The Good and The Bad Of Smartthings at CES


(Jason) #1

So on my way out of work I stopped by the Samsung booth to check out the new smartthings and I must say the new sensors are small and very nice looking I think most people will be happy with them. However I got the feeling that the people working the smartthings area weren’t really employees of smartthings. I believe this because first off that’s how most big booths do it they get a temp agency to bring people in and give them a fact sheet to repeat back to people the other reason I believe this to be true is the fact that one of the lady’s was telling people her full time job was a cigar reviewer. So I know smartthings got bought out by Samsung but i think you should still staff you area especially when you are showing off new versions of products. Also you guys are trying for the whole consumer market but at this stage its more of us dedicated hobbyist looking at this and when i couldn’t get technical details that didn’t sit well with me. I could be wrong on all this but i have a feeling i am not, i did not talk to everyone that had a smarttthings shirt though so cant be 100% Sure. So this leads me to the questions i had for the people in the booth i asked if the camera streaming without dvr service would be available as the free service and he could not give me an answer. On the sensors they are all now using coin cell batteries and the motion detection does not have a micro usb to power it. The person did say though that the zigbee mesh network would still work without a dedicated power which wasn’t on the first or second version of the motion detector so it would be nice to get clarification on this? Also i tried to reference this article
https://gigaom.com/2015/01/06/smartthings-next-generation-hub-will-support-thread-and-the-oic/
to him and more specifically if the plan for you guys to eventually switch to the Tizen operation system was true or not. If you do make the switch my next question is why is it a lighter operation system that will operate faster of what? Hope this dosent sound like to much of a rant or anything just couldn’t really get the answers in the booth thanks and hope to hear from you
Jason Dunn


(Ron S) #2

Are the sensors like really really sexy like the Fibaros or just plain sexy?


(Morgan) #3

I would love to see a picture of the new sensors compared to each of the other sensors, so we could get a relative idea of the size.

Anyone from smartthings able to do that? @Ben or @Tyler ?


(Ajf) #4

Am I the only one that feels that it’s a bit sickening that you’ll only be notified that you have a flood or fire at your home if you pay for the new “Premium” service? I can understand certain extras such as DVR storage etc, but something as deadly as a fire?


(Beckwith) #5

Yeah, the messaging part of the premium option doesn’t make sense to me. We will just have to wait for more details.


(Jason) #6

I will bring in an extra multi I have sitting at home and try to get some size comparison pictures they new sensors are locked in a case though so it won’t be perfect


(Andrew Cockburn) #7

I currently pay the alarm company $30 a month to do just that, this doesn’t seem too different. Of course the devil is in the detail - the alarm company has established relationships with police and fire and can call them out directly - ST would have to offer something similar to make their monitoring service worthwhile, or pitch it more cheaply as a lite option, or add value as has been suggested earlier in the thread.

If you don’t want to pay for the monitoring service you still have the ability to “roll your own” and get an SMS or notification when there is an issue.


(Benjamin Ferguson) #8

@fattyd - can you also get a photo of the back of the hub? Is the possible? Has there been mention of weather or not there a usb expansion port?


(Jason) #9

It is locked in a case but I will see what I can get and I will ask about usb


(SA) #10

It would be nice to see photos of how big the new “things” really are. I find current plug for instance quite large.


(Ajf) #11

I’m going by what ST said at CES:

" It’s also launching a premium service so you can DVR your security video footage and receive alerts whenever SmartThings senses that something amiss going on at home – say, a flood or a fire – in addition to extending access to friends and family so they are notified as well."

If it will rival your (and my) alarm system with central monitoring i.e an actual person that responds to an emergency, then I can understand the fee, but they didn’t say anything that would lead me to believe that that’s the case. And to be honest, I’d be very reluctant to entrust something as important as fire to ST rather than a dedicated alarm system, especially considering how unreliable my ST system has been since I bought it via Kickstarter.

My knee jerk reaction to their this stems from the fact that just about every company even remotely connected to HA tries to force a model with recurring monthly fees on their customers. And that’s fine when it really adds value especially when the company charging that fee is doing something to warrant it, such as central monitoring or like DVR servers etc. You’re paying for a service that costs them money so you pay accordingly. But just look at the ridiculous and mostly useless monthly fee Schlage is trying to charge customers to use their locks. Take a look at the “subscription service” that Lowes IRIS : http://tinyurl.com/k3jxldq They purposely cripple what the hardware is capable of unless they get a monthly fee. This is hardware that I’ve already paid for, why should I have to pay a monthly fee for it to work ? This is why I’m very leery whenever a company has a monthly fee.


