Reliability issues with SmartThings


(DanG) #1

I am at the end of my rope with SmartThings. For almost a year now there seems to be a steady decline and this February has been the worst that I have ever experienced. The Smart App is slow to load or total failure all together. If I am lucky to get the app to launch sometimes I am unable to control devices, or devices showing the incorrect status. Then there is the whole problem of triggered events slow or not working. I have a garage door randomly opening. I have certain lights coming on by themselves. I also have phantom push notifications showing motion but looking at the logs there was no motion. I have been working with support for months and we pretty much decided to give up. They say they don’t see any problems and I am frustrated standing here knowing there is. Now today I left the home and SmartThings changed my mode to Away, turning off several lights and space heaters, at least that is what it has done in the past. Today it failed. I come home finding none of the lights were turned out and a room at 93 degrees.

I know some people here are going to say check this, check that or its your internet connection or something else, blah, blah, blah. The same thing support tells me to do and every time there are no issues on my end. My SmartThings configuration has been the same for months. I have a rock solid internet connection and yet these problems just go on and on and progressively getting worse. This month alone I received 11 messages from SmartThings reporting problems and these were just the bad ones. All the dozens of other times where the service was glitchy for a minute, or 10 never show up as problems, but they are. It seems that about 1 out of 10 times I try and open the app to control something, I can’t. I am left to crawl around furniture to get to the physical device to turn it on or off.

I refuse to believe it is my problem anymore. If I have the same configuration, and everything works one day but not the next, how can it be my problem when I can verify my internet connection is not the cause?

Sorry to lay all this out here. I don’t expect anyone here to fix it, you can’t. I don’t even think the people at SmartThings can fix it. They say they can’t fix what isn’t broken and that would be true, except it is broken.

I guess what I am trying to find out, is it just me? Am I the only one with all these problems?

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read my rant.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #2

I know the Forum convention is just to hit the :heartpulse: “Like” button, but that definitely doesn’t seem appropriate response to your unfortunate experience.

My environment has been relatively stable compared to what you describe, but I have limited the features I use due to the small problems I have experienced and the larger ones I read here.

I don’t think ST will or can deny that product / platform has significant growing pains… Or, perhaps we are pushing the limits of its current maturity level, or we have incorrect expectations, configuration, etc.

If someone is in a rush to get their home “automated”, ST may not be advisable at this time, it seems, but the alternatives are also rare, less featured and/or more immature.

The situation can change quickly, however. Hub V2.0 will be a leap in improvement. The hiring ST is doing could result in sudden fixes of long outstanding issue as these people ramp into their roles. We have less visibility into the competitors.

I can only suggest patience, I guess. If something doesn’t work acceptably now, then try to live without that feature until it is firmly fixed, rather than experiencing continued frustration.

This stuff is supposed to be fun! :wink:


(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #3

I agree with pretty much everything that you have said. It is pretty evident that SmartThings is powerless to fix the traffic born issues they currently find themselves in.

And considering their demonstrated incompetence with this platform, it is hard to imagine the V2 hardware being any better. I keep saying I will wait for V2 before jumping ship, but it better be a pretty damn attractive offer that works awfully well.


#4

There are at least 2 good alternatives right now in terms of stability and feature set, but both are much much more expensive than SmartThings. And neither are perfect. So I’m still waiting to make an all-in commitment. But SmartThings is solving a couple of important convenience issue use cases for me, at a very reasonable cost, so it’s the best choice for me right now.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #5

Namely??

We’re all friends here, so mentioning the competition isn’t a bad thing… Especially if the pricing puts this into perspective, and also knowing that you are holding on for a while…


(Beckwith) #6

I’ve been keeping my eye on Fibaro which Vesternet is supposed to have available mid March:

http://www.vesternet.com/us/z-wave-fibaro-home-center-2-system-us

I too, don’t see V2 as the savior but instead has pushed the hump SmartThings must get over further out.


#7

Insteon and Control4.

Neither is perfect, both have some missing features, both are closed systems, and not intended for people writing their own code.

Insteon has a reputation for being old technology but in the last year they’ve made major commitments to staying current, including Cortana voice control and the upcoming Homekit bridge.

For typical HA use cases and stability, both offer most of the features people want. But you’ll pay $200/hour for a tech to work on that closed system.

So when I say “much much more expensive,” I mean it.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #8

That’s what I guessed.

I don’t even consider those products to be in the same market as SmartThings. Way different price point, and much less open, make it a different segment.

If folks expect comparable quality from ST in the short term, that’s like buying a Prius and expecting a Tesla.


(Mike Swanson) #9

Just know that you’re not alone, and ST needs to get their poop in a group.


(DLee) #10

I think we all experience and understand your frustration. Every week I find myself troubleshooting one thing or another for at least an hour or two. I enjoy some of it as a an ongoing geek hobby, yet often frustrated by the unpredictable nature of the instability and unexplained failed or false happenings. We’re basically experiencing the alpha phase of home automation.

My advice to friends and family has become to check back in 2 years or so if you want a low maintenance do-it-all home automation solution. It’s too time consuming for main stream users right now. Meanwhile, we’ll keep fixing stuff and trying to make it work. I find all the troubleshooting and fixing it kind of fun and relaxing when I’m on vacation or happen to have the spare time.


(Michael Langkilde) #11

My frustration as of late it getting devices setup with smartapps and like others previous have stated work one day and the next it does not work. I can turn on and off the devices that the smartapps affect but the smart apps don’t seem to be executing on some devices. It is quite frustrating. Especially when I am trying to do things to get the wife happy with what I am doing but all it is doing it making it easier and easier for her to complain and laugh at me for saying it will work and do certain things but then when I show her and things are suppose to happen how I set them up, … they don’t. It has gotten worse since the beginning of this year. I am trying to promote ST to friends and family but with the inconsistency I just get mocked, lol. Not a good selling point if things don’t work as they are set up to do.


