To many, I’m sure this isn’t news. However, I still feel it is good to continue to discuss. You can’t get better at things if you don’t talk about them!
So, I have had the epiphany – I’m confused. I’m confused because the ST app has hard-to-find SmartApps and easy-to-find Alerts and Actions…and the later are limited causing confusion. So, on to the story…
I finally have a room that is completely motion based (at the moment until Flics have shipped and work with ST). Our living room, which is not often used, has a lovely Fibaro Motion Sensor and a Linear Dimmer Outlet Module controlling two table lamps. I did this because the table lamps are nowhere near the one outlet that is controlled by the switch.
So, I did what I have been taught – I tapped on Lights & Switches and created a group called Living Room. I added the Linear Dimmer to the group. I then selected Turn on when there is motion. So far, so good. My lights now come on when I walk in the room. There was a high approval factor in the house.
Then, night (mode) came and I went downstairs. My kitchen lights came up to 10%…because, you know, it was night and I didn’t want the neighboors to see me in my undies! I then said to myself, “Self, wouldn’t it be great if the living room lights came up to 10% when I walked in there in the middle of the night for whatever reason as well?” I then told myself that was a great idea, so I should do it.
So, I went back to bed and opened the SmartThings app on my phone. I tapped on Lights & Switches, then on my Living Room group I added. Then I tapped on Turn on when there is motion.
“Uh-oh,” I thought. I already have it set to come up to 100% during the day. Where do I set it so it does that AND comes up to 10% at night?
I know, I’ll hit the + at the bottom of the main screen. Done. Let me scroll across…ah, yes…Actions! Now Lighting…look, I know what I’m doing! Look, there is an option Turn on when there is Motion, just like I have now. Perfect! Let me tap that.
Wait a minute, it says that Living Room lights are already configured. Well, yes, they are configured already, thanks for letting me know that. But, I’m tapping the +, so that means I want to add a new option. You know, + means to add something.
What? I can’t? The options under Actions are the same as what I already did? Hmm…now what? Oh, I need to install a SmartApp. Where do I find the one I want? I want to do another action, but this time it needs to be a SmartApp because it is a second action on a set of devices that already have actions assigned to them? And what about the Action that I already added?
I’m confused…they are both the same thing, just different brightness levels for different modes.
…and, therein lies one of the major flaws that I see with the overall thought process of SmartThings.
When is an Action not an Action? When it is a SmartApp? Now, I realize that they are actually all SmartApps. But, that is not how they are actually presented and operate. They are presented as two distinct and different options. And, to be honest, they are not all SmartApps that are created equal. If they were, I would have been able to add another Action…or as many Actions as I wanted, because that is what I can do with a SmartApp.
And now, I’m stuck. I need to find a SmartApp that will allow me to dim to 10% on motion when in night mode. But, now I’ll have controls for same event and devices in two completely different places within the ST phone app when the only difference between them is that one happens in Home mode and the other is to happen in Night mode.
So, I just wrote this long, winding post to prove a point that I’m sure many others have proven…it is long and winding because it is confusing and inconsistent.
It is time to fundamentally overhaul a fundamental part ST…or at least make things clearer by treating every Action as a SmartApp that follows that exact same path.
Now, let us be clear…I love ST. I love that I can control things from anywhere without any complicated port forwarding, blah, blah, blah. Although I’m an IT Director, I like to leave that crap at work!
But, it is time for some tough love. I SOOOOO want ST to succeed. I really think it can with all the great people there.
How can we help make this better?