Viability of using SmartThings in multiple household buildings

This could be a status thread but all the notifications I keep getting are not status updates.

@slagle @Ben Is there any new information for this week, other than a mobile update needs to happen? I’m two weeks away from an administrative nightmare if the add users feature isn’t available by then. Most people have 1 hub gives them a headache…I have over 300 hubs. Any kind of reasonable estimate would be helpful so we can plan accordingly.



I don’t want to steer away from the thread topic but I gotta ask…did you really think this through?

I’ve seen you comment many times about how many hubs you’ve purchased and their intended application…pretty much every time you’ve posted in this topic.

For me…if I were a would be tenant…I would think it was a great addition…but I am far from an average consumer.

Have you really thought this through?..from conception to purchase to implementation to support…have you really given this your full attention?

I can’t even.begin to tell you what a bad idea this sounds.

EDIT: Realizing that I asked a very poignant question I want to apologize ahead of time if I sounded like I was berating you as that is not my intention.

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I hope for your sake they get this going in time. Do you have backup plans if they don’t? I think what you are doing is awesome, but for sure like any multiple install/rollout, one hiccup X 200 = 200 hiccups. Imagine that. Ouch. Good luck, and if you don’t have a backup plan, crowd source one here. The community is one of the best parts of ST.


Nope I just purchased A LOT of z-wave locks, thermostats, and SmartThings hubs on a drunk Friday night.

Not sure what this has to do with the topic at hand. But thanks for the concerns.


The only backup plan I have for this particular problem is providing master account access for the smart home amenities. On the property management side it completely kills our goal of being “Keyless” until they fix this thing.

It’s going to be a nightmare going back and changing passwords and making sure the residents didn’t go through support to change the main email or anything else their creative minds can think of.

The Life360 workaround seemed pointless to my scenario so I’m left with this as my only option. I’m open to suggestions if there are some?

Tell them the smart home feature is coming “in a few weeks” :sunglasses:

Seriously, I’d leave off the automations for now. I’d say you can still go keyless. Provide them with instructions on how to set their own pin for the smart lock. You should be able to do that with just the lock, no HUB needed.

Once ST sorts out the add user stuff you can add in all the fun stuff. Also, can I work for this apartment complex? Sounds like a fun project!

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Correct me if I’m wrong, but today what happens if two people sign into the same account on two different phones? Does it just miss the case where one phone is home and one away, but succeed at the case where two phones are home and two are away? I do it now with my girlfriend, but we use Life360 for presence. She can control the house with the app if she wants. She doesn’t control anything though, because I automate it all. If this this works, that’s something, right?

I know I asked the question and gave the suggestion to source the solution here, but I don’t have a lot myself. Life360 works great for me, but it would be weird for you to suggest that in your situation (I think, because it’s another service).

Is the hub the only hardware you are supplying? Without being too nosy, what amenities are you offering with this? I wonder if this all belongs in a separate thread by the way. It’d be nice to list the workarounds in one place. Like this, but each solves a different problem.

  1. Life360
  2. Sign both phones in same account
  3. Keyfobs for presence
  4. Lock/keypad presence
  5. SmartTiles (but is it commercially viable).
  6. I have to throw it out there, but with your investment in ST, you probably should be able to get an inside line to ST. I’d expect that if I were a larger customer such as yourself. I know users like me can be jealous, but large customers are how many companies fund developments for people like me, so I’m all for you having early access (with NDA/whatever) to the user functionality being rolled out. Your investment might justify some effort on your part to help them test new code. Just thinking out loud…

:smile: Maybe I can just tell them it’s coming soon!

Right, all the automations are considered toast until they get this thing going. Which is okay if that’s all I had to explain. It’s the account access that has me worried because that’s what the property management staff needs. If someone is evicted, moved out it’s as easy as deleting the user and adding the next resident.

This whole ST movement was predicated on the adding users. A user = a resident. They leave, they are removed. They never get account access and can’t remove the master user.

PS - If this doesn’t leave a sour taste in the company’s mouth we’ll definitely need some ST guru’s!

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I now see what you are going for… master user has app access, the rest are all users in the app. Doesn’t that give them access to all the other hubs in that same account?

Shouldn’t everyone have their own account? I’m confused about your proposed setup, but sometimes that isn’t too hard.



So much for my edit.

Well…that explains it. I predict many more of those nights in your future :wink:

In all seriousness…

In the interim the door locks and thermostats should be able to operate independently and have apps of their own depending on item and manufacturer. I went this route long before ST integration.

