ST - Newbie comments


(Mike Reed) #1

Hi All,
So I recently purchased a ST Hub and my first device I purchased was a Keen Smart Vent. I’ve been doing IT and programming for over 30 yrs. Below are some initial thoughts:

SmartThings, SmartThings Classic, SmartThings Connect - are there more variations? I’m totally confused as to the chronology of the versions. When I call or email ST Support, I get different explanations each time🤔. If ST Support isn’t crystal clear about the naming, what is a newbie to think?

I have an iPhone 6s and an iPad, both updated to latest iOS. I initially install SmartThings app (not Classic) on my iPhone. Upon first run it auto added 2 Samsung TVs that had been registered with the same email address as my ST account. Those 2 TVs are at 2 different homes, one with a ST Hub, other has no Hub. Tried to move one of the TVs to a new location I added in ST app which represents my other home. Not an easy task - why? :thinking:. Called ST Support, but tech was guiding me from Android app, which I guess is different. Totally frustrating… Support should either be given iDevices and Androids, or provided with software simulators of the ST app for each version/flavor…

Can’t recall how I got my Curved TV moved, but it got moved👍 But a week later it shows up back in the default “Home” location - arghhh. And often when I launch the ST app on my iPhone, it displays a dialog box to add my Samsung The Frame 55” TV again. I hit [Cancel], and it then shows this TV as already added (added it weeks ago).

During our back to back Nor Easter snowstorms, I discovered that the ST app is incapable of controlling the Keen Smart Vent when Internet is down. I had power, wired and WiFi LAN functional, just cable ISP was down. WHY can’t the ST app, running on an iPhone that is connected to same LAN as ST Hub, work without Internet? iPhone connected to LAN via WiFi, ST Hub connected to same LAN via Ethernet cable. If the app were to cache device info - such as IP of the ST Hub, Keen device etc., why can’t ST function locally? My WiFi thermostats (Filtrete 3M-50) and their app actually default to LOCAL connections rather than Internet/cloud. Why is the ST world so dependent on cloud? Granted, cloud is handy for saving device and Hub IPs, MACs, schedules etc. But couldn’t there be SOME offline capabilities in the ST world? There’s really not that much data to store, so it can’t be a space issue back on our Apple or Android devices. So store device data locally- and sync it periodically with all phones/tablets when Internet is up. Lastly, what happens if Samsung decides ST is not profitable enough, and abandons project? All our devices no longer function? My thermostat company could disappear, but I’d still have local operation of my thermostats…

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited as finding this product and community. I just have a lot more questions than answers :smile_cat:

Mike


(Mike Reed) #2

I also got totally confused as to exactly what ST app to install on my iPad. Weeks ago the Apple Store listed the newer SmartThings app (not Classic) when viewed with my iPad. So I installed it on iPad. Open app and initial (Dashboard) screen displays. But if I click on DEVICES tab (bottom middle tab/link), app auto minimizes. At first I thought it crashed - but press home button on iPad and I can see the minimized ST app window. Click on it to regain focus to ST, and it’s back at initial Dashboard screen. Click on DEVICES again - same thing (auto minimize/crash)…

Mulling this over, I think my iPad showed the newest non-Classic ST app as available for my iPad because I had previously installed it on my iPhone. But today, if I go to Apple Store on my iPad and search for “SmartThings”, it only lists the ST Classic app - no sign of plain ST. So today I installed ST Classic on my iPad and at least it doesn’t crash :+1:. But all these similar version names - reminds me of the famous “Who’s on 1st” Abbott & Costello episode :smile_cat:


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #3

There ARE.

Specific SmartThings devices and the Smart Light SmartApp and parts of Smart Home Monitor can execute (automatically) locally in the SmartThings Hub V2 (the currently sold Hub).

As to why “everything” (or most Things…) can’t run locally? Simple: Samsung SmartThings is a cloud product at its very foundation. It was never intended, nor designed, to be used independently of the Cloud - and that might never change.

Samsung is in this for the long term game. Cloud is expected to be a utility like electricity, water, Netflix, and Amazon - etc.

10s of millions of people purchased Alexa even though it is 100% Cloud dependent. Samsung has no incentive to believe that Amazon is “wrong”.


(Mike Reed) #4

Agreed, the cloud is back - for good. I go back to mainframes, when “dumb” terminals connected via dedicates POTS lines running at a blazing 9600 baud🙀. Mainframes of yesteryear were the equivalent of today’s cloud - sort of…

I still think local functionality should be a priority, especially as more environmental devices enter the ST world. I want to be able to control my home automation environment as much as possible - even when my Internet is down. Or, as was the case recently, when Samsung has technical problems with their servers🤔


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #5

Don’t get me wrong: SmartThings has assured us repeatedly (though, unofficially - since nothing they publish, post, or say is “official”), that their Hub team(s) know the importance of local execution.

The only visible progress at this time, though, is incremental changes in the list of Device Types that are in the firmware and thus locally executable, and perhaps some fine grained detail of those and/or the related Smart Lighting and SHM SmartApps.

“Priority” is a key term here. Samsung is a huge company and SmartThings is growing. In theory that means that they can be working in parallel on multiple #1 priority items. But we all know that in a large organization, there’s always some projects with more visibility (and thus, resourcing), than others.

And in the case of Samsung SmartThings, the “new SmartThings Cloud & App” are clearly more visible :eye: to the average consumer and Samsung executives, than the generally hidden magic of local execution.


