal breaker for most folks. We’ll soon see more BT devices than Zigbee, and SmartThings won’t do that.

While I am not purposely trying to rag on SmartThings, I think it is important to keep both the good and the bad in perspective when someone comes on board and asks “is this for me?” It is if you want to tinker, and struggle with it due to seriously lacking documentation. And it “might be” for those that just want to use it out of the box, provided they have pretty simple needs as what can be done with it in this way is pretty rigid.

For folks in the middle… tough call. There is lots of promise if you’re patient. The design is clever, but it is akin to buying a computer with a new OS… it may be a better design, but there is not a lot you can do with it yet unless you want to program it yourself. But it may get a whole lot better (think Macintosh now-a-days), or a whole lot worse (think Macintosh - in the early 90’s).

Anyway, enough said. Be prepared to dive in whole hog from the very start, then you’ll have a full month to decide if it is for you.


(Bill) #11

Appreciate the input! Lots of good stuff here. I think a lot of the simple things I want are installing in dimmers and switches for lights, but also have the ability to run alarms, check my door locks etc, this seems like it has it all. And the big selling point for me is the community of folks just looking to help out.

I appreciate everyone’s input on this!


(Brian Steere) #12

I’m confused by this. What would be a deal breaker? ST does both Z-Wave and Zigbee.


(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #13

Tim mentioned that Vera did not do Zigbee. I don’t think Universal Devices is ready for it either (although they do have a dongle for it).


(Edward Pope) #14

Coming from an old x-10 and then Insteon system. I can tell you that SmartThings to me is worlds better. I am technical enough that I can look and create a SmartApp that will do any special needs. But, so far, I am finding few special needs for the house. I am still learning though, and am looking forward to the next upgrades that will be coming out.

Alao, it is looking to me that Thread (Google) will very likely be the next IOT wireless standard. Given that there mandate is to work with the current standards and add an additional layer that will make the process of adding a device easier, supporting TCP./IP V6, and improving battery life all while working with the current standards. And they are saying that it should only require a firmware update to existing controllers (Hubs).

I for one am excited about our new internet overlords :smile:


(Tim Slagle) #15

Have you actually used vera/insteon. Insteon is GARBAGE, end of story. Insteon is absolutely the worst home automation system that anyone has ever thought of. Talk about ZERO documentation!!! Talk about limited devices? If it doesn’t communicate on insteon’s proprietary protocol good bye :smile:… Personally i think you should buy all these systems and actually use them. Then you will see the God send that STs is.

You’re constantly on the forums dogging STs… yet you’re still here. So I see that as a win for STs… if you could find a better platform you would of went to them already. So until you find a better solution and platform, stop taking away from the amazing community we have and ADD value not take it away.

Keep sharing your awesome HAM stuff and other awesome things I think you’ll end up providing to the community! Love what I’ve seen from you so far!!!


(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #16

I am not dogging anybody. My criticism is honest and accurate. I regret that you feel it is out of place, but I stand by my previous comments.

BTW… I came to SmartThings from insteon, or more accurately, I have added SmartThings to insteon (or vice versa depending on how you look at it). HAMBridge was originally built to interface with insteon from other apps. There are some very good controllers for insteon, including Indigo and Universal Devices (and they are doing zwave as well).

And while I never purchased a Vera, I hung out for weeks in the forums before settling on SmartThings, so I believe I have a pretty decent perspective on the platform.

I decided on SmartThings, primarily for the open design, but there are still a lot of rough edges that I think are worth pointing out when someone asks.