EDIT (again):

Even if additional users are added back to our accounts I don’t think anyone knows for sure it will be “master / user” configurable out of the gate; however, I know that’s the goal. Also, the app will need to change to accommodate…another hurdle in itself.

Is internet provided or required as part of residency? What about hubs…will they be under lock & key somehow? I see what you want to do and it’s cool for sure…but it looks like you may have to back up and punt unfortunately.

Brian, I think you’re right it will just show as present for whoever is signed into the app and you’re absolutely right about Life360…another service would be even more headaches lol.

We’re supplying the main hardware that we would not allow residents to switch on their own (Light Switches, Locks, A/C). They’ll be free to add other devices if they want to as long as they are not installed fixtures that can break their lease. We’re probably going to buy a batch of presence sensors to help alleviate some of the pain of the automation. That won’t be cheap though so i’m hoping to hold off another week.

In all honesty, that’s one of my main reasons for being so vocal about the # of hubs because I’m hoping if they heard the cries of the average user, my issue could help push this thing into an even higher priority. I’ve reached out to the people I purchased the bulk order from, sent messages, and have heard nothing. I’m not sure if it matters to ST at this moment or not but at any given point in time we own/manage over 10,000 units. 10,000 units = 1 hub per unit. You’d think that’s a good incentive for them to let me get some assurances of an ETA or even let me help them A/B test on the hubs that we have installed waiting for our new residents. But I haven’t heard from anyone at ST and at this point I just want it fixed for everyone, it’s a shame the feature hasn’t worked for this long.

Yes sir everyone has their own account because each hub is on it’s own. So each Apartment/Resident will control his/her home without being able to control any other hubs.

We’ve registered all the hubs with our own community specific email addresses so we’ll have to give that information out unless it’s fixed.

The master account is just our way of owning the hub and making sure that we can’t assign the hub to a personal email address and the resident walks away with it. It also helps us promote the phone presence for automations since they’ll all have user accounts (when it’s fixed).

Jonathan, Hospitality is a huge industry. and, of course, Property Management is a side part of the industry as a whole. I find it bizarre that there was such a dive into HA and commitment to a vendor that was not done at the C(x)O level. 300 hubs is not a big number to ST until you consider the potential upside from Samsung point of view (300 with growth to 10,000 --> new market opportunity). One clean Property Management implementation would create a beautiful use case with a white paper for the sales organization that would propel them into a the commercial market. Additionally, potential long term revenue pull through is incredible (future Samsung smart products, energy monitoring solutions all sold through ST.)

Strategic deals are struck from the top down, not the bottom up. Success for a project such as this needs to be managed on both the customer and vendor side.

My advise is your answers are not going to be found on a forum, but in a phone call. the quality of those answers depends on who picks up the phone and who answers. ~Good luck.



Regardless if ST resolves the multiple user issue your are in for a headache. Your setup might be one of the worst ideas ever. If I was you I would return all 300 and move toward something a more business class. If your focus is on key-less entry I would look at a true access control system where you would be able to manage your entire building from one location. Also, are users only going to be able to access their room via presence on their phone? What if their phone is dead. If you stick with the ST hub I would go with the presence sensors. They work great and are reliable. I would then provide the users with a smart-tiles link which would allow them to control their “things.” This will give them control without you having to worry about them messing everything up.

Just my 2 cents,

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Moved these posts from multiple user for app V2 discussion as it is a tad off topic. I think this deserves it own discussion anyways.


Thanks Josh. Sounds like you don’t really understand how it’s being used and I really don’t feel it’s necessary to explain what we’re doing and why…if it’s one of the worst ideas ever then I don’t know what to categorize the SmartTiles idea as. That’s been vetted and deemed a really bad idea. Here’s a link, control your home! Forward it to everyone you want

Let me reiterate…All I am doing is providing each of our apartment homes with their own SmartThings Hub that WE own that controls devices that WE own. Devices that can’t be switched out in any apartment home (Locks, Thermostats, Light Switches). It’s really not rocket science. The main use of adding users is pretty simple too but I’ll explain…A resident moves into their new home, they’re added to the app on a default setup…when they move out, they’re removed, the home setup is re-configured to the default settings that we want. An the process repeats.

