SmartThings vs Homeseer


#1

Homeseer to ST conversion.

I currently have over 50 Zwave devices in my home; about three years ago I did a massive Zwave deployment in my house. All of my light switches are GE Zwave switches, I have 7 Motion sensors, 6 door sensors, three deadbolt locks, a Zwave garage door opener, a Zwave thermostat and a wall mounted iPad. At that time I had everything connected to Homeseer on a dedicated home server.

Homeseer -Pro

  1. Complete customization (Anything you can think of could be done in the Homeseer software)
  2. Touchscreen customization (You can create a touchscreen interface with full customization)
  3. Community support (A large online forum for support)

Homeseer -Con

  1. Price (The controller and server, plus add-ons can quickly get you into the $1000.00 range)
  2. Reliability (At best my Homeseer system would be stable for 4-5 days before something went wrong)
  3. Setup (It takes hours to pair all your Zwave devices to Homeseer, and days trying to configure them correctly)
  4. Bugs (Most of my lights would not report back their status to the Homeseer controller and often would stop responding)
  5. Upkeep (It felt like I had a part-time job just keeping my Homeseer system up and running, at one point last year I just unplugged the entire system and stopped using Home Automation)

SmartThings –Pro

  1. Setup (It just works, Every device paired up and worked the first time)
  2. Price (The hub was $99.99 and that was it, no dedicated server, no expensive controller)
  3. Reliability (I have had my ST setup running for several weeks with over 50 Zwave devices and it’s rock solid, no crashes, resets or false reporting)
  4. Community support (A large online forum for support)

SmartThings –Cons

  1. Dependent on Cloud/Internet (personally I have had no issues with this, but if my internet goes down, then my entire Home Automation goes down.
  2. Lack of complete customization (SmartThings lacks in this area)

Results: SmartThings is hands down the winner here; I get 95% of the function and features that Homeseer gave me with 95% better reliability and ease of use. I also feel good that SmartThings will continue to get better and add additional features.


Viable alternative to ST
(Andy Rawson) #2

Pretty much same here. My Homeseer is still running but only does one thing and won’t even do that after I get it moved to SmartThings. I fought with Homeseer for 6 years and didn’t like it much the whole time.


(Joshua Lyon (SharpTools.io Dashboard)) #3

Great review. Out of curiosity, is there a particular type of (value added) customization you are looking for to be added to SmartThings or is it intended to be more of a note that Homeseer is just ultra customizable?


#4

As far as customization, I am thinking of the touch screen app for iPads. You can pretty much build the interface to your liking. Mine was a StarTrek theme, it looked great, but never worked right, due to the instability of Homeseer. I also miss the If/Then statements you can use to create very complex events in Homeseer. However I’m still scratching the surface of SmartThings, so that function may be there, I just haven’t used/seen it. I also miss the native text to speech and music functions in Homeseer, it was tightly integrated. I have been testing VLC Things and Big Talker, but it looks like I’ll need to go Sonos to get the full experience.


(John Gwinner) #5

I have a pretty extensive Insteon network. (right or wrong … if I had it to do over again I might change, but I’m not pulling out every switch in a 3 story house :smile:

So, the question is, does SmartThings interface with HomeSeer, in the sense of being able to read the sensors and all FROM HomeSeer, or having SmartThings post ‘events’ to HomeSeer?

== John ==


(Jeff Keeme) #6

@Pete1122

I wish I would have known some of this before I purchased Homeseer. It seems to be a bust and the server software interface is just terrible. I was sold when I talked to them and they promised perfection, when in fact it is far from.


(John W) #7

Is the system really unusable if the internet is down? Surely not!

-edit:

Wow! It is. I can’t control the system from a wifi device if my internal network on which the hub is connected is still up, but the external internet is down. They really need to fix that. Big problem, and also, not necessary. Man, there really just is no perfect system out there. Every single one has at least 1 huge functional defect.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #8

Search and reference a few Topics on “Hub V2.0”, “Hub Version 2” or variations.

Basically: Yes … it is in the process of being fixed with new hardware. The primary purpose of the new hardware is offline processing capability, which helps with latency, resiliency, and distributing the processing load off of the SmartCloud. Hub V2.0 will have a few other enhancements (e.g., Bluetooth, USB ports).


(John W) #9

That’s awesome to hear. I was actually planning on spending more on a hub than ST costs, but I didn’t find one I liked better. So I’d definitely pay more to have that feature. That and a nice full screen/desk top web based controller interface would really clinch the usability of the system.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #10

Already here:


(Chuck Pearce) #11

This has been my experience as well. The only item I haven’t been able to remove is my Rain8Net controller. Though I think I am going to attempt to create an API bridge like someone did for the DSC alarm systems.

I think the next step SmartThings will have to do is either create/adopt an API bridge “App Store” for anything that runs on the local network or com ports, or create a COM port bridge that can plug/network into ST hub v2.


