SmartThings Community

SmartThings Web Interface


(Jason D) #1

One thing I do not believe I have seen or I am missing seeing if it is available, is a web interface into our SmartThings.

What is the plan here in regard to this? My current home automation system (self-hosted with Homeseer) is serviced by not only by an iOS client for my phone and iPad, but also a web interface I can access from anywhere and have complete control over the system.

If this is planned for SmartThings, will it be:

A. Cloud based offering where we login to a central site where we can see our Places/Things? Similar to what things like Iris or other offerings?

B. A web server running on the SmartThings hub itself or another self-hosted server connected to the SmartThings Hub (my vote)

Having a web based interface not only would allow anywhere access but also allow for a mobile based site meaning there would be instant limited SmartThings App support for any phone, not just iOS.

 


(Andrew Urman) #2

Hey Jason,

A web interface is absolutely planned. iOS and Android are being released first because we believe that will be the main source of control. The web interface will be cloud based and accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. A mobile web based interface is also planned for devices we dont currently have an app for (Blackberry, Symbian, older Windows devices, Palm, etc)

A home or self-hosted SmartThings server is not in planning as of now.


(Lucas) #3

Andrew,

I know you said the home of self-hosted SmartThings server is not in the pipe-line but we can expect basic functionality from the hub correct? We had this conversation in another thread http://build.smartthings.com/forums/topic/need-a-better-overview/

Simple example. Will open/close sensor interact with siren without the need to connect to the Smartthings cloud first.

I think several backers hope at least some functionality is possible without the Smartthings cloud.


(Jason D) #4

Agree with Lucas, and that was part of my original thought. Will we still be able to continue to have any local access to devices, and have “events” still control devices if internet goes out? And more on the topic Lucas, said, do simple events of devices that control other devices need to contact the cloud for every action?

Also can you elaborate on plans of privacy and data sharing?  Does SmartThings plan to monetize collective data of users, even anonymously?


(Andrew Urman) #5

Right now control is through the SmartThings cloud only. There are no plans to bring down full control of the SmartThings hub to the local network. It would require major revamps to the hub and increase in cost. As we near support for local IP devices like cameras or Wi-Fi devices, what control can be brought down to the local network will become apparent. It will also be a backup option. No matter what control is doable over local network, SmartApps will always live in the cloud.

We’ve also discussed cellular modules. Whether that be adding one to our hub, charging a monthly fee for it, or supporting the use of third party cellular devices.


(Jason D) #6

Too bad, definitely need to think about if I will take that risk. So now that we know that all our things (and visibility of them)will always live in the cloud, can any one comment on my question before about privacy and data sharing/monetizing of our data? What about cloud details such as Database Tenancy and security protocols/encryption?

I guess i’m probably paranoid, but this definitely discourages me from wanting to add any security related devices to SmartThings such as door locks, cameras, and security system.


(Lucas) #7

 
Andrew,
Thanks for the reply. I would definitely query the SmartThings community on the option of adding support for a local service to control a few simple apps.

Now since the hubs are just extensions of the SmartThings cloud I hope my mobile things (presence) can work on multiple hubs.

 


(Andrew Urman) #8

@jason3fc I haven’t forgotten about your question. A while ago our CTO published an approach to our safety and security which included a lot of detailed information. I’m trying to track it down and see if I can release it. I’m traveling right now so its a little tricky.

I’m not a support person so I hate to give out the usual “we take security and privacy very importantly” that most companies dull out, but we really do. Hours and hours long meetings discussing this stuff. Mostly technical and support layers. Stuff that is so over my head some of the times. Personal data is being treated just as seriously. We’re talking about limiting what we can see internally, let alone anyone else who’s not us.


(Jason D) #9

Thanks Andrew. I manage product testing for a Software as a Service web product myself, so perhaps a lot of these things are high up in my view, because I live it every day too. Im looking forward to the information once you are ready to release it.

I appreciate you answering our questions.


(Andrew Urman) #10

no problem! Check this out.

http://smartthings.com/privacy/


(Gator Eye) #11

I add a vote for a self hosted version of the software for the reasons posted above. All of these types of Internet of Things or sensor/monitoring devices are great and for the masses they are being marketed to, the cloud service makes sense both for the user and the companies that make them.  The majority of people are not going to want to set up web servers and/or SQL servers in their house.  However, for those that do, it provides these benefits:

  1. Security - all the data about me (as mentioned above) - comings, goings, movements, etc. are stored on someone else’s server. I’d prefer they be stored on my server

  2. Ease of Use - if all the data for my various home automation systems could be stored on my one local SQL server it would be easier for me manage/backup, etc.

  3. Reliability - if your local Internet connection goes down and you had a local server running your system would still work because you are not dependent on the cloud to get access to your data. You just couldn’t hit it from outside.

  4. Risk - anyone can go out of business - large or small companies, but with startups there is a greater risk of course.  So you run the risk of spending hundreds of dollars in sensors and hardware and if the company goes under and the cloud service goes dark, you’re left with a bunch of  hardware that can’t do anything. If the server software is running locally on your own server at least you know your investment will never be wasted.

