Samsung’s SmartThings Home Automation Platform Is So Unreliable, They Should Stop Selling It

DISCLAIMER. This article doesn’t reflect my opinion on ST, so don’t shoot the messenger! Just sharing an article so people can comment on it.

I was flipping through the Flipboard tech news this morning, and one of the articles was this blog post, which states:

“Months ago, after complaning on Twitter to the CEO of SmartThings, he had someone from support call me, and since then, I’ve had three different calls with support. And yet still, the lights don’t turn on and off correctly. On each support call, they have acknowledged that something on their end isn’t working right, and they’ve never fixed it. I’ve been told that the issues I have are due to some “platform issues” as well as “outages” and that sometimes “devices act up.” After they think they have fixed it, they have emailed me to say that “things should be considerably smoother now than the last week or so,” except they aren’t.”

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I am in the Uk and I have an outstanding ticket with support due to the known bug where routines not firing. I was emailed by Uk support on Monday last week informing that the paltform had been uopdated and that things should be working now. The day after the same support person emailed me to say that his routines had not been firing properly so there was still a problem that the engineers were trying to fix.I replied telling hime that none of my timed routines were working. This morning I have also been experiencing phantom reports from my lounge motion sensor which has been triggering my alarm. Yet the Smartthings site states that officially that there are no know issues with it’s service. This is a lie, as they are clearly aware of timed routines not working. I would respectfully suggest that they stop spending time adding new features to the broken platform and plough all their efforts into getting this product, which is NOT FIT FOR PURPIOSE, fixed ASAP. Had I known that the paltform had so many issues I would never have invested in it. Unless they fulfill their responsablities and deliver their users a reliable product as advertised, they ought to do the right thing and offer any unhappy customers a full refund. That would be the SMARTTHING to do!!!

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“Making the problem worse, SmartThings, which is owned by Samsung,
doesn’t even have a support number you can call for help. All support is
done in a chat window, which makes the support process very cumbersome.”

Weird. Support has an email address. Which opens a ticket. Which (eventually) leads to someone actually responding.

I get that everyone is ready for HA to work like toasters work. But I think it’s unrealistic at this time. Sure, Smartthings has had more issues lately than I’d like, but for the most part my 70+ devices and 20+ automation apps work far far more often than not - clearly more often than this guy’s three lights on a timer.

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Mine is still working great. No issues for a while.

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Two months and counting with no major hiccups. This morning my alarm didn’t disable when the morning routine ran. And what do you know, was IFTTT recipe that failed. Very promising times! @slagle & team, keep up the good efforts! Thank you guys…

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Odd–there were two major outages in the last two weeks. (One even made the Status page.)

First, all notifications failed for several hours. It’s possible that only affected iOS devices.

Then about a week later on January 12 routines failed, local devices failed, and integrations with third party services like IFTTT and Echo failed. (That’s the one that made the status page.)

http://status.smartthings.com

I know you use IFTTT: you were unaffected?

I have so many things not working that I’m just in a holding pattern so to speak. I’m still looking for that tipping point where things start getting better. Once there I will jump back in.

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Ha! For once poltergeist decided to skip me. I haven’t had one hiccup with my local processing. Routine didn’t fire, but I don’t rely on them anymore. Modes didn’t change properly, but I barely use them nowadays. IFTTT recipes are a hit and miss, but they mostly change my Abode security and blink some lights when things happen, neither one critical. I am using ST for lights and climate control. It is not nearly what I started using it for, but at least is not making me pull my hair out as to why my door unlocked or garage door opened.

The instability of the ST backend is so flaky, I have removed any critical HA processing and switched it to RaspberryPI where I can connect to items, like Vista Alarm, Liftmaster Garage, Sonos, Ecobee.

SmartThings, in my house, has been reduced to performing as a blue nightlight each time the ST goes down.

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I have been using ST for a few months and not a week goes by without an issue. The most recent is that the alarm will trigger even when disarmed. At this point, I have no control over any devices at all and am waiting on a reply from support. I imagine the solution will involve a hard reset of the hub.

It would be ok if it was just lights, but when it is your home alarm, stability becomes paramount.

