SmartThings starting to feel like Homeseer?

I’m migrating from Wink which is a very user friendly (albeit limited app).
I understand that with additional features comes added complexity, but…
When I want to add a device that the community has developed support for (like a Quirky Tripper), I shouldn’t have to go to my PC and cut and paste code (after many searches trying to figure out how to do so). There should be a “device marketplace” of sorts where I can go add device support to my account. Then when that device support is updated, it sync’s and my code is updated. This flexibility of having user development is what makes ST a great platform… too bad the execution is lacking.

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You could write a book of things that “should be” happening with ST, but aren’t. It is what it is…

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Yes, it’s complex, but unnecessarily so. Any HA system, ST included, has only a few basic hardware components: sensors (temp, switch closure, etc.) and actuators (lights, outlet, pump. lock, etc.). The complex inter-relationships you mention are the source of the problem, not an irreducible complexity.

If ST exposed those basics directly, with rules, so you could directly say “When minimote switch 1 pressed, turn on bedroom lights 1 and 2 to 50%”, with a screen to list all your current rules, most of the current UI complexity would evaporate. Even more complex relations like "When is present AND it’s after AND , turn on <bedroom light 1> to <50%> AND turn on <bedroom light 2> to <35%> AND play " would be possible and not the jump-off-a-cliff-and-learn-groovy that they are now. Custom groovy programs would be reduced to custom conditions (“it’s after sunset”) and actions (“play music”); everything else is just standard device control and logic ops (AND/OR).

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SmartThings needs to take the Samsung wealth and hire a couple of professional automation integrators and put them in charge of programming and UI.

There are people out there that have DECADES of experience in it with the absolute pickiest and whiniest people on the planet, Millionaires and Billionaires. These professional HA integrators know WAY more about how this stuff has to work than anyone else out there. and it would be a huge jump in getting ST to where it needs to be. Reliable and easy to use for the newbies and general public, powerful and configurable for us tinkering types that like to muck about in the backend.

Honestly ST needs TWO apps for the phone platforms, Easy and PRO. and the tinkering types that gain access to the API need to understand that if they break it, it sucks to be them and the forums are the only source of tech support. That will solve profitability issues as well taking a huge load off of tech support.

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I went to rule builder as well. This makes Smart Things work as it should. Period.

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All of this has been implemented in Rule Machine and Trigger Happy!

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barvenel…

I think that is great…but guess what Rules Machine does not do? Run locally.

So now we have a solid rules engine…depending on a shaky cloud. Who the heck builds a foundation on a cloud? That’s why V2 was supposed to be so darn great.

Now get your rule machine running locally and we got something I we can build on.

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This is not up to me, it is up to SmartThings to decide. I created Rule Machine so that users of SmartThings could create automations without special skills or writing code. Obviously, you and I can agree that Rule Machine should run locally on a V2 hub. As things stand at the moment, this is not a priority for SmartThings. So we are left with this ridiculous foundation built on a cloud that is unreliable at best.

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Oh I know its not your choice…I should have said “Now if THEY get your Rule Machine running locally…”

I just think ST has a lot more deliverables that they currently have ranked above “stable system” due to their purchase. And instead of taking an easy out and using your content on their hardware, they are trying to keep the same mindset they did when they set ST up…their unique names, unique layouts, etc etc regardless of the fact their users are getting hosed.

Did you see the last email from the forum? I laughed out loud as half the active topics are about leaving ST or how it is not dependable. That’s just sad.

As a software designer myself I have to totally agree. ST should hire a good UI designer and have the programming team implement it. This doesn’t mean the platform can’t still be just as powerful but the out of box experience should be very easy to use.

In the mean time I think if ST added the concept of rules it could make things much easier. Routines and SmartApps would register rules. (Routines could just be an SmartApp) All the rules in the system could slow up in a list where Routines is today. Things, like a light bulb’ would have rules attached to them rather than showing SmartApps. If you looked at a rule it could could tell you what SmartApp installed it.

Personally I also think SmartApps should just be called Apps. All code is ‘smart’, it is meaningless.

So I would propose the following tweak to the ST app:

My Home

  • Things
  • Rooms
  • People

Automation

  • Rules
  • Apps

Not sure if MarketPlace is needed at all… At a minimum SmartApps should be removed since you don’t have to buy them.