#12

But Homeseer offer some audio/video control that SmartThing does not seems to offer (at my knowledge) Multi-room audio and home theater control is a must in modern smart home. Hate those cloud-based system that gather personnal information to make it “smarter” (the Google way…), I would be so nice to leave the choice to the customer to work online or not (with limited functionnality), thus allowing the system to be run where there is no Internet access (like many of my customer’s summer house or cabin) and develop custom app to add functionnalities. Would 100% encourage SmartThings with those features available.


(Marty) #13

It would be really nice if we could get an update to this post. I am a Smartthings user (v2.0 hub) and I am getting so frustrated with the instabilities of the system that I have started to look for other options. In my case, my hub has recently started simply ignoring commands as if it is tired. It maintains full IP connectivity and if I power cycle it or send a reset request from the IDE it will start sending commands again…for a little while. Sometimes it will work for two days and sometimes it will be a few minutes before it gets “tired” of doing any work anymore.

As you can imagine, the “excitement” of seeing something actually work is pretty depressing. It doesn’t appear to be my zwave devices because each time it happens I lose the ability to control anything and everything. Each time I reset the hub I get everything back to normal for a little while.

I might consider the idea that this is a dying hub and maybe I should replace it if the Smartthings system itself didn’t have its own serious problems. Everything from the well documented outages to stupid stuff like the newest release of the Android app displaying a splash screen for several seconds that never seemed to be necessary before.

I realize that there are no perfect systems, although it isn’t clear why all of them do stupid things for no obvious reason. Is this stuff really so hard that after decades of trying no one has been able to figure it out? People say that the really expensive stuff actually works. If that is true it just means that no one cares enough to try and that makes me sad. Shouldn’t it be obvious by now that if you are able to build a system that works, you could sell it endlessly for a fair price?

In any case, you switched the opposite direction I am considering and I am certain you have seen plenty of Smartthings problems if you are still using it after a year and a half. Could you comment as to whether you found these problems to have any consequence after long term usage compared to your experience with Homeseer?


#14

Do you have a Hue bridge on your SmartThings account? A platform update in August introduced increase polling from the Hue which had The effect of slowing down some other things. They’re pushing out a fix for that today which we can hope will improve things.

Meanwhile The following might be of interest:


(Dean Morgan) #15

I wanted to say I recently (within the month) switched to Homeseer from ST. My biggest issue with ST was that it would constantly lose connections to the devices in my home which really made me work at it. I have 15 wired switches, 9 motion detectors, 2 hue bridges and 20+ lights. In the last month I have spent a LOT of time getting the events set up correctly and my wife has gotten the automation blues (you guys know what I am talking about) but I think I finally have it fairly stable. The system I bought was the S2 which is $179 so much less cost than the PRO system however, I did not realize this, when you get the lower version you do not get certain software with it so if that is important maybe the higher system is what you want. The software that is extra $ with the S2 are the firmware updater and the mobile screen designer, pretty much any of the add on software that you can tweak the system with. I stuck with ST through the v2 upgrade thinking they would push more of the processing local but when they did not I felt I had to move on. Home this helps.


(Marty) #16

Wow, it has been 11 months since I wrote that? Thanks ITMorgan for your experience and the opportunity to wake this thread up one more time. A lot has changed in the last year so it seems useful to comment on some of that here.

A while back SmartThings sent out a survey asking about the experience in the recent couple of months. Obviously they had been putting a lot of effort into addressing concerns noted above and I will say that for the devices that I left connected to my SmartThings (V2) hub that the experience has been significantly improved from the time I last commented roughly 1 year ago. My comments about the hub dying and so on just resolved themselves eventually, I actually have two thoughts on that matter. First, the fact that the system was so bad that I was convinced my hub was dead is not a good thing at all. The fact that they fixed it is certainly a good thing, but while it was so bad I made the decision to start switching over to Vera.

My experience with Vera has been good. Even though I intentionally left some stuff connected to SmartThings not only so I could watch if the system improved, but also because SmartThings is actually good at doing certain things. While the Vera is able to do most everything I care about, there are some things that SmartThings simply does easier. That said, the ability to control the Vera with a local web interface and the fact that its rules always work without hesitation and without delay is more than enough to keep me from ever loading stuff back onto SmartThings.


(userid) #17

Yesterday, I moved my front door lock and all light switches over to Homeseer. For the last 24 hours, everything has been rock solid. Regrettably, reliability is something SmartThings needs to improve on. My inflection point was when we had house cleaners standing outside our home while we where food shopping. And, we couldn’t open the door remotely, no matter how hard we tried. That’s a deal breaker - Sorry Samsung…


#18

Perhaps it’s just me, or how I have things set up, but I’ve been rock solid for so long now that I lost track of the days (almost 300 devices of all kinds too). Ever since the last few hub firmware releases, reliability has been excellent, as well as performance. Homeseer has been around a while, so I would expect reliability with them; but I will have to say that ST has been moving in the right direction lately despite more frequent outages (which only 1 impacted me).

Knock on wood I guess, but now I jinked myself!