(Mike Reed) #6

Part of me thinks it would be better if ST only worked from the cloud - when I need remote access (e.g. my 2nd home). I’d like to be able to turn off cloud/remote access. Why? Security - can you imagine the nightmare that we’ll be facing once some malware surfaces in ST? I don’t want anybody/anything to be able to change my thermostats (how about we just turn his thermostat off at his vacation home in the Catskills in the middle of winter?) Talk about a nightmare! But, being around as long as I have, I know security is barely on their radar. It will take a few “incidents” to wake the developers up. I do hope I’m wrong, but my intuition and experience tell me that, sadly, I’m likely right…


(Mike Reed) #7

Software security is usually an afterthought, not part of the original design. That’s why Microsoft (and others) are continually patching their code…


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

I agree (and Samsung SmartThings repeatedly assert) that system security is an essential top priority; however, the nightmare scenarios tend to be mis-guessed.

IP cameras, for example, have been hacked to run bots for processing hacked passwords, mining crypto currencies, and other grand schemes: No so much for spying on families babies and pets.

While mischievous hacking could happen, the major motive is cash. So unless raising the temperature on thousands of thermostats drives up the price of oil futures, then I doubt it will happen.


(Mike Reed) #9

Thermostats was just one easy example. There have been IT malwares over the years that simply wreaked havoc, and made no money. I do agree that money USUALLY is the motivating factor, but not all malicious players are playing with a full rational deck… But I am glad to hear that Samsung has taken the issue of security seriously!


(Mark) #10

I would guess (and this is totally a guess) that the explanation for both the mobile app snafu and the heavy reliance on the cloud is a similar one. The engineers and developers at ST take their orders from people without such heavy technical backgrounds and they have different priorities than what actually makes sense from a technical perspective.

In the case of the multiple simultaneous apps, it could be they were pushed to release the newer one to coincide with new Samsung hardware.

In the case of cloud processing, it could be they want to get their hands on as much of your data as possible so they can find a way to monetize that.

These aren’t original ideas of mine, they’ve been discussed in the community before by others.

An alternative is that the developers and engineers don’t know WTF they’re doing. That seems less likely, and I really hope that’s not what’s going on.

I wonder what ST newbies without a 30 year background in IT are doing when trying to setup a new hub with all the mobile app confusion…


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #11

Though the data is not lumped in one spot, there’s lots of evidence that the developers / engineering teams are really darn competent and enthusiastic. It just must get really easy for them to feel drowned in the big “Samsung ocean”.


(Mike Reed) #12

I have been pleasantly surprised that calls to ST support have gotten answered rather quickly, and the level one techs are pretty good - though on any given day they’ll have a different explanation as to the multitude of ST mobile apps :). They also didn’t quite understand that one’s ST Hub and mobile device (running whatever ST app) are often part of the same LAN, albeit one is wired other is WiFi. At least they are when I’m at home, where my ST Hub is…

I can’t imagine Average Joe, with little IT experience, figuring out this ST app and related hardware.


(Lee Florack) #13

Very nicey said. I’m sure it upsets many, but you are exactly correct. If SmartThings was designed and implemented more robustly, discontent would be minimized.


#14

If it’s a brand new hub, I don’t think there will be much confusion. The materials in the box will say to get the “smartthings” app, and that one will work work fine for a typical customer, who uses no custom code and has 15 or fewer devices.

The ones who buy a brand new SmartThings/ADT security panel will get confused, as The materials in the box will tell them to download the “SmartThings” app but they really need the “SmartThings classic” app.

The ones who buy a brand new SmartThings connect home Wi-Fi router will probably also get confused, as the materials in the box will tell them to download the “SmartThings connect” app, but that no longer exists – – they need the “SmartThings” app.

The ones who will get most confused are the ones who previously had both the “SmartThings” and a “SmartThings connect” app installed, as they will receive messages both to update and then not to use the new app. :scream: This will include people who had the SmartThings connect home Wi-Fi router or a Samsung smart television and a SmartThings hub before the apps were changed, so that’s the group where there’s the most confusion, I think.


(Mark) #15

OP’s experience suggests otherwise. Granted, that’s just an n of 1, but I believe his point is well taken.


#16

Fair enough. Anyone purchasing a brand new hub who is using a device not supported by the new app, such is the keen vent, is going to have multiple headaches. There’s no question the rollout has been absurdly bumpy. :scream:

Note: The Keen Home Smart Vent is compatible with the SmartThings Classic app.


#17

Clarification:

The User Manual for the “Connect Pro” states to download the Samsung Connect app (that’s what it was originally called).

Now for those on Android and the naming convention they have in the Play Store, it’s probably a little less confusing.

Never the less, I don’t think any of the manuals should have been updated to point anyone to the new SmartThings App (Samsung Connect), because even for those with other types of hubs, the Samsung Connect app is/was nowhere near complete or functional to have anyone use it or be directed to use it.


#18

I believe those with the Samsung connect home Wi-Fi router have to use the Samsung connect app or they can’t set up the router itself. Those features have never appeared in what is now the SmartThings classic app.


#19

Oh what a tangled web they seem to weave! :roll_eyes:


(David) #20

Nope won’t make a difference with Android, I asked my wife last night since I knew I remove ST app from her phone to go re-install from the place store, the SmartThings app not the snowflake looking one. She said it won’t let her its already installed…

I grabbed her phone, she tried to install the wrong one. I said sorry I should have told you the classic one, she said well they both say SmartThings on them they are not the same? :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: