Terrible performance from ST

I know I say this a lot, but as someone who is quadriparetic, i’ve been following home automation technology pretty much since the time I first got into a wheelchair.

There are fully functional very reliable home automation systems that have been available for years. They’re just extremely expensive. $40,000 and up. Control4 and Crestron, for example.

There also “environmental control systems” designed specifically for people in wheelchairs which have many functions, and are very reliable. they use a different architecture then the home automation systems because they assume you’re only going to need them in one or two rooms. But they still cost about $10,000 a room, which is way outside my budget.

Then there are limited purpose systems which also are very reliable and work very well. Much less expensive than the other two. Lutron Caseta for lights and window coverings. Any of several security systems that combine a camera, barrier sensors, a keypad, and notifications to the monitoring center. automated sprinkler systems, swimming pool equipment, some smart appliances, home theater systems. Even the Phillips hue bridge. They all work well. Price points vary. But they don’t work together.

The new frontier that SmartThings has been trying to conquer is providing whole house automation like that of control4 at a price literally a 10th of the cost.

At this price point, there are many different candidate systems, all with pluses and minuses. SmartThings has focused on versatility, but has yet to achieve reliability. Other systems made reliability their number one priority, and succeeded, but did so by giving up much of the versatility that SmartThings offers.

Discussion of specific alternative details here:

But it’s not that home automation itself is new. You can have reliability if you’re willing to pay a lot. Or if you’re willing to give up a number of features.

As for what can be accomplished at this price point, it’s still unclear. HomeKit is putting a lot of pressure on the market but they haven’t solved the problem of how to have a battery-powered Bluetooth device act as a trigger for an if/then event and meet their battery life requirements. They can do it with their mains powered Wi-Fi based devices but not yet Bluetooth. If that does happen as has been promised before Christmas season this year, it will set a new standard for reliability in inexpensive whole home automation. Then everyone else will have to step up their game. If they can’t solve this issue, then everything is still wide open I think, with different systems choosing different priorities.

So we’ll see what happens. We know the problem can be solved from the existing home automation systems that have been sold for years. But what we don’t yet know is the price point at which it can be delivered. But I do expect to see a lot of market change in just the next six months. :sunglasses: