ST vs other hubs, thoughts? Need multiple video options


I’ve been wanting to get into home automation/IoT for a couple of years now. Been following along as best as I can on ST v1, the v2 Hub release, Amazon Echo’s coming onto the scene, Thread/Weave developing their protocol, Staples Connect not following through on their planned integrations with Insteon, etc. I have 9 Philips Hue v1 full color bulbs with a bridge as well as a smartlock (Okidokeys). I may end up getting the new Danalock soon to be released in the Zigbee/Thread/Weave integration as they are also releasing other improvements with that as well. I need to add things like video cameras, some external A/C controllers (like Sensibo or AmbiClimate), hoping to add a smart thermostat but have some issues to deal with there such as no common wire and living in an apartment where I can’t get to the furnace. I’ll want to add 1 or 3 water leak sensors, probably a few window or door open sensors, and eventually some plugs so I can control a few lights that aren’t Hue. Also may be interested in sleep sensors or any other health type monitors. I know there are other integrations that I’m wanting to make but currently blanking on what they are. I may eventually want to add control for home A/V equipment and also looking to add Amazon Echo to the mix (hoping to find good deals this holiday season).

I know this may not be exactly fair to ask on these forums but who else would know better???..

Is ST v2 the best choice for me at this point? Should I wait for other options on the horizon? Details about what’s upcoming are sketchy so I cannot be certain. I see some thread where people are loving the new v2 hub and others who are extremely frustrated with the setup. I’d love to hear what your perspectives are of using this device.

One thing that makes my situation challenging is that I need to have two different types of video cameras - one that’s completely wireless such as Netgear Arlo or Homeboy and one that is inside with full fan and tilt capabilities and those can be wireless or wired but can also have power cables (which the other one like Arlo can’t in my setup). ST told me earlier this year to wait because they didn’t work well enough with video but I don’t know how v2 is doing. Video is important because it’s both for safety knowing who is outside and also to monitor someone with physical challenges. Also hoping for some security items. So I need it to work well. I fairly tech savvy but hubby isn’t so much. He can definitely learn how to use things but I can’t constantly be having things screw up. Maybe this isn’t an issue with the current ST hub but that was my perspective with the v1 hub from watching the forums on here.

I’d love to hear your thoughts even if you say get Amazon Echo to tide me over and wait on the full home automation hub until it’s more stable or for a different one that handles video and security better. If you feel that it’s doable now with ST v2 or some other hub, I’d love to know. I just don’t have the funds or time to get into ST and find out that it won’t work for my situation. I can’t afford to use it as a trial item just to tinker with and then get something different. I kind of have to get this right.

Please let me know what you think. Really looking forward to hearing your throughts, advice, experiences, etc. Thanks so much! Take care. :slight_smile:

This has been much discussed in the forms, so if you just search on any one of the hubs you’re interested and you’ll probably find discussion.

There’s no one right answer right now. It just comes down to the specific features that are the most important to you. I will say that video is not smartthing’s strongest suit. But then echo doesn’t tie into video at all, so it just comes down to what you personally need. SmartThings is also fairly weak in audio/visual because there’s no IR Integration other than through harmony. But the harmony integration will be enough for a lot of people. (It is for me, but I mostly just switch between cable and roku.)

My own belief, as I’ve stated many times, is that by the summer of 2016 there will be at least three and probably more like five or six reliable, mostly plug-and-play home automation systems under $5000 that have some voice and some video. HomeKit/Insteon will definitely be one. Echo will be in there somewhere if only as an add on to other systems. I fully expect SmartThings/Samsung to be another candidate, but nobody is there right now in this price range.

If you can spend $3000-$10,000 per room, you could have it all right now with one of the high-end systems from control4 or Crestron. But most people looking at SmartThings are thinking more spending in the range of $200-$500 per room. And not every room.

So you’ll get lots of opinions, but no one answer. :sunglasses:

For the separate issue of a security system, start here:

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. The problem is, I don’t really have a specific alternative hub in mind - part of what I’m wondering is if one of the upcoming options for Thread/Weave/Nest might have some good options. I hadn’t realized that HomeKit went with Insteon. That’s going to be a huge boost for that technology - not that I’m interested. I’m not personally an Apple fan. But it’s a big win for Insteon as many people are.

I really appreciated hearing your thoughts about next summer having multiple options available for hubs. I definitely can’t come any where near the top $$$ options that you mentioned…not even near the lower number of $5K. I’ll have to add what I can when I can but am hoping to find a path that will allow for connectivity, interconnectedness and cross compatibility so that I can add things over time and have them work together. I had hoped to find a hub that offered Z-Wave, Zigbee, WiFI, BT, Nest/Thread, etc as well as Insteon. (Kind of where Revolv was headed before they were bought out and stalled on development.) That would bring everything together. Staples almost had it going on but left out Insteon to a supposed add-on module that never actually materialized. Wemo and Vera seem to be incomplete and in some instances losing compatibility and similar issues seem to be there with Wink. I’ve not seen a lot of hubs increasing their presence lately…most of the momentum seems to be with Nest, HomeKit for those interested, and then individual technologies such as Hue. ST has definitely kept in there but seems to remain more popular with developers and those with higher technical competence and Insteon had continued to do more than I would have expected with all the competing technologies in there.

I’ll definitely read through the link you shared. Thanks so much for that and all of your thoughts. I really appreciate it.

I’d love to hear more thoughts as well, if others would care to share. Thanks again.

If you drop out zwave and Insteon, it seems likely that some Nest/Zigbee/Thread option will be the low cost candidate for Summer 2016, and that could very well be SmartThings, in which case maybe it does bring Zwave back in with it. (Samsung is a founding member of the Thread group.)

The more specific you can be about your highest priority use cases, the better suggestions people will be able to make. :sunglasses:

If you’re interested, here’s my project report on my own phase one: