Updates to the SmartThings Platform

Hi @blake.arnold

Thanks for reaching out to us - we’ve spoken before, I believe. I have a home with about 240 active devices. The migration to the new app has been far from smooth, to the point where I am concerned about the security of my home - happy to talk about that in another thread, but let’s discuss my use case.

My home consist of multiple services, but let’s just focus on four: smartthings, Google home, lifx and Hue. Prior to the switchover, smartthings was controlling about 70% of my devices and sensors directly. The rest were controlled by the OEM’s cloud services. Smartthings and those lighting services interacted fine, but I found that voice control was better handled by GH talking directly to the other services. It was faster connection/response time, and allowed me to have the lighting features more easily controlled by voice.

If I wanted to control a smartthings scene that contained a hue or LIFX light by voice, GH would talk to smartthings, and the scene would run.

Now, however, smartthings is running the show directly. Lights react slower, and I have lost the ability to access all of the attributes of the lifx and hue services by voice. The new smartthings app also stops device connections as a matter of course. (at any point in time, roughly 5% of my devices are “offline” according to smartthings (I assure you they are not), if a hue or LIFX bulb is one of those 5% GH will not control it.

What has made this worse is that I am no longer able to edit, create or delete scenes in the smartthings app if those scenes contain a light that has dimming capability.

Essentially, I went from 240 devices operating in relative harmony (since each was controlled by the service that made the most contextual sense to control it) to 240 devices that may or may not work as intended, or - in many cases - work at all.

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None of my Alexa routines using virtual or phisical smartthings devices work with this migration but Alexa does see the device change status. Maybe she just got lazy?

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I’m sorry if I missed this… does STHM now run locally (for example if a Samsung water sensor triggers will if close the water valve even if internet is down). The SHM worked that way. This is a deal breaker. Where is the official information on this ?

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I’ve been a software developer and project manager for over 30 years. If I presided over a migration like this, I would be in the unemployment line.

Stupidly, I updated the Alexa integration and immediately ended up with tons of duplicate devices. Why couldn’t upgrading the Alexa integration prevent duplicates? Maybe there’s some valid technical reason, but I’m skeptical. In any case, things seemed to work so it wasn’t the end of the world.

Later that day, Alexa started telling me that almost every device is offline, even though NOTHING is offline and every device is working correctly. So I disabled the Alexa skill, deleted every ST-connected device and enabled the skill again. Still, it’s reporting everything is offline. Fantastic.

Then I remembered something about device status being changed, and hubs with pre- 0.32 firmware “will use hub connectivity status to determine status for hub-connected devices”. Crystal clear what what really means, right? Well, I’m one of the saps that bought the Nvidia Shield ST Link that Samsung has abandoned. It’s at firmware version 020.00012. I assume this is why Alexa now thinks that every device is offline. Fantastic programming and QA.

It’s bad enough that these changes were pushed with little warning, and it’s bad enough that existing functionality is being removed, but surely ST knows who has these NVidia ST links. They could have sent out an email warning us that things were going to stop working.

I used to be a big fan of Samsung products, and I’m not willing to condemn the entire company for the actions of one product group but I’ve really lost confidence in ST. We’re all human but they have a lot of work to do to make this right. If I had the time I’d seriously consider migrating to a different platform, but I don’t, I just need things to work.

I’ve got a V3 hub sitting in a box so looks like I need migrate everything away from the abandoned Shield Link onto the V3 hub. But hey, that shouldn’t be a problem because we have a great migration utility, right?

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Thanks @uberrob - this is helpful information. The team is working on an option to allow for selection of devices that are shared with GH and Alexa which sounds like it should resolve most of the issues you’re having by being able to point GH to the other native services for full functionality and lower latency with those devices. I really appreciate the detailed use case and constructive feedback.

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I know timelines are hard, but is the expectation that this will be live before the old Alexa skill is deprecated?

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There are a number of different ways to go about fixing the problem, each has tradeoffs in terms of dev time, efficiency, cost, UX, etc. Having more granular information from our users about what their top priorities are helps us determine how to balance each of those possible fixes and the tradeoffs they require.

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So Smartthings support initially asked me for a video showing the errors in-app regarding my previous post, but after I sent them a video they basically replied with “sorry, that’s using a custom handler we can’t help you” (paraphrased). To some extent I understand, but this functionality was working in the new app not that long ago, and now I have corrupted lighting automations that I can’t delete and the app just crashed when I try to go in to them. Seems like at least some of this is a Smartthings issue and not a problem with the custom handler. This is frustrating. (anyone from Smartthings, the ticket is 1015107 )

I’m having this issue with the Homeseer dimmer switches. Smartthings suport basically said “you’re using a custom handler, we can’t help you”, but now I have corrupted smart lighting automations that I can’t edit or delete. Strange thing was this was working a month or so ago even in the new app, even though the buttons just showed up as “button 1, button 2, button 3” instead of the defined names “double tap up…etc…” when it was working.
I’m just hoping enough people are having a problem that someone at Smartthings decides to find a solution instead of passing the buck. Homeseer is looking in to it currently, but I’m not sure if they have any direct contact with Smartthings to help them.

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@TanStarfield - Tim point your Homeseer support rep at this thread: Problem with Inovelli RED Series Switch/Dimmer Scene capability in NEW ST App

It’s almost certainly the issue with their DTH. Also you can delete the busted smartlighting rules through the IDE.