Maybe I’m giving the impression that I just thought of using SmartThings last week, bought the hubs and have no idea how to use them? Or maybe that I haven’t spoken to employees at SmartThings before purchasing them? If so, that’s not the case.

It’s no wonder the updates on this thread are pretty few and far between. It becomes convoluted with off topic 2 cents that attack others.

@625alex and I are doing an engine rebuild of SmartTiles for what we’re calling “Version 6”. No release timeframe or specific features are being published at all, since we are focused on high quality and foundation features not a rush or feature creep.

I can say that the model we are building is designed to support enhancements in managing multiple-users above and beyond what is, and what is currently “expected”, in SmartThings natively. We’re not sure how far we will stretch this particular line of features. The concept of property management has, in fact, come up in our design discussions, but it depends on more simpler use cases to prove stable first, of course.

All I can say is that there is a “chance” SmartTiles will be a good component to help the feasibility of your Project at some point in the future, and you are encouraged and welcome to stay in touch with us. Donors are especially appreciated with all the work we’re doing these days, and may help influence features :wink:!

More details (and my email) at:

And BTW: If Locks are your main use case at the moment, I highly recommend PIN-pad connected locks (like Schlage) which can be manually re-keyed physically, and have a master administration PIN so that individual codes can be added / deleted only by your property managers. Even if the lock is run through the “factory reset procedure”, the tenant will not be aware of the default administrative master PIN and two default entry PINs that come with the lock (every lock has different default PINs!), if you remove these stickers from the lock. Keep them in a secure filing system though!!!

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We toyed around with SmartTiles and it’s actually a really good alternative for the single family home. I liked the customizability of it.

I wasn’t really a fan of the URL’s, they’re clunky (i’m sure that’s due to API limitations) and if I remember correctly it didn’t do any kind of Auth if you had the link? (We tested it a while ago so my memory is a bit foggy on it ). I’d say Security and Ease of access are going to be the biggest things for residents.

In multi family, the process is technically the same with SmartThings, it’s just on a bigger scale with more accounts. If you treat each home as a separate entity (not that you have a choice…there’s no way to connect hubs) I’ve got some good ideas to put the SmartThings API to use to help us move SmartThings into replacing existing bulky key management systems. But you have to start somewhere!

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There are a few ways to mitigate those concerns in the current V5.x release, but these are among the major drivers for the V6 overhaul. I’ll avoid hijacking this thread to plug much more about SmartTiles, but please feel welcome to email, Tweet (@SmartTiles) or private message me, etc. (Maybe we can even see if clever use of V5.x could be a tool for you.)

There’s no way of knowing exactly what features will be included in the “add a second user” when it is a release, because we don’t know if they’re starting from a whole new architecture or not. But from reading your description I just wanted to mention a couple things about how it used to work:

One) as it used to work, you could invite a second person to join The account. Once you did that, there was no way to ever delete them again. This was an issue that came up more than once for people who had roommates who moved out. Once they are on the account they were on the account forever. The only thing you could do was to remove the entire cloud account and start over. That may already be what you were intending to do, but it’s not quite how your description read so I just wanted to mention it. And again it may be different in the future.

Two) as it used to work, if two Devices were signed in and you changed the password on one of those devices, the other account remained signed in forever until it was actively signed out even though the password had changed. Again this was an issue that would come up if your roommate moved out. If they didn’t sign themselves out of the SmartThings account, they continued to have full access even though the password had changed. So the combination of one) and two) meant there is no way for a master account holder to do an emergency lockout of a previously authorized subaccount user.

Three) “keyless entry” means different things to different people. The Z wave locks that are available are mostly pretty good about being able to operate with or without the Internet. And also with or without a cloud account. So you can add users through the lock’s keypad itself, and also remove them, without needing any SmartThings account access. You just need the master code for that specific lock and to physically have access to the lock.

I know that’s a lot more work for a landlord/hotelier than being able to do it from a screen remotely, but it is an option for some use cases.

At my house as you may recall I have a number of Health workers who come and go. I do give them a lock code without giving them any access to SmartThings. Again I don’t know if that’s of any help in your situation, but it’s just something else that can help some people for some use cases.

4) judging just by past release history, once “add a user” is released, it will take at least two more minor releases before it’s actually fully functional. That could be a period of another month or even more. So I really don’t see any way right now that this feature is likely to be fully available to you in two weeks. I would be delighted to be wrong, but “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it” and all that.

Just a FWIW. Again if they come out with a whole new architecture, only point 4) May apply.