SmartThings Community

ST Deceptive Marketing / Due Dilligence

I knew this device would be connecting to Smartthing servers for updates, smartphone integration, etc. Had I known that my lights, alarms, thermostats, etc will only work over the Internet ANNNND if Smartthings servers were in a good mood I never would have purchased product and stuck with olde timey timers and a programmable thermostat. I don’t want my money back, I just want this device/service to be what a lot of us thought it would be. Why there cannot be some emergency LOCAL protocols that run your schedule/thermostat in the event that Smartthings crashes or your Internet drops is beyond me.

I feel bad for the people who purchased this product for use as a home alarm system, fire/safety, etc. You’re fucked.

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I was trying to set up my traffic report but couldn’t find how to do it. Anyone knows how?

I was also trying to connect this officially promoted device and couldn’t find it anywhere, not even listed on the *beta product list (aka Labs)

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So ST counts their compatible devices as they count developers. I’ve heard many saying ST is compatible with “more than 200 devices”. Well the officially supported number of devices is 178. Add the 18 beta devices and that to me, makes it 196. “More than 200” might include community based devices that are not officially supported. Ooops, no mention of that! So I guess 20,000 developers are just as real as over 200 devices!

Along the same lines:

Trigger the noise of loud barking dogs if there’s unexpected entry

Yeah, sure. They just forgot to mention that you have to buy a $300 Sonos if you want this feature. :slight_smile:

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Well at least the dogs “might” bark if you are lucky enough for the cloud based processing to be working at the time the unexpected entry happens. But that is as likely as finding the Ecobee3 Thermostat in the “Marketplace”

Forgot to mention if the Sonos integration works, Bobby.

[quote=“Robin_Wynn, post:37, topic:36440”]
we were under the impression that much more was done locally than is actually the case.
[/quote] Maybe the same happened to you, Robin, when looking up for specs, you read this? https://support.smartthings.com/hc/en-us/articles/205956960-What-happens-if-the-power-goes-out-or-I-lose-my-internet-connection-

When I read that FAQ back in October, it stated that MUCH of the processing was to be local with the V2 hub. I even mentioned it here: When is local control coming?
Only now did I realized that they went ahead and changed it, which I appreciate them doing that and not lying to more people, but and acknowledgement from them would have been nice.

After living with ST for over 3 months and coming here for 5 months, I do have to agree with Terry (@tgauchat) that all the media managing and marketing side of ST is… shady??? Since the V2 release the platform has been unstable or down for so long, that you would think something would have shown in the “tech” media. But no, ST is still Cnet’s #1 recommendation for HA, and the only cons they note is that the app is not easy to manage. And you continue to find articles from other sources, like the one Bobby found on Engadget. Hell, we even saw the other day how Bruce said he no longer trusted ST for some of his setup.

To be fair with ST, after all the mishaps that have happened and their false claims being brought to light here, they have been very careful of what they say and no more promises have been made around here. You don’t even see the usual people anymore (Ben, April, Alex, etc.). This makes me (or wants me) to believe that they are all hard at work to make the platform better.

What has really been odd about all this, is that I still have my Wink hub (company that filed for bankruptcy and was acquired by the company they owed money the most) controlling my Lutron dimmers. Sure, they don’t have local control and have a lag, but never have they failed me to run on a schedule. Go figure.

More than 200 with the 2016 TVs.

Add in the tv models, and it should be over 200.

Also, note that some of the A/V devices list multiple models on one line.

Benji, you know he’s right. Are you just trolling him?

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Good try! But this number was used at IFA - Berlin when V2 came out. And since then, they have added “a few new things” on the list…

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Try counting each model of the AV equipment listed when specific model numbers are given.

I agree it could be a great value. Right now the cost of the hub and accessories is just a small part of the overall operating cost. I find myself checking the status throughout the day to see if things worked or not. That’s my time and is not without a cost. I should be able to set it and leave it for weeks. I never have to check my Synology Diskstation or any IFTTT recipies to see if they are working.

Now I find myself tinkering with, not because I want a hobby, but because of the compulsion to make sure everything is working properly. I’m starting to investigate how I can build redundancy and independent fault checks using IFTTT.

It leads me to wonder why they didn’t design the hub to be autonomous in the first place. Look at Dropbox. You can add stuff from a phone or a computer and it all syncs up nicely. And all for free. I often wonder if their design strategy was based on providing a wide variety subscription services that would need to be managed remotely rather than the simple function is marketed for now.

Been on the forum nearly a year, this is your first post…some would consider that trolling.

I disagree with his point of view, just because you disagree with something, doesn’t make you a troll.

I recall reading official stories that said the Cloud centric model was chosen primarily to reduce the cost of the Hub V1 (Kickstarter) and “SaaS” was / is getting extra trendy at the time.

But it is also a fact that the margin for “services” is quite a lot higher than hardware, particularly if you’ve permanently locked-in your customers to be dependent on the service (i.e., SmartThings hubs are quite useless if Samsung pulls the plug; or, more likely, adds irresistible upgraded software services that are only available for a subscription fee).


Also; as @geko pointed out in a dead-on post, (but was apparently deleted?):

The article in the Forbes magazine that predates acquisition by Samsung shed some light on SmartThings business strategy at the time.

The bigger opportunity for SmartThings and the whole Internet of Things industry is in selling services. Insurance companies want to issue more intelligent policies based on live data emanating from your home. Elder-care companies are eager to charge families for the ability to monitor the condition of their loved ones via smartphone monitoring. Companies like SmartThings would receive a portion of each sale made through its system.

It’s not a secret or a conspiracy theory … but a valid business model that all large consumer-oriented corporations are extremely interested. And Samsung is one of the largest. That’s why they picked a cloud-based platform, not a stand-alone one like Vera, which has always been open to OEM partnerships by the way. The amount of data that can be mined via a Smart Home system is immense. This fact should not be ignored.

Why do I dig up the above quote the grave? Because it is very relevant to this conversation…
Indeed, SmartThings’s “Terms of Use” state that the data we generate can be used by SmartThings anyway they want (including sold) – but in anonymized form. The Terms also state that we will be notified if the system is used for targeted advertising (or something like that…).

In short: I think it is possible for some consumers to be concerned that they believe they are buying a home automation system, but, in reality, are paying to be a part of a marketing machine. Of course, in this age of Google etc. (free search, gmail, Android), this paradigm should come as no surprise to anyone. Yet … it still can feel like a violation.

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I know what you mean about SaaS and the magical Cloud it trendy. I always have low regard for IT execs who get all googly-eyed over it. We had a recent IT VP who would go on and on about Salesforce and how it would be the wonder application that would do everything for us. We’re a pharma/device company. At that time, Salesforce was nowhere near ready for GxP use.

If SmartThings’ business strategy continues to be based on a client/server model, They’re dead. How long can $99 hubs support an eternal obligation to keep the servers running. The HA communication protocols will become increasingly standardized. How long will it be until a new player with deep pockets brings out the next cheap/better hub? All that would be necessary to switch would be to replace the hub and keep the switches and sensors in place. Heck, we change our far more powerful smartphones every couple of years. Before long, we’ll be changing hubs just as often as our phones. They will be a disposable commodity item. Who’s going to pay for any subscription service then?

I disagree rather strongly in regarding this part of your Post…

I’ve stated repeatedly in many forum threads that the value of my time and effort far exceeds the cost of the hub and “Devices”…

i.e., The time required to: add and name devices, group them, and, most importantly, construct a “well automated / smart home” by configuring a rather large number of SmartApps and/or Rules (etc.), is extremely non-trivial.

This is why I am so frustrated with the continued lack of a “hub migration tool”. Device (“Thing”) migration from one hub to another is not the biggest part of the effort (and, in fact, is the only part that is technically a hardware related challenge due to the binding of devices to the controller’s chip!). The migration of SmartApps from one Hub to another (i.e., from one Location to another) is just a database transfer (i.e., update a few object reference keys). Sigh. :confounded:.


