Vera or Smartthings

(Dave) #1

While I waited for my Smartthings pre-order I purchased a Vera Lite and some devices. Now that I’ve received my email to confirm my order I need to decide which company I want to choose for my home automation.

While programming is something I’ve done plenty of in the past, I’m not interested in doing it for this so I’m looking for either ready made apps or a high level “language” to simply the if then else kinda logic. There are some decent Vera plug-ins which do just that although the interface is a bit cryptic.

Are there any Vera users who’ve also purchased to Smartthings and if so, what are your thoughts on the two? I understand Vera has been around longer and will naturally have more mature tools. I’m wondering how people see Smarthings evolving? Vera seems to be geared more towards the technically inclined rather then (as I want to be), a simple user. Do you see Smartthings going the same way or ideally, be suited to both the technically inclined and modestly technical?

Thanks for any insight. My “reservation” expires on Friday and I need to decide.

(Chrisb) #2

Perhaps it would be helpful to give some examples of what if-then things you are talking about doing.

ST has a number of apps which when installed ask questions about what you want to do based on the app. For instance, one app: “Turn on when Open, Only at Night” is designed to turn on a light or outlet when a open/close sensor is opened, but only during the times specified. When installed it will ask: Which lights or outlets do you want to turn on? Which sensor do you want to use to use to trigger these events? What time at night should we start watching for this? What time in the morning should we stop watching for this?

These are all pick and choose questions you answer when installing the smartapp. No programming involved at this stage at all.

Now of course this assumes that someone has written a program that’ll do what you want to do, otherwise you might need to write your own. In that case I wouldn’t be too worried about it. I’ve done some (very minimal) programming in the past but haven’t really written anything in more than a decade. Yet just by working with the example programs provided by SmartThings I was able to modify a problem to fit my needs in minutes. Then a wrote a program that combined aspects of two other program to create the program mentioned above. Took me less than an hour. A few days later I essentially re-wrote (used about 10% of the original) a program to utilize a newly created devices that had zero documentation for it. Just looked at logs, tested things a bunch of times and got it working in about 1.5 hours.

I’m not trying to brag here… My programs are pretty simple things, nothing super complex. Rather, what I’m trying to say is that if I, who hasn’t coded in over a decade, can figure out and use this language for simple programs then I think anyone with programming experience can probably pick it up quickly.

I know you don’t want to write code for this system, but if you end up getting the ST and find that there isn’t that program you really want, rest assured that you should be able to write it pretty easily. Can you say the same for the Vera?

(Blake Westerdahl) #3

I have had a Vera Lite for about a year and I have decided to make the switch to Smart Things (arrives next Tuesday!).

I like the Vera but it does take a moderate to high level of technical skill. The deciding factor to me was that MiCasaVerde provides nearly zero support for the product. Over the course of the year I have had it they have only released two software updates (one right after I got and one recently). During that time, there were a number items (Aeotec Multisensor, Yale locks, etc.) that were completely broken with the system.

All of the really cool features were provided by other users (Weather Plug-in, Data Mine, Sonos plug-in and Digital Loggers were my favorites) and require a heavy amount of software code. If those users got frustrated with Vera and stopped using it, or had to focus on their actual paying jobs, the features stopped getting developed or disappeared completely. I have seen this happen a few times and the sentiment on the forums seems to indicate there is another wave coming. Without this user developed content, Vera is nearly useless.

I am taking a leap of faith that Physical Graph will provide a much higher level of support for Smart Things. Also, that it won’t take a computer science degree to do antyhing more than turn a light on and off.

(Brian Steere) #4

I haven’t used Vera, but I know SmartThings plans to create a simple interface for some programming (similar to IFTTT). I suspect that may be a ways out yet though.

(Pmsmaker) #5

If you really are wanting ‘whole house’ automation and are going to be spending a $1000 bucks; I dunno.
My first concern is that for now SmartThings is Cloud based and designed to interact with your Phone.
Yes, to be able construct complex logic it is going to be a big pain.
Me, I am and old timer X-10 home automation - use Home Control Assistant.
While I am going to use SmartThings for some things I am holding off on replacing what I have until all this matures.
My 2 cents for ya.

(Dave) #6

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I decided to confirm my order. I’ve got 30 days so hopefully the Android app will continue to improve and I’ll get have a solid chance at seeing what Smartthings can do.

Thanks again.

(Solardave1) #7

We’re a stocking dealer for micasaverde and its a no-brainier to go with ST. Unless you invest a huge amount of time in learning to program vera, its just not with it. Clearly ST has a ways to go but I fully expect it will develop into a drag and drop or simple edit procedure to get it to do what you want. Vera is a generation behind and poorly supported and I have more grey hair as a result of trying to wrangle the programming to do what I want it to do.

(Solardave1) #8

I’m going to backtrack a bit. It’s too early to assess the platform/product. I give them the benefit of doubt that they will ultimately have a “ready for prime Time” product but I’m hopeful. Too many issues at this stage but support is excellent and clearly constrained by the development staff.

(Solardave1) #9

Sticking with Vera for the time being. Didn’t fully appreciate where they were until I started trying to do things.

(Jay) #10

ST is not yet a viable substitution for Vera. If you want to do anything complex or elaborate with your HA system, Vera would be better suited (most credit for that actually goes to the active Vera community). However, ST is developing pretty fast, I think if we give ST enough time, it has the potential to deliver a solid and competitive HA system.