Stability Improvements from SmartThings

(Jeff Hagins) #1

Hi SmartThings Community Members,

We appreciate your support and honest continual feedback for the incidents and service disruptions that have impacted many of you. We take the stability, reliability, and performance of the platform very seriously. Over the next few days, we will be rolling out some stability improvements that will improve the overall experience.

Before we go into the weekend, I wanted to take the opportunity to share with you a bit about what is happening and how we are resolving these issues.

At a high level, the incidents are classified into two categories.

1. Device Control & Hub Connectivity

Anytime you see an Incident on our status page ( that refers to Device Control or Hub Connectivity, it’s actually a reference to the Device Connectivity layer of our platform, which we call “Devconn”. Devconn’s job is to receive messages and events from the hubs and pass them along to the next layer in our cloud. In addition, Devconn sends commands like “Turn on the lights” down to the hub. And when we have an issue with one of the Devconn servers, it means that the subset of hubs connected to that server aren’t able to communicate with our cloud.

To resolve these issues, we just rolled out a new release of Devconn yesterday. We’ve modified the way in which Devconn communicates with the rest of our cloud, and our expectation is that this will solve the issues that have been so prevalent in recent months.

2. Scheduled SmartApps and Sunrise/Sunset

Another area that has been a significant problem area has been the scheduled execution of SmartApps, specifically at Sunrise and Sunset. This is because lots of customers use sunrise and sunset schedules and causes a huge spike of SmartApps execution in each timezone as scheduled SmartApps execute. We’ve experienced problems with both late SmartApp execution as well as some SmartApps that don’t execute at times.

Similar to Devconn, we’ve taken a new approach to how our scheduled SmartApps are handled. We are going to be rolling that into production next week. Once in production, we will migrate customers over to the new scheduler shortly after.

The bottom line here is that we believe the new scheduler will improve the efficiency on how these apps are handled, and we’ll get all customers migrated to it as soon as we can.

The Future and Hub v2

Finally, I wanted to give everyone some additional insight into the forthcoming Hub v2, and what it will mean to performance, reliability, and availability of the SmartThings platform.

As you may already know, Hub v2 will be able to run both SmartApps and Device Types (the device drivers that talk to each of your devices) locally in the hub. Roundtripping to the cloud will no longer be necessary (with the exception of cloud-dependant devices).

This means that automations (SmartApps, Hello Home Actions, etc) driven by Zigbee, Z-Wave, or LAN-Connected devices will continue to work even if you lose your internet connection. In addition, the local SmartApp execution on the V2 Hub includes a local scheduling engine that will handle things like sunrise/sunset locally and this will also no longer be dependant on the cloud. You’ll see a significant improvement in response times, and automations with the V2 Hub will be a whole lot faster.

We are working round the clock to get the experience to the point where it needs to be. From a customer experience perspective, my simple goal is that SmartThings should be the last thing you suspect as being the cause of a problem, not the first. We need to be more reliable than the devices that are connected to our platform, and we want our customers to expect that day after day, month after month, year after year.

Thank you for your continual support and enthusiasm for our platform.

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(April Wong) #2

(Tim Slagle) #4

Thanks for the update dude.

Love you guys over there! Say hi to the team for me!

(Nico) #5

What I want most
Can’t wait to buy it, hopefully there’s special treatment for V1 users :smile:

(Marc) #6

My sunset apps didn’t fire this morning. Here is to hoping…

(Octoxan) #7

Yeah here’s hoping theres some sort of hub v1 trade-in program or something because currently I’m using a product that works roughly half the time.

(Yves Racine) #8

Hello @hagins ,

First, I’m glad that you take stability, reliability and high availability issues seriously as they are key
elements that could make or break SmartThings in the long run.

As I said in the thread about the android V1.17 release, the way I see it, SmartThings relies a lot on its community of developers (even to solve support ticket issues), yet we are kept in the dark as to where the product is going (roadmap), and any upcoming releases (usually till the last minute).

Lots of ST users out there also rely on custom devices or smartapps (developed by the community members) as the ST development team does not have the capacity and resources right now to meet all device and
smartapp requirements & needs of the ST community at large.

And, I think that this situation will stay the same for a while (and hopefully for a long time) as SmartThings community is growing bigger every month.

For the custom devices developers, it would be nice to have access to beta test apks, and a regression testing platform (for any cloud related issues) before GA (General Availability), so that we can
test our custom devices with the new smartThings app (whether iOS or Android) or the new ST platform upgrade ASAP.

This way, it would avoid issues such as the ones we got with the new android V1.17 upgrade; specifically
so far the following:

Custom devices not loading due to label constraints (no carriage returns and no special characters now required )
UI font size issues
Sliders issue
Color range issues

And so on, see this thread for reference

Thnx for your attention, we all want SmartThings to be successful.