Thanks! I actually just sent them a message with a link to that thread, but then I looked at their Github page and it looks like they updated their custom handler in the last couple days so I’m going to have to test that out. I’m assuming I have to remove the devices and add them again, which I’ll do when I get home this evening.

Normally that is not necessary; you can just update the device handler in the IDE and the new code will take effect.

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Hmm, ok. Maybe whatever they changed didn’t fix the issue since I’m still seeing the same problem when trying to create the new Smart Lighting automation. I may still try to uninstall and reinstall one of the switches this evening to see if it changes anything. Thanks!

This would be a top priority to me as well. There are things controlled by smartthings that I would not want alexa to control, mainly because I don’t want my child controlling them with his voice. I also agree with @uberrob that having the echo/google home connect to the devices cloud is most of the time MUCH better then having smartthings do it.

It would be good to know how long this update might take. I think I will hold off on Migrating until this change is complete, as in my house that is a HUGE deal breaker and would complicate my setup that works very well currently.

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Honestly, SmartThings without Echo Speak is NOT a solution.
Having the ability to create text in webcore from variables to be spoken by any number of echos is what makes Smartthings useful…this is the key to making it user friendly and why I’m able to inplement Smartthings at my parents who are 84 years old. Take away the voice and its not really anything. They have to know this would make a lot of users VERY unhappy
Why would Samsung kill this without implementing a more efficient replacement. They obviously have smart engineers so they could have done this however they did not.
Don’t expect users to stick w what will be mediocrity.

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Yes same issue with the Ge/Jasco DTH and I imagine probably countless other ones. The old DTH does not function with the new Smart LIghting app. I posted over there on this as well [BETA] GE/Jasco Z-Wave Plus Dimmer Switch With Double-Tap. Fortunately Inovelli was on it (I recently purchased some of those and can’t praise them enough) and hopefully Homeseer can help, but as I mentioned in the other thread, Jasco never released their own DTH, and the user that made the initial Nuttytree custom DTH for the Jasco switches is now on Home Assistant. Also as I stated over there and as I continue to read this thread, I now understand why he left. When I got Smarthings I thought it would be easy to use. I didn’t think I’d have to dust off my old college coding textbooks to re-write Groovy DTH’s so I can make my switches work.

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If you have either of these GE/Jasco motion-dimmers
GE Motion Switch (26931) and Motion Dimmer (26933)

MichaelS has the DTH that supports those and it works with Smart Lighting just not If…Then automations.

Of course, at some point in the future if ST doesn’t do a native integration, support will go away

https://community.smartthings.com/t/release-ge-motion-switch-26931-and-motion-dimmer-26933/

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My top priorities are:

  • Fix the Virtual Switch/Sensor not triggering Alexa routines. This worked before I changed to the new Alexa Voice Assistant integration. I use Virtual sensors to trigger people presence for Alexa routines and to turn on Alexa Guard via virtual location mode sensor. Basically without them working, I don’t have full walkaway automation.

  • Take the DTH for the GE Motion Switch (26931) and Motion Dimmer (26933) written by MichaelS and provide native integration for those devices in the ST app. Also make sure you can trigger actions for them from both Automations and the Smart Lighting app. Losing support for those devices will probably force me off ST.

  • Something broken in the notifications chain for one of my smart locks and now the LUM Smartapp won’t trigger actions and notifications when the lock is opened or closed using individual codes. This breaks quite a bit of my home automation since different user codes trigger different location modes enabling/disabling thermostat modes, alarm modes, etc.

  • Get Echo devices working as speakers again for notifications. Telling me to upgrade to the new Voice assistant without this support being ready is an egregious regression of functionality.

  • Make sure 3rd party Smart Apps continue to work before shutting down the old IDE environment. 3rd party Smart Apps bring more value to the ST ecosystem. Without them, I can’t see continuing to use ST for home automation.

So far, these are the things I’ve identified as issues for me, currently, and in the foreseeable future. I can understand minor feature disparities between the new platform and the old. What I’m seeing, however, are major regressions in functionality and features that, if uncorrected, will impair my ability to successfully use home automation based on SmartThings. Please listen to the whole of the ST’s community and work to correct issues and bring feature parity before leaving us high and dry.

Lastly, I’m happy to participate in diagnosing and troubleshooting issues. If you have diagnostics or can provide instrumented versions of the app that can track down problems, contact me.

Thanks!

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@blake.arnold, the new app is becoming less stable/functional with each passing day. Things that were working weeks/months ago are no longer working today. Over the past weeks the following things have stopped working in the new app:

  • Component child temperature devices no longer show up (they just disappeared and show up a empty spots on both iOS and Android)
  • Component child button actions plugin stopped working (on both iOS and Android, it either crashes, exits the page or just doesn’t work)
  • Dynamic page refreshes for SmartApps have stopped working on iOS (still working on Android)

These are just some of the issues which have cropped up and been reported by us in the past few weeks. All of these were working on both the new iOS and Android apps, with each passing week more things stop working in the new app. This is making is really hard for us to keep things smooth. The least we can ask is not to have regression bugs which affect things that are already working in the new app or atleast have a quick turnaround time to fix these regressions.

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