I’d like to say it’s been a fun 5 years with you, but it hasn’t. I moved to the ST platform almost exactly 5 years ago today after years of earlier home automation technologies starting way back with X10. I had seen a lot of promise with the extensibility of the ST platform, the strong development capabilities and a robust developer community.
It was not a smooth ride from the beginning but I chalked that up to a fast-growing platform. And while some of that was true, some of painful unreliability must also be due to really poor platform architectural decisions (remember when sunrise/sunset events broke every day because of database locking issues?) (cloud-based automations instead of local) and the rush to market of unstable features (i.e. every year before CES the platform becomes unstable).
I remember the good ol’ days of Alex Hawkinson bragging that his home automation was completely (and inexplicably) stable while his platform was burning to the ground.
Anyway, after 2020’s year of instability and unreliability, a disastrous app migration and more bricking of my devices, I’ve finally moved my home off of SmartThings and I won’t be looking back.
I found it pleasingly ironic that I finally unplugged my ST hub this week during CES with Samsung extolling all the wonderful future capabilities of the SmartThings platform. Ha, good luck with that based on your track record.
That’s what I’ve been using for my critical use cases for a couple of years now, with Alexa thrown in as well. It’s been solid and reliable, with prices coming down and functionality going up over that same timeframe, so we’ve been happy. make sure you look into Shortcuts if you want more complex rules, that adds a lot of functionality.
We’ve been using Meross for inexpensive pocketsockets in this setup. We also recently added the G2H Xioami Aqara camera which then serves as a base station to bring in up to 32 of their Zigbee sensors Without requiring either homebridge or any special coding. This filled a gap we had for inexpensive contact sensors.
So it’s nowhere near as powerful or versatile as a smartthings based set up, but it meets our needs, it’s been very reliable, and the app is user friendly and voice navigable.
We are still using smartthings for some convenience cases and some devices that don’t work natively with Homekit and we haven’t wanted to go down the homebridge route so far.
HomeKit is quite intriguing now that there are more affordable brands like Meross and Aqara. I actually just received an Aqara hub and outlet to test, so hopefully I don’t like it too much to convert my other 200+ devices over
Based on your comments to my other thread I’m fed up with SmartThings and looking for advice on alternatives I did a deeper dive into HomeKit and for now I’m very satisfied with what I’ve seen firsthand. I wasn’t thrilled with getting both a Hue hub and Lutron hub but so far they are exceeding my expectations on ease of setup and integration with HomeKit.
It doesn’t have to be if you are just using HomeKit, The pro model just gives you more integration options with other systems. With either the base or the pro model of the bridge, you have to be sure to get one that says it supports Homekit, the first generation did not.
If you want to set up your own server device, there’s also an open source integration called “homebridge“ which let you bring in otherwise incompatible Devices into HomeKit. A lot of community members are using that to integrate smartthings and Homekit.
But you will have to have an iPhone to get started. I don’t think it’s worth it to buy an iPhone just to get homekit, but if you already use one, it’s an interesting platform.