When you run an App it adds Rules. All these rules show up under ‘Rules’ under Automation. Rules related to a specific device also show up in the devices page (what currently shows smartapps)

I really think ST needs to add support for groups and scenes but I will leave that for another debate…

I think the UI is fixable without too much work. But they need someone who is good at UIs…

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There is nothing out there that compares though…everything on the market is a lot more reliable but smartthings supports many more protocols. zwave, zigbee, wifi, bluetooth(probably after I die). So for the price, it is a great investment into the future. Try to price out a zwave stick, 50 bucks. zigbee ha stick, 50 at least. So those 2 protocols pay for themselves, since i assume Samsung subsidizes it. Point is, we lose reliability for expandability and futureproofness, which I can personally deal with. Though I do not have my siren turned on because, what am I stupid? :smiley: so reliable? Heck no but fun? mostly :wink:

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I have now tried SmartThings, Zipato Zipabox, Vera, OpenHab, HomeGenie, HomeAssistant & HomeSeer HS3

Now for the things i have learnt, for the £100 - £200 solution SmartThings IMHO is really the best solution, and through me using the other solutions Smartthings has remained (for the few Zigbee and also for my Tado Integration) but all of the non smarthings solutions bar one have had reliability & usability issues. I am a relatively new user of HomeSeer HS3. and allthough the UI looks dated it is incredibly usable and the reliability is like nothing i have ever experienced. and all zwave actions are lightning quick. and the HSTouch Capability that i am still working on is just awesome.

at $599 dollars (I did get 25% off that price) it is though very expensive. and you will most likely pay another $150 at least in plugins it is has been a price worth paying as my family all wanted me to rip out all the Home automation stuff as it was unreliable. however since using Homeseer not a peep

but even in this solution SmartThings is still a part of the overall solution, but it remains a small part.

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I wouldn’t say “everything” is more reliable - Wink certainly isn’t, which is particularly embarrassing given the comparatively limited ecosystem it (Wink) has. :smiley: Wink also supports more protocols than ST.

I know this thread is old, but I’ll make a few comments and observations regarding the HA market as I see it. To give some background, I have both ST (user since the v2 release in August/September 2015) and Wink (since November 2014). ST has been pretty reliable for me and I really enjoy using it and eagerly check these forums every day for new ideas. Wink was pretty reliable for me up until last November, where it took a nosedive. I did buy a Wink 2, but only because I got it very cheap and I liked the direction Wink was going. However, I (wisely) never opened it and due to more of the usual from Wink (“Exciting things are around the corner!” and nothing ever happens), I plan on selling it.

With all of that being said, I do think ST is probably too complicated for the average person to use, even those who have some degree of technical acumen. IMO, you really have to use the IDE and community code to get the most from the platform. On the other side of the spectrum, you have Wink, which was designed with the premise of being so simple that anyone could use it and to further that goal and allegedly increase reliability, it is a closed system. The problem with Wink’s model is that if you go that route, you’d better have insane reliability AND you better have a good device ecosystem available. Wink has failed miserably on both counts and to be honest, I’ll be somewhat shocked if they’re alive in a year. They just don’t get it and the Flex acquisition has seemingly done nothing on the surface - they still lack device support, they still don’t have the degree of reliability you’d expect from such a limited ecosystem, and they are still apparently clinging to the notion that companies should pay them to certify their devices for use with Wink. Obviously, given the lack of devices, companies are telling them to get lost.

With that being said, ST has its own issues and as a company, I wouldn’t put them that far above Wink. I’m somewhat disturbed by Alex disappearing from the forums and not providing regular updates. I can understand he might be very busy, but you’d think he could appoint someone to provide the updates. I’m disturbed that there is no real way to back up a hub so if it dies, you can move your devices to a new hub with relative ease. I’ve been moving stuff off Wink and onto ST, but sometimes I wonder if that is such a wise move - maybe I should keep some devices on Wink so if one hub or the other fails, I’ll still have SOME working devices. There are just a lot of things like that that make me wonder what the designers were thinking when they built the system. Hopefully, if there is going to be a v3 (and I’m doubtful at this stage), they’ll have a working migration AND backup tool.

Anyway, I’ve babbled long enough. I don’t really know what is going on internally at ST, but I hope we hear something positive soon. The last major message, IIRC, was stuff that wasn’t going to happen (the migration tool, keeping legacy apps, etc) and that didn’t leave a happy impression for the community.

