Not working at all sometimes is obviously the biggest flaw.
Another issue is that a cloud solution almost always adds “latency”, small delays caused by the time it takes messages to travel around the Internet and back. These can vary depending on where are you live and the Internet provider that you use. So it might be only an additional half second or so, but in some cases it’s up to 15 seconds. It can also vary depending on the specific clouds you are trying to reach.
A third issue is that the company that owns the cloud can make changes to it at any time, which can cause changes in the features and function of the devices in your home. This actually happens fairly often with smartthings itself, But it’s also been known to happen with other devices using a cloud.
With most companies, it’s similar to when apps that used to work on your mobile phone now don’t because they’ve had updates that no longer work with the particular model that you have. It doesn’t happen very often, but it’s extremely annoying when it does happen.
- A fourth issue is that cloud operations usually means Wi-Fi operations. It’s very unlikely that home automation devices other than cameras will Slow down your other Wi-Fi devices like tablets and video streaming, because the Home Automation messages are tiny. But each Wi-Fi device does take up a slot on your Wi-Fi router, and many home routers are limited to 32 devices total. so that’s just something to be aware of. Sometimes it means that you have to upgrade your router just to be able to support more devices.
In contrast, your locally operating zwave or zigbee devices don’t need your Wi-Fi, just the hub does.
Lightwave RF is similar: only their gateway needs a Wi-Fi connection, the individual devices are communicating to it on a different frequency.
But if you went with one of the Wi-Fi switches from a different brand that used Ifttt for integration, you would be using up one Wi-Fi Router slot for each switch.
- there are some potential privacy and hacking problems in using a cloud, but these aren’t typically a big concern just for something like light switches.
The advantage of cloud operations is that you are using somebody else’s computer, and it might have a lot of power and features that you don’t have at home.
The disadvantage of cloud operations is that you are using somebody else’s computer. Just getting to it takes a little time. The company that owns it can make changes that you might not like. it might not always be available. There are potentially some privacy issues. And in a typical residential home, you may have to keep an eye on how many Wi-Fi connections your home router supports.
That doesn’t mean you should never use the cloud. Just as Netflix is considered more desirable than a DVD collection these days by most people, cloud services can offer a lot of benefits. But when it comes to something as basic as a light switch, you should at least be aware of the downsides, too.