Moving from one Android phone to another Android phone is finally pretty darn easy because Google provides Cloud backup and migration services; and there are 3rd party Apps if your phone is rooted. But still… some settings do not move transparently if you have custom configurations like Gravity Box.

Similarly, Apple phones migrated seamlessly to new models.

But Android to/from Apple … no go. <-- That is like moving from one smart home system to another.

That last sentence is particularly significant in the current state of smart home, and particularly SmartThings – i.e., that there is also a significant learning curve involved. Sure, we are having to learn much more about SmartThings than some of us “want to” because we have to learn workarounds and it’s not super user friendly, but still, it would be a leap to switch to another platform with different paradigm, coding language, etc.

###TL;DR
I do not think that switching vendors will be a seamless process for quite a long time. Communication protocols may become common and standardized making devices portable … but the UI and rule building, etc., will not.

I’ve mentioned this before, but regardless of the original business model intended by the founders, it’s my belief that Samsung bought them for the name and the good buzz. I don’t think they cared about the hub at all. And they certainly succeeded, there was a SmartThings slide or two 20 feet tall at every iOt keynote talk that Samsung did in 2015 (and SmartThings gave them legitimacy to be giving those talks). And throughout 2015 Samsung was a name in the first paragraph of just about every IOT article in the financial press. So I think they got their money’s worth.

The recent announcement that “SmartThings” Will be a hubless offering in their high-end 2016 television sets and the use of the SmartThings name as part of the SAMIio project even though it had essentially no overlap with the SmartThings products used by members of this forum I think underscore that business strategy.

Of course there can be multiple parallel strategies. Lowes mentioned this week at an iris discussion that they’re waiting for Bluetooth mesh before they turn on the Bluetooth radio in their new hub. It wouldn’t be surprising to me if SmartThings is making the same decision. Samsung doesn’t make the sensors that are sold under the SmartThings brand. (They’re white label Centralite devices.) But they are planning to make Bluetooth mesh lightbulbs. And one hub can sell a lot of lightbulbs, eventually. And maybe a couple of Samsung smart locks. But who knows?

Anyway, I don’t see any reason to worry about whether or not the hub as it is is profitable. That can’t be the reason that Samsung bought the company. I do think they need it to continue to review well, which actually gives me the most hope about future reliability. :sunglasses:

The market is going to decide. I’ve had a few HomeKit devices since November, and with the exception of one poorly designed iHome pocket socket which we returned in a few days, everything works great. Very easy to pair, excellent form factor, super reliable. There just aren’t enough devices yet. But if they get notifications and triggers working for the Bluetooth sensors, it is going to set a new standard.

Once HomeKit is the validator, There’s clearly a market for people who don’t have an iPhone, if you can meet that same standard for simplicity and reliability. I think SmartThings could take that market position if they choose to go there. If they don’t, someone else will. We’ll know a lot more by the Fall.

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What am I? Chopped liver? :wink:

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What would be the point of connecting the Ecobee? I have one too with 3 sensors, their app is terrific I don’t see why anyone would want to connect it to ST, it works better on its own I think.

Just as one may assume that it also needs a paid subscription, a broadband connection , and blood test results shown every week.
A technologically illiterate person will read that as: “cable: check. Router: check. Someone to connect it to the router for me: check. Can buy”.
A tech-aware person will see no need for a server connection, and existence of similar products not requiring it enforces that prediction.
I myself had been convinced for days that ST could be used in an OFFLINE SOLUTION I was planning, until someone else pointed the mistake out to me.

It’s like SomeCompany releasing a car. Wouldn’t you feel cheated if, for instance, the car was designed to only accept fuel at SomeCompany’s stations and to refuse to enter a garage that hadn’t passed SC’s certification, and none of that had been stated to the client before purchase?

Completely agree. Now if only the E3 would control my Keen Vents, I could ditch ST completely.