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That’s certainly relative. I’ve moved to a Wink2 hub. There is an outlet in my kitchen that I need to turn on at 3am during the week. SmartThings missed this event often. Often enough to provoke me to spend $100 on the Wink hub since ST support was clearly not going to resolve the cloud processing issues they’ve been plagued with. The Wink 2 hub has not missed an event once for me and I’ve significantly expanded my system since I am more confident that the items I add will actually work. SmartThings embrace of generic devices is great, but completely useless for the average consumer if it isn’t reliable. I can’t speak to the failings of the original Wink hub, but the Wink 2 has been flawless for me - and I realize that experience is quite local and limited.

I had high hopes for ST and there is no doubt that it has the capability to do a much greater number of things than its competitors, but until they resolve their cloud issues I won’t spend any more money with them. Hopefully V3, if they ever get that far, will offer local control of schedules and automation, as that is where they failed for me.

Here is the problem as I see it for ST: I’m able to play the github game, install, modify, and repair home electrical, and have quite a bit of network level experience for someone who doesn’t do this professionally. ST’s major failing isn’t its occasional technical knowledge requirements; the failing is its reliability. These threads are a common theme of “Gee, it isn’t working again…” There is no way JoeBob Average Consumer is going to pay for that. They will happily buy a competing brand, even if it is limited in options, so long as it works as advertised. ST has a major advantage in this market with the Samsung branding. It’s too bad it is so poorly executed.

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I think one of the issues with mass acceptance for the low price point Home automation systems is still that The experience varies so much from person to person.

We’ve had a Wink running since December 2015 and it hasn’t had one failure. But it’s only running eight devices: four smart bulbs and a few gocontrol sensors. My housemate set it up at a time of particular instability with SmartThings just so we would have motion controlled lighting in a couple of rooms. We haven’t added to it since we got it, And when we next added more use cases of the same type we used the Hue motion sensors because they have lower latency. But the wink system has been as reliable as it comes for us.

That doesn’t mean I question whether it’s been unreliable for anyone else over the same time period, I’m sure it has been–my point here is just the variability. A system which works great for one person may not work at all at another house. Some of that is physical architecture, some of it is device choice, some of it is configuration, and I’m sure some is pure luck.

I feel comfortable recommending the echo to anyone, and pretty comfortable recommending Phillips hue to people who are even mildly technical. And Lutron Caseta if they want light switches instead of smart bulbs and have a higher budget.

I feel comfortable recommending control 4 to anyone who is OK spendING a whole lot of money.

And I feel comfortable recommending HomeKit to anyone who already has an Apple Watch and who wants a smart lock and lights to come on based on Geo presence or time schedules. Although I usually recommend getting an echo as well.

Beyond that, I now tell anyone considering any of the low-cost DIY systems that they’ll just have to try it and see how it works for them. I just haven’t found a good way of predicting what the success will be for any individual person. Or the reliability.

It’s a strange time in the marketplace. A lot of mindshare, a lot of buzz, some high-quality aspirational systems, but in the under $5000 group, there’s still a lot of frustration whether a system is open or closed. It must drive the retailers crazy. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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To be honest, Wink generally was fine for me until last November, when they pushed out a bunch of updates to go with the Hub 2 launch. Since then, my Hub 1 drops offline and several of the sensors kept losing connectivity until I gave up and moved them over to ST. I bought the Wink 2 for a few different reasons but I had hoped we’d see some progress towards better device availability and capability, but we haven’t so that’s why I’m considering selling it. I got it very cheap and had considered using it just to speed up Lutron robots, but now I’m not so sure. It has been sitting boxed in my closet since the holidays and I keep debating whether I SHOULD sell it or give it a shot. I just can’t take Wink as a company seriously at this stage - not that I take SmartThings much more seriously, but since it is an open system, at least our community can add support for devices and new capabilities via SmartApps whereas with Wink, we unfortunately don’t have that option and clearly they’re in no hurry to add things.

You bring up a great point about lack of consistent experience. I recommended ST to a friend and he has a ton of issues with it, whereas I have very few (just an occasional miss on my scheduled garden light CoRE piston). I’ve never looked at his configuration or anything like that, but he is a pretty bright guy so I’m assuming that he has everything set up correctly but is just seeing weird issues. The same can be said about Wink - over the years, I’ve read a ton of horror stories about it, but outside of “The Winkening,” it was really solid for me until last November.

