SmartThings Community

SmartThings starting to feel like Homeseer?

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.

1 Like

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.

1 Like

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:

1 Like

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.

1 Like

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.

3 Likes

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:

2 Likes

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.

1 Like

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.

2 Likes

To be fair (?), I’m pretty darn sure (for various reasons) that Samsung’s official position (regardless of most contrary statements from ST) is that everyone should be using the new “SmartThings (Samsung Connect) App” - both new and old users. Nobody was ever supposed to be using cut & pasted SmartApps and DTHs, therefore the new SmartApp is appropriate for the vast, vast majority of SmartThings Customers - both new and old.

One exception is ADT Security Hub w/SmartThings users - I don’t think ADT control is available in the new ST-Connect App.

In other words, given that the vast majority of users should be only on the new App, there should be very little confusion about stuff, including SHM. There is only one “real” SHM … i.e., new SHM.

Everything else is deprecated.

Is this 100% reality? No. But … I’m sure from the perspective of a certain level of management upwards, Samsung doesn’t even acknowledge that the “SmartThings (Classic) App” exists anymore.

I’m sure you’re right about some of Samsung’s management. However, Officially, existing users are supposed to still be using the Classic app:

Why is there a new SmartThings app?
.
To help you get the most out of your smart home, we’re working to connect products and services from Samsung with the vast ecosystem of devices that work with SmartThings. The original SmartThings app has been renamed SmartThings Classic. We are working to seamlessly transition our existing users over to the new SmartThings application. In the meantime, we encourage you to stay on SmartThings Classic until we notify you that you are ready to transfer over. SmartThings Classic will eventually be retired.

I agree that it’s in black & white - but I personally don’t think that’s managements’ “position”.

Given that nearly all officially sanctioned functionality of the classic App works in the new App, and all new Customers are directed to the new App, I’m sure management really doesn’t believe there is any reason for customers not self-transition.

If there new App usage was really discouraged, then Samsung could and would have disabled login to new App for existing accounts who already use Classic and all confusion would be averted.

Nope.

SPECIFIC differences between "SmartThings (Samsung Connect)" and "SmartThings Classic"

(As you may recall, my very first use case for home automation was unlocking the door.)

If there new App usage was really discouraged, then Samsung could and would have disabled login to new App for existing accounts who already use Classic and all confusion would be averted.

They can’t do that because only the new app works with Samsung smart televisions. The classic app used to, but that broke back in the fall of 2018, and the fix is to use the new app.

But we should take discussions about the new versus old app to the following thread:

The point of this thread is that smartthings has gotten, if anything, more complicated over the last four years. It’s still very powerful and very flexible, so there are people who will definitely want to use it – – and web core is an awesome addition – – but it’s certainly not any closer to plug and play than it used to be.

The marketing for the Samsung brand arrival sensor still includes the option to unlock on arrival.

SmartThings Arrival Sensor
The SmartThings Arrival Sensor lets you stay connected to people, pets, and even cars by notifying you when they arrive and leave home. You can also trigger other smart devices to perform different actions when the Arrival Sensor comes in and out of the range of the SmartThings Hub: automatically turn the lights on or off, lock or unlock the front door, adjust the thermostat, and more. If you misplace your keys, the Arrival Sensor can even beep to guide you to the key ring it’s on.

1 Like

My counterpoint was that, IMHO, for Customers who only use the new App (whether it’s because they are a new Customer or because they voluntarily or at the request of SmartThings “self-transitioned”), that SmartThings is actually less complicated than ever before.

Admittedly this is debatable, since even if we subtract the complexity of having two different Apps (and also subtract the complexity of the login account transition to Samsung), the existence of multiple different Hub products adds complexity … hmph.

The practical purpose of my response?

I personally believe that once this transition period is over (i.e., the merger of SmartThings into Samsung completed, old App and old API is deprecated, etc., etc.,), that the outcome will be a higher level of simplicity and customer satisfaction than was ever possible pre-transition.

Transition didn’t have to be this difficult. I’m optimistic that the results will put to rest this notion of SmartThings “feeling like Homeseer”.

Samsung and Homeseer are not in the same league at all.

Remember, Samsung built phones that exploded.
I do not believe customer concerns are at the top of their list.

5 Likes

The washing machines exploded.

The phones just caught fire. :wink:

5 Likes

No… That’s the reason that I don’t think they are particularly concerned about the “transition experience” for existing customers.

Regardless of how many existing customers there are (~1 million?), the future is expected to be 100x as many.

So it is understandable that Samsung is focusing on that future. Everything else is just holding them back.

At 100+ million customers, companies like Homeseer, Vera, Wink, Iris, Control4, … are irrelevant. The existing 1 million customers are irrelevant. The relevant competitors are Apple, Google (btw: Nest has been folded into Google Home division), Amazon, and perhaps some international companies that I’m unaware of.


Anyhow - Just sayin’ that a lot more has happened over the past year than most people realize. Comparing “SmartThings by Samsung” to “SmartThings - a Samsung Company” is like comparing Apple to Motorola.

1 Like

My point exactly!

1 Like

Oh, we have definitive proof of this…

How’s that V1 to V2 migration tool working for you?

2 Likes

Wow! Perfect summary of my situation/thoughts!

2 Likes