Best Regards


Thanks for that information @hagins, very much appreciated. I’ve been with ST for over a year, and have seen you guys take this seriously, work very hard helping customers, and making improvements over the months. I’ve had my issues, but overall my experience with ST has been fantastic, and I’m excited to see Hub v2 arrive and the other improvements.

The recent Android v1.7.1 app update was significant, and while there will be folks with problems that I know can get addressed, this was a great step in the right direction in my opinion. Keep up the great work, and please engage the community members to help you continually improve. Many of us are volunteering our time and resources, and that is a powerful resource to be leveraged. I was involved in a past beta for Android, and that experience was both beneficial to ST, myself, and the product as a whole.




Thank you for the update. I want to love SmartThings and hope things improve.

(Keith Croshaw) #11

Thanks for the update. Helps to tell us what you’re doing to attack these problems. I work with servers on a smaller scale than you guys so I know stuff goes sideways, so I like to see some of these technical terms flung around, I may not know exactly what they mean but it still instills confidence that something is being done to move in the right direction other than “we’re working on it.”

(Steve S) #12

Thanks @hagins for the update. Could you elaborate how this is different than a few months ago when ST implemented “platform upgrades” to fix the issues… or the time before that… or the time before that… ?

I’m not trying to be a jerk about this, but I’ve been a customer since Fall 2013, and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen the “we’re fixing it this time” post.

It seems like the hub v2 is the way ST said it was going to work way back the at the beginning, which is exciting. However, I am loath to throw more money at this (not to mention irritated since this was how it was supposed to work the first time) when the platform can’t seem to hold itself together more than about 10 days in a row.

(April Wong) #13

Hey @yvesracine ,

You’re right: The developer community is HUGE for us. The community developers and contributors is what makes SmartThings what it is today; I personally believe that you, the developers, are the most valuable contribution to what will make us the leading IoT platform.

Let me provide you with some insight of we’ve been doing. We are defining a few programs on our end, some we have alluded at previous Developer Discussions. We have a certification beta program which we test products in your homes, to assist in expediting in device integrations. We’ve tapped the community for assistance in this program. This program just launched last week.

We are also expanding and identifying a group of developers from the community for multiple things: beta test APKS, product launches like v2, SmartApps, helping with writing new device types, etc. And we certainly have plans to engage the developers more, providing even more transparency with you, and having the whole ST team share more visible roadmaps with the rest of us at the community. The start is at the Developer Discussions, as I bring in each team to provide you more insight of what they’re doing.

In terms of providing insight, this announcement is a direction towards providing the community a heads-up on what we have been working on in improving stability, and what is to come in the next few weeks as we implement these changes.

Dora is reviewing and considering all the valuable feedback from the developers in this forum. She is working with the team to design early engagement programs for developers as we prepare for our V2 product rollout. More to come soon. Please join us at the Developer Discussions to learn more.

(April Wong) #14

Yes, @stevesell, points well taken. We share your frustration. First, I’d like to thank you for being an early adopter. We understand that you have gone through the journey of our software development and improvements with us. We know it hasn’t always been smooth sailing. From our Kickstarter days, we’ve gained valuable insight of how people expect their ST experience to work for their individual homes. In order to scale these connectivity in a more reliable way as our user base grows, we made some significant design modification in the Devconn layer. While we know that our V2 design will address of many of these use cases, we value you, the early adopters and v1 users more. We will continue to take feedback from our community and make necessary adjustments in V1.

(Devesh Batra) #15

Any ETA when we can order the new v2 Hub ? My old ST hub died and am stuck using the Dlink box that i got free from Staples… Its been a Dumb home ever since…

(Darryl) #16

How did your hub die? Support not replacing it?

(Matthew Whited) #17

I really liked my ST Hub for the first 2 weeks. Now I’m frustrated that I can’t add more devices. I should have gone with Vera.

(Tim Slagle) #18

I find it hard to believe that support would of left you in the lurch. I assume you reached out to them?

(Patrick Musselman) #19

Contact support for assistance if you have not done so already. They should be able to help. Also, when I have problems adding devices to the system I have found that sometimes I need to close the iPhone App and reopen, log out of IDE and sometimes a reboot of the hub helps. Oh and you might need to exclude the device from ST if you have tried over and over and they try adding it.

(Matthew Whited) #20

I have and they told me to look at … that doesn’t really fix anything (they weren’t even reporting any issues at the time.)

(Tim Slagle) #21

Something tells me there is a miscommunication somewhere. STs support is incredible. @april Can you help @mwwhited get to the right people?