Tough article on Smartthings

Delete if not appropriate. Touting move away from hubs, towards Google/Amazon.

I’m looking at purchasing a ST hub and coming over from Iris. Survey says, don’t?

If every smart device you connect to your network is Wi-Fi, you’ll quickly run into a few problems. Wi-Fi doesn’t have the sheer range that a meshed ZigBee or Z-Wave set of devices can achieve. It also isn’t battery friendly, and the more devices you connect, the more congestion you may cause the network.

Outside the issues with WiFi listed above, the article and Alexa/Google Assistant still do not offer monitored home security. If they ever did team with a big player, such as ADT, I can imagine the cost would be more than most would be willing to pay, especially with Ring Alarm being so inexpensive.

Also, I have WiFI bulbs in my ceiling fan where each have their own WiFi IP address. I worried that if I add much more that my WiFi network will start to have issues.

Alexa is Amazon. So is Ring. And ring’s new security system now intends to rely on Alexa devices for their glassbreak monitoring. And you can use it as an option for smoke detector monitoring as well if you have other brand smoke detectors. So Amazon offers monitored security through a combination of Alexa and Ring. :sunglasses:

Yes, but Ring doesn’t offer home automation other than through WiFi, which comes with the problems I mentioned above. Ring Alarm comes with an extender for a reason. It’s range isn’t very good. If you have a bigger home, you’ll need to buy more of those.

Sigh… Skindeep article that completely ignores the complexity of the problem and the market. :roll_eyes: :confused:

So very much wrong in this piece.

Just one example… the following is stated as if it were an absolute fact. It is not:

SmartThings currently requires two different apps to get to all its features and knowing which app to use when is often confusing, which defeats the ‘one app to control them all’ line of thinking entirely.

SmartThings official position is that “all new customers should be using the New SmartThings App - exclusively”. There are no claimed “features” that require use of “two different apps”.

While it is confusing and very unfortunate that 2 Apps with the same name exist and weird that there are undeniable benefits to using the deprecated “Classic” App, this has no relevance whatsoever on whether or not a Hub is a problem in a smart home platform.

SmartThings’s problem isn’t the Hub, nor the Cloud; it is in overall stability and usability. Such problems would exist even if SmartThings were completely Hubless (i.e., WiFi and Cloud-to-Cloud connections only).


If you have an Echo Show or Echo Plus, you can also connect to ZigBee devices.

Which makes them…what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh, yeah…hubs.


There is so much wrong with that article it is nothing more than an opinion piece based on a small subset of loosely interpreted “facts”.

The authors responses to readers’ comments further damages his already limited credibility.


I think the biggest problem is the author’s misunderstanding of what CES is. It’s like a car show. A lot of concept presentations that won’t necessarily ever come to market. And a lot of buzz about whatever is newest, but that doesn’t mean that’s what will be for sale next year or what will be widely adopted.

Also, the author appears to be unaware of the number of professionally installed home automation systems, and the fact that right now that market is still about twice as big as the DIY market.

There were some interesting marketing issues to note from the buzziest buzz that could have led to more research and a much better article. Or the author could’ve just written a personal experience article based on what he’s done in his own home, and that would’ve been interesting too. I am particularly curious about what rules he had set up in Wink before he moved all of his logic over to echo routines.

It was the jumping to conclusions about what is actually happening with device manufacturers that weakened the presentation.


Yeah, the article is fluff and doesn’t even scratch the surface. But have to agree with the premise that ST innovation stalled years ago and that ship of future relevance and opportunity has long sailed away. ST has been stuck in the first half of the decade for a long time now.

For all of us here who know the details, it is just as amusing how popular these crude and limited Alexa/Assistant devices have become while abusing the term “home automation”.

New protocols and home automation AI are what I’m looking to for the future. It will be nice when we can just train our AI via “learning mode” for a week by adjusting or turning things on and off and then let it take over after it tracks motion/location/time and learns what we do. The capability has been there for a long time to never bother manually setting up routines, managing hundreds of rules, pressing buttons, or shouting awkwardly titled commands across the room. Amazes me we are still where we are.

Amazon is actually at the forefront of making exactly this practical. Their whole focus from the beginning has been on making things simple and easy.

Apple’s Siri has had helpful “suggestions” since iOS 12, and Amazon just announced in September that they are working on “Hunches” from Alexa with a similar kind of context awareness over time. It’s primitive right now, but it’s still interesting.

And let’s not forget that natural voice recognition is itself a major AI feature, and again, one where Amazon has been a leader in practical implementation.


I agree there is progress and I’m pretty sure non-disruptive AI is coming. It’s such an obvious next step. I appreciate the growing integrations and open and free approach too. Google Assistant relay via Raspberry PI to Google Home announcing our package deliveries or visitors is a big hit in our house. Still you have to jump through hoops to get more natural announcements to occupants for stuff like a water leaks or motion on the front porch though. Lots of opportunity to improve.

Kind of funny I like non-spammy announcements because to me using voice commands in the home is manual and more disruptive to the environment than pressing a button or wall switch. My wife and even my over-connected teen simply don’t want to use voice commands for any use case. I know it has a place though, especially for use cases like you have shared with us.

The AI I’m after won’t require any noise or command action. Kind of like I have now via a thousand rules painfully setup over years, I just want things to turn on and off or dim without ever having to do anything beyond someone moving around the house. Of course with slight differences in actions depending on day, time of day, public holiday, time or season or dare I say even recognizing which person it is.

And the AI can continue to learn and optimize if it sees patterns of manual on/off/adjust human actions over time. “Oh someone is still watching Netflix, I won’t turn off the family room light even though there has been no motion for 30 minutes because the last two times I did that someone turned the light back on or it triggered new motion within 15 seconds of turning the light off”.


Idiotic article. Beyond the underlying contention that voice control = home automation (hint it doesn’t), good luck having a full house automated with WiFi. I run a enterprise Cisco WLC and APs in my house, and use Z-Wave or Zigbee for everything I can, and still have an extremely high number of devices on my APs. Echo, ecobee, ring, etc. all that adds up. I can’t even imagine every switch or contact sensor being WiFi. Worst yet, most IoT WiFi devices have garbage radios slowing the rest of the network down. Wave 6 or not, IoT specific wireless isn’t going away any time soon.

The article seemed very ignorant. However, I feel that a standard like dot dot + thread would be something that will truly challenge the current hub based architecture. While the standard is still new and still coming up with its revisions, it may be a game changer for companies that adapt early. I wonder if Amazon , Google etc are more inclined towards Zigbee to have a clear pathway to something like dot dot + thread in the future. Border gateways (which are key for thread) can be integrated into devices like echo, eero etc.
But I feel that for next many years a hub based architecture will prevail for sure.


Keep in mind that Samsung SmartThings really doesn’t consider themselves “hub based”.

They are Cloud Based. There is tremendous emphasis on Cloud-to-Cloud based “devices”, as well as direct Device(IP)-to-Cloud.

Focusing on the “Hub” is not the issue. As I mentioned, the Hub isn’t what is slowing adoption. It is overall easy of use and reliability.

You plug in an Amazon Echo or Dot or Show and they just work.
Similarly for Philips Hue (and, I presume, Google).

SmartThings is much further from plug-and-play, no?


Yeah… but those are not really ‘automation’. Creating a scene in Hue takes some study and experimentation, as do Alexa automations. And they cannot do anything like what we do here.

That said, you are making a point I’ve made before. I know the various companies are looking toward a predictive model based on behavior patterns - but many automations that we desire don’t lend themselves to that model. They are condition-based, not behavior-based. Yet they can easily be spoken and understood… but are difficult to program given the existing tools.

So there’s gotta Be a way to leverage voice or other interfaces to create complex rules that work, without the arcane programming of current HA systems.

I know the users in this thread are the top 5% of users for SmartThings. We tend to think of things a bit differently than the masses. I like Smartthings, how that they helped remediate my hardware issue. However I know 95% of my friends/family would (edited: NOT) deal with what I went through to get it fixed. I thought it was interesting that it was a Geek sites ‘take’ on the topic.

For many people, having Alexa or a Google Home device in their home has had great scale/adoption/deployment. The high majority of users took the leap to put a voice assistant device in their home, and for the majority, this is the first interaction with a smart home device. It’s no secret that Amazon and Google have the power through acquisitions and past purchases (ring, nest) to keep driving adoption of their strategy of what the smart home will look like.

Personally, I think it’s further advancing Amazon or Google to know what I do at home on my computing/mobile devices, physically in my smart homes, and what I shop and buy online. That said, I own echo and hub devices because the voice assistants are cool and make things easy. Just like with the apple model, sell the hardware, make the software user friendly and the model will support itself.

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100% agree and I’ve said it multiple times. The problem isn’t that it’s hub-based or that its design puts processing in the cloud. My dedicated Home Security system is cloud based and it has been absolutely rock solid for many years.

It’s SmartThings’ less than optimal cloud-based implementation (at least so far) that’s the problem.


Google/Amazon devices are hubs though. What’s actually happening here is that hubs are hiding in other, more useful devices (speakers, routers, appliances, etc).

SmartThings seems to be moving this way a bit too - look at SmartThings Wifi, and also the little dongles you can buy to plug into other devices. I reckon it won’t be long until every appliance Samsung makes has a SmartThings hub inside it.

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