ST App the weakest part of the system?

The only difference I can see is a built-in mike and a speaker. The rest is all in software. If I’m right, the next generation AppleTV will do the same, then Amazon and Google will follow. Bottom line, you won’t need to buy a separate box for talking to your TV and lights. Ideally, there will be only one ‘always-on’ device - a combination of wifi router, media streaming, and smart home control.

I think he was simply doing a value assessment based on the hardware. At $300 a pop, I’d have to spend $1500 to have UBI hear all my voice commands (and I think I am cutting it a lot of slack here - it may take more). It seems way more cost effective to skip “another” box.

Here’s where we come to the device that is already in my pocket, or the one that will soon be on my wrist. My Moto X does pretty much everything marketed on the UBI site, and it does it using the same resources as UBI, but it does it wherever I am (every room, car, boat, airplane, etc.). The one big exception here is that it currently doesn’t talk to other hardware, but I have apps on my phone that do. They just need to talk to each other; a few APIs are all that are needed to complete the equation, and this is what HomeKit and Google Home (or whatever they call it) will be about. I am afraid I just don’t see much future in the UBI; it seems a stop gap measure.

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Both of you have bad information on ubi. First it is 200 not 300. Second it has 10 senators the fire doesn’t. Third the interface and triggering is something no one else offers our had even announced plans to offer. Being able to have things trigger on sound level in a room instead of just motion opens a lot of use cases. Being able to configure your own uttterance triggers is equally so. Work support for st right out of the box it is filling a need that no one else is our had announced plans to. It’s not just voice control.

Incomplete, maybe… but not bad. I read it was 299. Since they don’t post the cost on their website, I had to go by that. They’re simply too late to the party. Yes, it will bring new things to the table for about 6 months, then the new integrated smartphone frameworks kick in, and BTLE devices will surface en masse. Would I want to spend a couple of hundred bucks for an UBI, or another Nexus that will be capable of all that it does, plus being a standalone device.

I hope you enjoy yours… but I just don’t see it. I’ll go on record now that this fails. The good news is you’ll be able to rub my nose in it if I’m mistaken. (c;

Generally speaking, I agree. But there needs to be an easy way to interact (interface) with the system directly. For instance, I want to be able to tell the system I’m going to bed and have several hints happen (lights go on to the bedroom and turn off 10 minutes later, doors lock, etc. I don’t want to rely on motion sensors (sitting quietly or running into the bedroom momentarily confuses the system into thinking I’m going to bed). Similarly, when I leave, I want lights and (especially) locks /garage doors to react upon some sort of command besides unreliable and slow-to-react geofencing. So, a great app is key.

I think you will be surprised…none of these devices you talk about are near release or offer a fraction of the control. Even if you can talk to your watch, that doesn’t help your wife and kids unless you are bugging one of those for everyone. Ubi will succeed because unlike st they’ve kept the usability simple. You don’t need to understand technology to use it or configure it. This is a huge gripe with st and they’ve shown no sign of making any effort to improve. They add new devices and apps, but the interface and dashboard are horrid.

Todd, I agree with your original post. We need a really easy way to do a set if actions at one time (hello home/scenes idea) and a really simple way to interact with an individual device. But we also need a more flexible way to set up actions. I don’t like the “use case” paradigm at all. I much prefer the IFTTT concept. I’d like a way to say when I do this thing (unlock a door, arrive home, set off a sensor or change the mode via an app), and it’s between certain hours (really key when lighting is involved), then I’d like to have every other “thing” listed with all their potential actions available with timing options (I arrived home, unlock the door for 15 minutes then lock it again or - I opened arrived and opened the garage door when no one else is home after dark so, unlock the door into the house from the garage, turn on the kitchen lights, close/lock the garage/back doors after 10 minutes). Everything should have more timing options (when it will happen, how long before a second action will occur). Every action should be able to trigger ANY thing, not just the ones listed in a use case (incredibly limiting). Every option for a thing should be available (color/brightness/volume/etc). Setting up these actions might be easier on the larger screen of a website vs phone.

I hope so, and as said previously, I hope you enjoy yours. I’m sure I’m not alone here in looking forward to your comments after you’ve had a chance use it for a while. How far you can be from it and still have it reliably understand you.

Over all ST is a great idea and something I have been waiting for. But as a few people have pointed out the web interface should have been created at the start, As much as I love to use my phone creating scenes and triggers can be a little annoying on your phone. Yes the mobile interface needs much improvement and sometimes looking for specific options is annoying but it would all be faster on a computer.

There are many other things I could get into for example notifications. setting Notifications to specific devices/people. If i set up a notification for when my wife gets home why would she care to get the same notification (or the other way around). Also how about the ability to create different interface layout and permissions per device.

But what I could do before I got ST was limited and setting up automatic motion sensor lights that change colors if there is an emergency is well worth it till things get fixed, added (officially, unofficially) and ironed out is still amazing and fun.