(Andrew Cockburn) #12

I don’t disagree - I don’t intend to switch from my monitored alarm to ST monitoring any time soon, I would have to see the value if they expect me to pay them as well, Another reason is that I would echo your comments on reliability. It’s not even that I am worried that an alarm based on ST might not go off - I am afraid that it would … in the middle of the night … repeatedly … I would be divorced by the end of the week ;).

I could also pay the alarm company to set me up with cameras and monitor them too - I think you are right, it comes down to the quality and level of service they are willing to provide and for what fee. This is a competitive space, and sending an SMS and video footage because someone knocked on your door for $30 a month wouldn’t cut it for me!


(George) #13

One thing baffles me. And I have been going down this road with individual IP Cameras. It makes my wife feel safer, but it’s a kludge getting the video managed, offsite is relatively easy. Yet, the costs can really add up one Camera at a time. Now, there are sets of 1080p w/NVR accessible to IP w/triggers in the sub $1000 range. I need a spreadsheet to do the TCO before I go further.


(Ajf) #14

Yea I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what exactly the ST Premium service will offer and cost. But if it in any way charges for any of the features that we already have, I’ll probably jump ship. Like you said there’s plenty of competition coming to HA so there may be a better option anyway.


(Geko) #15

You also have to consider amount of upstream bandwidth you need to allocate, particularly if you have multiple hi-res cameras. It may bring your internet connection to its knees.


(Dr. Mom) #16

Unless ST ‘cuts the cord’ you can always use IFTTT to get text notifications if any of your alarms/alerts go off. Not the same as a monitored system but you will know what’s going on


(Sean) #17

I’ve been reading posts here and I see one consistent statement being said: “We will have to wait and see”. I read ST say one thing months ago (i.e. Nest integration) and now nothing. I’ve not read anywhere here that ST has really announced too much at CES and what was announced has no real time frame. I read by April, by first quarter, by second quarter, by August so now I have no idea who, what, when, basically I know nothing.

I think the people at SmartThings needs to start talking, give dates, integration products, something, anything. NOTHING is worse then silence. I’ve read all sorts of speculation about product integration, premium services, new products, etc. and people’s thoughts seem to get worse as time goes on. Why make your customers hate your offerings before they know anything about them (leave them to their own imagination and they will)?

I’ll admit I haven’t been part of this community very long but I have read a lot and more so recently because of CES and I’m getting more disappointed with each passing day.

Please SmartThings people, we are your customers and need information. Staying silent will ultimately do you no good.

INFORMATION, COMMUNICATION is important but currently lacking and that needs to change. I will, and I’m sure other of your customers as well will only wait so long until they jump ship and go somewhere that will give them what they want.


(Geko) #18

They do come out and give estimates once in a while when community becomes too agitated, but they never commit and typically most of those tasks are never implemented. On the other hand, try asking Apple or any other company about their future plans :smile:


(Beckwith) #19

Agreed. However, I don’t think you will see much progress on this front for some time. I’m sure Ben and his team are dying to get back to normalcy where they can interact more with customers. However, reality is they are ramping up with a projected 200 employees by years end. How does anyone accomplish that without sacrificing other areas?

As I have said before, it is only going to get worse before it gets better. Let’s hope by years end things have settled down.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #20

Although not the “model citizen” of the tech world, perhaps, consider that Apple Inc. is very secretive and stealthy about it’s new products until quite close to delivery date.

Is this comparable? I think so: Some iOS users invest a lot of time in setting up and becoming accustomed to their devices; but, more significantly, iOS developers can be severely impacted by these secretive changes.

I believe that I have realistically tempered expectations of SmartThings as a company, service, and product range. Feelings that lean towards the political or religious end of the spectrum are, IMHO, inappropriate for any for-profit company. I wish, as customers, consumers, partners, community, backers … we could have high expectations and have them fulfilled, but, that’s just not realistic.

…CP / Terry.