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I had to reset some routines last night and my Pollsters this morning. Not the end of the world, but an annoyance. It’s the only thing I can’t write a rule, or use some method to fix. Wish there was an app that could reset an app. :smile:

I’m no expert and haven’t thought about this too much but my questions are, if they stop production of this “system” then what? We switch to what? Other systems with less penetration and vague stories of how wonderful they are? I have friends with very expensive Control 4 systems and they are impossible, and very expensive, to update properly and malfunction all the time. And they don’t have the ability to walk around the house just speaking to the ether ordering this or that thing open that door or turn on my patio lights or a hundred other things. I’m talking about my Amazon Echo BTW which is a possibly underrated gamechanger. Didn’t Wink have to temporarily cease sales due to issues? I think some of us are dismissive of what’s going on here. It’s not that simple. I’m not pollyanna about it. Yeah, maybe things could be done better. I believe they will be. I think manufacturers trying to maintain proprietary systems while still playing nice with other systems is a big part of the problem. No true standards. I like having this stuff to experiment and play with and in the few weeks I’ve had it I’ve successfully integrated it into and improved my life. No, I wouldn’t try and control a life critical medical device with Smartthings but yeah, I’ll let it open my garage and turn on my kitchen lights in the morning, and play music or read me a book. If perfection is demanded, the next issue will be “I can’t believe my system cost $25k for my little house!” Sorry for being long winded. It’s sometimes my nature.

It’s one of those “the devil you know” things.

A good deal of people here have come from other systems which are similar, and even if they’re more reliable they lack the customization or community-provided features that ST has.

And yes, there are systems out there that are rock solid, but they achieve this by removing all of the variables and providing specifically x, y and z, and nothing more. And even then, they cost thousands of dollars per room to achieve this level of reliability.

I personally wouldn’t mind paying more, but I certainly don’t want to pay that much more. :smile:

I had left SmartThings about a year ago as the scheduler just doesn’t work and I cannot trust it. (Dark houses in our ‘transitional’ neighborhood are often targeted for smash-and-grab break-ins). I used a Wink controller for this time and recently dropped Wink as it is a nightmare if you replace your WiFi access point (reset to factory defaults and then re-add all my Z-Wave/Wemo/etc devices).

I gave SmartThings a second chance as they had a big update. It worked well for 2 weeks- and only about 30% of my schedules are now working. I was considering the new hub, but I understand it still needs an Internet connection.(I assume Samsung hopes to offer ‘premium’ cloud services in the future).

At this point, I don’t think I will ever buy another SmartThings device.

I am considering going back to a Mi Case Verde device (with a miserable UI) as most of my devices are z-wave and I would prefer reliability over all the stuff they keep dumping into SmartThigns. Has anyone else in this tread left SmartThings for greener pastures? If so, any feedback? (I am considering the RPi idea from kurtsanders).

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Every System has pluses and minuses and different ones will work for different people. The following thread discusses alternatives:

I use to cut SmartThings a break, but it has been over a year since their problematic issues that make using this system for critical operations as reliable as a politician.

My other free (no monthly) automated systems (e.g. Ecobee, Sonos, Eyeon, Alarmdecoder, Craftsman, Closeli, etc) perform reliably.

I can only wait and cross my fingers that their ship is pumping out water faster than they are taking it on.

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I appears that Captain Ben got off the V2 before they started calling for “Women and children first”…He’s sailing all alone except for the his faithful flying companion, ironically named “Unreliable Ursa” who only flies in circles!

Ben is still fighting hard for everyone here. As are @jody.albritton and myself.

Reliability is the number one priority right now.

Meanwhile lets keep this conversation civil. Alluding that someone would save themselves before women and children is not cool. Regardless of which side of the fence you lie on.

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You’re right!

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SmartThings is pretty bad. The worst part is their support. Tickets never get a response, dev features that are intrinsic are ignored… heck, I can’t even reach the IDE right now.

But it also was $99. In my case, replacing a HomeSeer installation where the software alone was around three times that, and still required the interfaces to ZWave and Zigbee (each more than half as much as the ST hub), and didn’t come with SMS notifications.

So I am annoyed at SmartThings, but I temper that with the ease-of-use (when it works) and cost of ST. Perhaps it should die - they’re certainly killing it currently - but it really wouldn’t take much to fix it…

Reduce reliance on their cloud servers, which should help with reliability
Figure out why it’s so unreliable and fix it
Add a few support people

Samsung had the ST display in the middle of their display at CES, but nobody there knew, well, anything about it. And nothing new or ground breaking. The rep did suggest a display at the Sands, which I didn’t catch. But at least Samsung isn’t treating ST as last year’s news.

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