I still believe that Amazon and Apple (and possibly a Google solution as well) will be the players left standing at this end of the HA market at the end of the day. At least on the surface, Flex doesn’t seem too interested in expanding the Wink platform. The best scenario for Wink would’ve been to have Amazon acquire them - this could still happen in the future, but if it doesn’t, I just can’t see them surviving without a huge change to their business model. As for SmartThings, it doesn’t seem to me that Samsung really cares that much about them, but I could be wrong.

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I agree completely. Those who are defending this app and system… are in denial.

First, I am tech savvy and not afraid to program/code/build/ or tinker. I have built a CNC, coded many programs to achieve task that aren’t currently out.

I was sold on this system as a plug and play with easy setup. It says it all over the manual.“so easy anyone can do it”. While I’m not afraid to dig in and make things… I didn’t buy this for that purpose. If I wanted that, I would have bought another arduino.

The UX:
doesn’t make any sense… example, the notification sound setting is under my account… how does this begin to make sense when to get to “my account”, notifications is right above it. to what the OP said regarding marketplace… this threw me off quite a bit… a definition of marketplace (the arena of competitive or commercial dealings; the world of trade)

The UI:
fairly clean, but cluttered, clunky, and convoluted. I can’t put my finger on it… but the experience has been horrible

bottom line… they need to get a UX and UI team to focus on the experience. the concept and hardware is great but the product (combination of hardware, experience, interface) is awful. If I didn’t understand tech, this would have already been boxed back up and shipped back. It still may make its way there.

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I have to agree. While I know, there are a lot of devices, a few hubs and multiple protocols the certification and testing process is less than prime-time ready across the board. If I want to add a new device, a lock as an example, I as a consumer can’t simply look at the marketing material, make a purchase and plug it in. While I don’t think it’s unreasonable to place a bit of a technical expectation on the end user it has to be no more than an iPhone or other consumer device. Unfortunately, I have to research the device and make some not so trivial decisions for a typical user – does it work with my specific hub? Does it have an API? Will I need to code something? Is coding even an option? Will I need to integrate with 3rd party services (IFTT, etc) to make this thing work the way I want?, etc…

When I do buy and integrate something and it goes wrong does it take down my entire home? (Looking at you Samsung TV) … and if it does how do I know and fix it? Can we expect a typical end-user to log into the IDE and start troubleshooting logs? No. While the SmartThings support team has been great over the last couple of months, seriously been impressed, that I’ve experienced a few issues they can’t scale a high-touch support model to house-hold name numbers.

AND as far as the backup… yeah… Not developing backup and restore capabilities should be as evil as kicking puppies and smacking kittens. Even the annoying ones. At-least once a quarter I’m cursing the inability to simply restore something and working feverishly to do so before the family gets home and starts yelling at me again. The lack of backup and restore will probably be what forces me to rip out everything and put it on E-Bay someday. Either I’ll just not have the energy to re-do everything yet again or the family will dig a hole and threaten to put my body in it… :slight_smile:

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SmartThings is just starting to pick up some market share in Canada. In my opinion it is a great solution for the general public and the more tech savvy home automation tinkerers. Those who have the time and inclination to tinker have a that ability in droves and the general public can get the basics. What I like about the platform is that it allows me as a professional installer to meet most of my clients compatibility and scripting needs in one box.

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3 years since I first wrote this! And I feel now that the answer is a definite “yes.”

It was bad enough having to explain that the “away” in smart home monitor is not the same as the “away” mode… But now we have to explain that the “smart home monitor” in the new app is a completely different smartapp than the one in the classic app-- they just happen to have the same name. :scream:

I understand the new app is pretty cool if you just want to control a Samsung television, so good for that. :+1:

But as an integrated system it now feels like it isn’t even integrated with itself!

I would again encourage anyone who wants to add how to FAQs to put them in the community – created wiki. I can’t keep up at all anymore, but we do seem to be getting some questions over and over, so a FAQ can be useful. :sunglasses:

If you want an example of a how to article that has been pretty popular, here’s the one on setting up a virtual timer for a switch in the classic app.

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=How_to_create_a_virtual_timer_for_a_light

Remember to link back to a discussion thread in this forum so people can ask questions, but other than that, you can use any format you like.

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