Stacey Higginbotham: Bad business is breaking the smart home


Having read the article I definitely disagree with the idea we need more subscriptions in order for manufacturers to manage expectations. I pay a subscription to Google for cloud storage as it’s cheap. I was annoyed Ifttt switched to a subscription. I don’t pay Samsung, Apple or Amazon any subscriptions although I buy their hardware because it is good quality and ‘free’ cloud is included. I am generally satisfied with my data privacy with these companies.
Hopefully the matter standard will deliver the interoperability we all hope for without a multitude of subscriptions!


Agree! Subscriptions for things you “own” are annoying.

I do understand that a device which requires a bunch of cloud infrastructure to operate needs to have an income stream to match. But not everything needs to be built that way.

For instance, there’s no technical reason the SmartThings app needs a round-trip to the cloud when it’s on the same IP network as the hub. But, as @JDRoberts points out, that’s the way they designed it.


I thought this was an excellent article and an interesting viewpoint. (Although I’d rather see industries adopt this stuff as best practices, than be forced to by regulation. However, since Stacey is now working with consumer reports, I expect to see a lot of pro regulation stuff from her going forward.)

Personally, I’ve taken a somewhat different approach, as I’ve mentioned in the forum before. I now make the assumption for both budgeting and peace of mind purposes that since the home automation industry is changing so rapidly, anything I buy, I only expect to last for three years before I want to replace it.

Maybe I’ll replace it because the company has stopped offering a feature I wanted, maybe I’ll replace it because there are new and shiny features that this particular device doesn’t have. ( voice control, matter, whatever) so I don’t try to future proof and I don’t expect it to last the way a solely hardware purchase would.

I picked a three-year cycle because that’s pretty similar to mobile phones, and I felt comfortable with it.

That doesn’t mean the company might not surprise me and suddenly drop a feature that I like a few months after I bought something, but if it’s still in the warranty period, Most companies will have some kind of compensation process.

Anyway, this approach has worked really well for me. I base my monthly budget on the maximum I want to spend on home automation and evaluate any new purchase based on an expected three-year lifecycle. Of course, if the device is useful for longer than three years, that’s great: it just means more money in the home automation budget to check out shiny new stuff. :heart_eyes: but in general, this approach keeps my spending under control and my blood pressure even as companies make changes in direction.

Note that I apply that three-year rule even to a Hub or a home automation platform in general. I’m using quite a different mix now than I did 4 years ago, and a very different mix than I did 4 years before that. and I’m OK with that.

Anyway, I don’t disagree with the suggestions that Stacey has made. But I think it will be quite a long time before we see those applied throughout the home automation industry. Meanwhile, by changing my own budgeting criteria I have something I can do now to maintain my peace of mind (and my budget) throughout the many changes that keep happening.