(Bruce) #12

@April, This thread should be sent to @Alex. He showed up here just before CES “facing the music” for a brief time. He made lots of nice sounding promises, here and at CES. It’s gotten much worse since then. @Alex, when is your company going to get its act together? Daily fails of basic functionality is killing us, and will kill your business too. DAILY FAILS OF BASIC FUNCTIONALITY.


(Keith Croshaw) #13

I too feel as if I’m weathering the storm. I also love that I can write my own smartapps…

Some things work like clockwork every single time, somethings fail when I’m not paying attention, but I shouldn’t have to pay attention, hence home automation.

Also I feel like the “works with SmartThings” branding gets used too much. I feel like all of my WeMo’s should fall under the Alpha category as they fail for a few weeks then work for a few weeks…

It’s a difficult situation for all parties involved. I can only hope that things improve and maybe get better with the next hub.


(DanG) #14

I truly want SmartThings to succeed. There is nothing like it anywhere and has so much potential. I guess that is why I am so upset because I know what it can be. If they can just make the platform stable. Make sure the basic things of turning on/off switches work. Improve the app. (Because I can’t trust the platform to do what it is supposed to do, I need the app to check up on it. (TODAY IT ONLY TOOK 90 SECONDS TO LOAD!) I was in a strong signal area and checked my browser and it loaded web pages within seconds. Every day it is something. I dream of the days in past where there was a hiccup once a month.


#15

Agreed, this year has been horrible for stability. All I get from support is, it doesn’t look like there was an outage then. Maybe that trigger was at a high traffic time, really? This morning was the first time in at least a week that everything worked as it was suppose to. Dashboard loaded in under 10 seconds and my time scheduled and auto triggers worked. I hope hub V2 will fix the big issues around here, but if not that’ll be it for me.


(Michael Spector) #16

I’m with you on this. I came to Smartthings as a complete novice. I was a very frequent visitor to this community. Automated some cool things in my house, then the stability issues came and Smartthings seemed to have developed a mind of its own. I no longer spend much time with the system, now I have some nice automation stuff going on but not nearly to the level of expectation I had coming in. Here are a few of my issues:

  • I have an out side light that is supposed to switch off at 11 PM. There are no other Smartapps attached to the switch. At least a few times a week, I wake up to the light still on outside.
  • I have 2 GE Bulbs that break from the hub about once every 7-10 days and need to be reset, they are on a high lofted ceiling so it’s not convenient to reset.
    -The Obymusic app which controls Itunes, provides weather updates, and provides door chimes needs to be reset about every 2 weeks.
  • I have a light that is triggered by a motion sensor to turn on a bathroom light. It is supposed to turn off in 3 minutes. It almost never shuts off until about 6 minutes.
  • I gave up on the presence sensor about the first week I got Smartthings because early on I realized that they never read correctly and while I was in the house they would trigger events as if I just arrived.
  • Occassionally, my thermostat will turn to a setting on the App called Emergency Heat, I still don’t know what that means.
  • To manually change the thermostat temperature through the app, responses are often delayed or when I push the arrow it takes about 10 seconds for the app to respond to each arrow push.
  • My door lock seems to have a mind of its own, but I am not sure if this is the lock or Smartthings.
    -This is not all but a few of my issues. perhaps the worst of all is that the App which is such an important interface is not intuitive at all. It should be so much easier to program events and scenes. A user should be able to pick up the App and start using it. That interface is so important for a basic novice user.

I saw this with so much potential and it has been a major disappointment. On one real positive not, my Christmas lights were timed and worked perfectly this year through Smartthings, but there a much cheaper solutions if my purpose is to control Christmas lights.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #17

As I was reading you post, I was thinking … gee, what does work … and, well, you gave at least one example, thanks!

My list of what “works” is definitely longer than what “doesn’t work” … but that’s because I don’t count features I’m not using.

That’s why I keep asking / hoping for a comprehensive, full disclosure, published “known issues list” (from SmartThings), so that a newcomer to the product will have managed expectations.


(Michael Spector) #18

Yes you are right there are things that work but the few that don’t seem to outweigh the positives. Outside of the lag when I manually change the thermostat, the dual thermostats in my house work really well especially as I have it adjusting to the sunrise and sunset, lights coming on with motion is great especially when I arrive home, and the garage door works like a charm. I like having my thermostats driven by my motion sensor temperature rather than the thermostat, and being able to add switches around my house to add new scenes is also cool. I also have a Mimolite tied to my alarm system that works everytime I test it but I am afraid to use it for security purposes due to the lag that seems to occur sometimes. I have a schematic of so many projects I wanted to do with ST, but I seemed to always be troubleshooting instead.


(Michael Spector) #20

No the negatives have caused me to lose interest and outweigh the positives… I had some grand ambitions but my interest had waned. As an example, my GE Bulbs are on recessed ceiling about 20 feet high. As great as the thermostat is which is my favorite control, it can’t outweigh every 2 weeks having to reset the bulbs. I have to get a long extension pole stand on a chair and take to lights out, put the m back in and go through the reset process. It was my mistake though, chose the lights as opposed to a controlling at the switch so I could control the lights independently. I have too much invested so I will probably come back to it but I have been on about a 3 month break.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #21

Yup… that’s a tough situation. And, though I know it is “just an example”, as a problem solver whenever I see a description of one specific problem it is sad to hear that it impacts your overall impression of the product.

I run my GE Link bulbs through my Hue Bridge to SmartThings. Haven’t had to do any sort of reset at all, BTW.