Again - I realize developers who want the server side version are in the minority, but if we don’t ask, there’s no chance we’ll get it. :wink:


(Karl Miller) #12

The only way to truly keep your data private, is to NOT transmit it out of your domain (in this case, the home network).  Even there, the wireless transmission is suspect.
I would like to be able to implement my own security and monitoring system because I don’t believe the cable companies and ADT and their ilk really do much in the way of a service for me (certainly not worth paying for, and nothing I can’t do for myself).

Openness will help improve the robustness of the security, but won’t eliminate threats and possibilities for hackers from intercepting our data, or even circumventing our security and/or control of our devices.

It would seem that a centralized services solution offers the most opportunity for flexibility, and yet is the very means by which, if there ever is a security breach of our SmartThings born data or device control, will be how it happens (everybody’s data and control is forced through one pipe - a beautifully deterministic way to provide hackers with an easy, and immutable location to target).

A home-based network, and control model (instead of distributed), provides a user to maintain better controlled security in the face of most natural and internet or cell network disasters (an UPS and/or generator keeps everything running, including door locks, window sensors, …)

Because this system can be used to secure and control physical property, and human well being, don’t you really HAVE to give the implementer the option to control it however they like as long as it doesn’t put others at risk?  i.e. if you can’t assure with all physically possibility that a hacker won’t somehow be able to find a way to send a transmission to my SmartThings hub to open my front door, how about you let me find a way to do my best to do that if I choose to use these devices as my means of securing my family and belongings?

I mean, it’s an “open” system anyway, right?

A home-based server also takes away an important part of the SmartThings value proposition, so I wouldn’t think it is an either-or issue.  If security and resiliency (fault-tolerance) are important to users, shouldn’t we really be able to have both issues addressed to our satisfaction?

For a security system, if you don’t feel completely comfortable with the veracity of the system, don’t you really take away one of its main purposes (peace of mind)?

I appreciate other users’ perspectives on this issue, such as GatorEye, and I agree with issues brought to light here.  If there is no SmartThings-provided solution for a locally-hosted monitoring and control system for the SmartThings network, then all we need is the ability to implement our own system taking advantage of the hardware and firmware installed.

I can imagine with all the money SmartThings has been blessed with from backers and other funds, and that this issue is so important to everybody, that significant effort is being applied to these issues, however, let’s not be naive - this system will NOT be comprehensively secure if connected to the internet.  That’s just the way it is, at least as long as humans are involved.  As sold, it can be very difficult for hackers to circumvent the system, but as things exist today and for the foreseeable future, not impossible.  That is, of course, not to imply that the solution we will receive is necessarily any less secure than any other - I’m sure the team has spent our money very well.

We just want to be in control of our destiny when so much is at stake.

The option of a self-directed and controlled system is a natural extension of an “OPEN” system such as this one, and IMHO, the only way to take away the option from hackers to be able to reach into my system from the internet (unless of course, it is turned off).

I am sometimes a little bit black-and-white about such issues, but I would really like to hear other’s opinions about this too.

BTW - having a home-based software server for the SmartThings network provides other benefits as well, including, but not limited to integrating the system into other home automation software systems without having to make use of the SmartThings user interfaces or centralized servers.


(Gator Eye) #13

If we want to take the next step I agree that the most “open” solution is having the server hosted locally on our own network.  The data could be replicated to the cloud and changes to the logic or new features could be pushed out to the local servers.

Best yet - we could have the ability to determine if/when outside access to our system is available. So I could set a trigger to allow access to my data in the cloud when I actually leave the house (if I didn’t configure the system to allow access to my local servers from the outside). For example, at night when we are all home, there is no need for anyone outside my local network to have any access to my data particularly if I put my home in some designated “armed” mode.

Obviously that adds a lot more complexity to the system, but that’s probably something a lot of developers would like to see.


(Garrett) #14

Very good discussions here. Many of which I wouldn’t be able to speak to, as I’m not in development. However, unless you guys have already checked it out, we just released a good resource of why we are going “Cloud First”:

http://build.smartthings.com/the-cloud-first-approach/

One of the core elements I quickly attached my allegiance to and one that our SmartThings team has focused its energy on, is the ability to develop without road blocks. While not an avid programmer/developer, I know enough and am stubborn enough to figure out a solution when needed. The interface that allows you to create SmartApps is dead simple. I know, because I was able to do it. Brett Thorson said it well in a recent article of his (Pointing to Perl methodologies): Make easy things easy and hard things possible. I feel the skew towards the beginner-intermediate programmers is incredibly important because it enables more interaction, innovation and interest. That might be at the expense of more complex solutions at launch, but it’s a starting point and we’ll evolve over time.


(Jason D) #15

Coming back to this after over a year. Any progress on there being even a “simple” web interface for SmartThings? If not that it would be great to see a landscape version of the application on tablets.


(Lucas) #16

Still curious on this. I was asked a question during Office hours once about this. In was a work in progress. Update?


(Leo Boulton) #17

Any updates on this simple Web UI? I think it’d be a competitive differentiator. I don’t believe any of the other top hubs offer it.


(Matt) #18

While you wait on ST to implement a web interface here are two excellent web interface options.


#19

I would also like to use web instead of the mobile apps. Is it still in progress?


(Bruce) #20

It never was a priority for them, and as far as anyone knows around here, it is not under development. ST has been silent about it for a very long time.