SmartThings Current State is Stalled?

Smartthings costs $99. And in this case you get what you pay for. It really isn’t any more complicated than that.

There are excellent home automation systems out there that cost around $10,000 a room. Or even $15,000 if you’re including a lot of AV equipment.

There are old technology systems designed specifically for people in wheelchairs that work OK and are very stable, they cost about $8,000 for one room.

SmartThings is trying to solve all home automation problems for people whose budget is about $400 a room (and they’re going to complain about that cost). It’s a different world. A lot of the features will be limited, and we all know the stability isn’t there yet; it is what it is.

Harmony is a good fit for that specific niche market. With minimal cost, you can add AV controls into your low-cost home automation system. Of course it’s nowhere near the quality or complexity of a control 4 system. It’s a $99 solution. And again, you get what you pay for. But it’s still a good fit for that particular niche.

there are a lot of HA alternatives, each with their own pluses and minuses.

I don’t judge SmartThings for what it isn’t, which is to say I don’t compare it against a control 4 or crestron system. I don’t even compare it against a programming platform.

But I do expect it to meet consumer-ready mass market standards for usability and reliability. Which is to say, I expect it to be about as reliable as a Logitech Harmony or a Phillips hue bridge or a Lutron SmartBridge. Because when I look at a low-end tech product, that’s what I expect from a value brand. That it should do what it does reliably.

The CTO for SmartThings once said that he wanted to get to the point where SmartThings was the last piece you considered if a light wasn’t working at home. I think that’s a perfectly reasonable goal for a low-end home automation system. It might have limited features, it might have limited versatility, but once it’s set up it should just work. That’s the bit I’m still waiting for from SmartThings.

If you want to be able to do heavy duty local programming, then SmartThings is not going to be the best match for your needs. Nothing wrong with that. That’s not how it’s marketed, and it’s not what it delivers.


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