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Well… Looks like AppleInsider and I are in full agreement on this one. :slight_smile:

This is why Apple’s most likely entry into the smart home space isn’t an “iLight” or an “iLock.” Instead, it’s a revamped Apple TV with a built-in smart home bridge.

Imagine bringing home a fourth-generation Apple TV, connecting it to your Wi-Fi network, and immediately being able to ask Siri to turn off your downstairs lights and raise the temperature in the house when you go to bed, no matter which smart home manufacturer made the bulbs and thermostat.

I have waited to weigh in on this topic to see where it went. It is a bit off-topic now so I will just say. No. The SmartThings app is much better than most other home automation apps out there. If you disagree I challenge you to point me in the direction of the better app. If you think we haven’t seen them all, you may be surprised :slight_smile:

Our app is heads and shoulders above others out there. Prove me wrong.

…gauntlet thrown… :slight_smile:

Ben, I will go out on a limb and say that the HA app for Control4 is miles, and miles ahead of Smartthings.

  • Simple room organization, ability switch to another room to see devices Clearly labeled icons and ability to reorder them by room
  • Ability to trigger custom buttons / actions in one click and by room
  • Media Lists for audio and video sources
  • AV proxies that are consistent across all devices, just need to have a driver that hooks into those proxies Security
  • System virtual panel
  • Windows and Mac App along with iOS and Android
  • Lighting scenes
  • Media scenes
  • Room based audio and video sources and control
  • Ability to see Audio and video sources across rooms

What Smartthings can do that control4 can’t:

  • Add devices (dealers have to add in control4 via a windows application)
  • Add SmartApps (users can add 3rd party apps to flash navigators but no iOS or android support in c4)
  • Code (and I use that term loosely) basic automation activities
  • Understand basic user awareness via presence sensors / phones

In my opinion, Smartthings app is way behind most HA systems that dominate the dealer model. Crestron, Control4 and others. They simply work. Smartthings App isn’t even in the same ballpark.

Smartthings app is ahead of most DIY HA platforms, I will grant you that, but if you want to play with the big boys, you will need to add a ton of functionality and simplicity before I would even remotely consider the apps equal.

In terms of usability vs control… This will always be the argument.

I’m willing to show you my control4 set up any time.


You cannot just say the app is good or bad. There’re different aspects to it. It excels in some areas and sucks in others. If we’re going to rate the ST app, we should define some specific criteria.

As far as real-time control, I’d give it 2 stars out of 5 for the following reasons:

  1. The grid interface is clean-looking, but it’s not suitable for real-time control. It requires too many steps to get to the device control view, for example to change dim level. Trying to hit a tiny ‘gear’ button to open device settings is particularly annoying.

  2. Although ‘things’ have a ‘name’ and a ‘label’ (which is confusing in itself), none of them is displayed on the grid. Someone even suggested creating custom icons with embedded labels to work around this issue, which should be enough evidence how desirable it is.

  3. There’s no ways to create custom views, other than bundle things into ‘groups’. And any ‘thing’ can belong to just one group. At very least, I’d like to be able to view devices by type, for example all light switches, as well as by location, e.g. all devices in the kitchen. Ideally, I’d like to create arbitrary device groups, e.g. ‘my favorite switches’.

  4. Creating scenes by installing a custom app is cumbersome and is rather a ‘hack’ than a feature.

And of course, lack of native iPad app with landscape view is simply embarrassing. I mostly use iPad in landscape mode and having to reorient it every time I start ST app just makes me want to wipe it out.

Well, there it is. Please don’t soot the messenger… :slight_smile:


Could you post some screen shots of your control4 UI?

Here’s just a few threads asking to add labels to ‘things’ view:


Jun 2014

Jun 2014

May 2013

Feb 2013

I could, or you can watch this video at the bottom of control4’s website…

There is a ton of things I could take a picture of, what specifically are you looking for?

Geko, I just found a stupid simple way to get labels in the things view.

Shake your phone. No seriously. Shake it like a Polaroid picture… Viola… Labels.

Why isn’t this the default view?

Yeah, it’s an old trick. I challenge @ben to show me another app that has the same great ‘feature’. I hope it’s not what puts ST app “heads and shoulders above others out there:smile:

Isn’t Control4 incredibly expensive? I’m not exactly sure it is a fair comparison to ST since ST does not do media, etc. Control4 is in Crestron territory. I think they sell to a different market than ST, Revolv, etc would sell to. All those are actually attainable by the average person.

I think that comparisons to other apps are only good when you are comparing the same category.

I’m also not sure this thread has split into a useful direction. I think the approach here should not be to slap ST down. I think it should be to talk about what we think will make ST better. Some of that might be borrowed form the high-end platforms. Some might be borrowed from competitors. Some might be stuff they come up with (and I’m sure they are some good things coming since they nailed the open aspect of the platform). Some of it might even come from us.

We can meaningfully contribute, as owners, as developers, as users. That is what we should be focusing on. If not, twelve posts from now someone will bring up Nazis. :smile:

Godwin’s Law anyone?