Smart? Really?

Smart seems such a misused word. Smart Homes, Smart Motorways, SmartThings. Lost my internet connection for just over 24 hours due to a line fault. During that time absolutely no wi-fi control of SmartThings. My internal LAN and WiFi network was OK but just not internet. I had full control over devices that were not SmartThings - Hue, my central heating etc. But not SmartThings. Some automations worked, many didn’t. Curtains didn’t close or open. I have led lights on each step leading up to the front door. The SmartThings plug is outside in a sealed water proof container. The lights came on but I could not turn them off until the internet was restored. Smart? Really?

This has been a longtime issue with SmartThings: the original architecture was highly cloud-dependent. :disappointed_relieved:

As you note, it definitely doesn’t have to be. Many other systems, including Vera, Apple’s HomeKit, Homeseer and Hubitat run without the Internet after initial setup except for voice commands and some third party integrations. (In fact, Hubitat was founded by former SmartThings users who wanted more local operation.) You may have to use the Internet for some initial setup with these systems, but once a routine is up and running, that will continue even if you lose your internet connection. In the case of HomeKit, even its app still works as long as your phone/tablet is on the same local WiFi as your devices. :sunglasses:

The very good news in this regard is that SmartThings is at this very moment nearing the end of a multi year project to a new architecture which will be much less cloud-dependent. I don’t know about the app, but devices and routines will continue to operate if your internet goes out. Much of it has been in a public developer beta for a few months, so it’s real, if not yet complete: there are community members using and writing about it, and you can try it yourself if you want, although it’s still glitchy.

So the trajectory is good to resolve this, although we don’t have an exact timeline and we don’t know all the details yet, like if the app will still require an active internet connection. Make no assumptions. But at least SmartThings is clearly aware of the issue you ran into and is actively working on improving it.

So you have a choice. Move now to one of the competitors which already has local processing or wait for ST to complete their transition.

Here are some official announcements on the project. The topic title is a clickable link.



Thank you JDRoberts. I have had so called smart systems for getting on for 30 years starting with X10. In my experience they always have had issues. When these things are first rushed to market, I get the impression that the underlying architecture hasn’t really been properly thought through. Often it has been “look how clever this is, you can turn the lights on and off from your mobile” And then they have to begin rethinking what they mean by Scenes, Rooms, Timers, Rules and so on. But maybe one day the world will be perfect!

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Perfect is a long way off, but I think Better is definitely coming soon. :sunglasses:

Meanwhile, you might also want to think about a Plan B for that sealed plug. :thinking:

All devices fail at some point. The hub itself might die, the plug might fail: you’ll want a way to turn those lights on and off it that happens.

  1. There are lots of removeable waterproof covers available at home improvement stores for outdoor plugs, some quite inexpensive, that might give you more options. Here’s just one example:
  1. Or you can go with a smart plug which is itself rated for outdoor use. There are several available with somewhat different features. Right now the zwave single outlet model is local with SmartThings:

I personally use the Meross which is local with HomeKit, cloud based with ST, so I can control it with HomeKit if the Internet goes out. It has 3 independently controlled outlets, is ETL safety certified, and as a WiFi device has better range. All for less money than the zwave option. But not local with ST.

  1. the other option would be to add a switch inside the house for that circuit branch. That requires wiring, of course, but could be an option if you live in an area with frequent strong storms or somewhere else where the other options won’t work for you.

Just a thought…

Thanks for that JDRoberts

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