Viable alternative to ST


(Andy - United Kingdom) #1

I’ve invested a lot of money and, more importantly time, into my ST setup
But I, like I’m sure a lot of people, am getting tired of these outages.

I would happily pay £1000+ for a reliable alternative to ST providing it gives me similar capabilities and local processing.
Ive tried Vera and found this to be as flakey as ST with a buggy OS
Most of my devices are z-wave so swapping to a different system shouldn’t be too hard

Has anyone tried others (available in the UK) and had any good results.
I’ve been teaching myself groovy over the last year and I’m open to learning a new language if necessary.

With today’s outage the WAF just hit zero!
Life is too short to spend it making excuses for an unreliable system.

@JDRoberts with your requirements, I’m surprised you are patient enough to still use ST

SmartThings Outage - Mar 12 2018
(Mark) #2

JD’s mentioned in several threads he stopped using ST for anything remotely important a while back. Can’t blame him.

(Andy - United Kingdom) #3

Neither do I
Most of my stuff is also not ‘important’ but WAF hit a new low tonight.
Yes, I mostly have alternative (manual) ways to operate my devices and would never rely on ST for security, but try telling SWMBO that all the money spent was for nought.

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #4

My anecdotal research indicates that a top choice for consideration is Homeseer.

(C L Sanchez 1877) #5

I recently jumped on to ST and I find the reliability to be flaky, but considering the overall package, its no more or less better than Vera or any other system I have ever used.

I have a coworker looking into ISY specifically because of the remote control reliability issues, I looked into it as well but it does not interface with Hue, Ecobee or many other current sub-systems out there. This was similar to my experience with Vera, which as noted by the OP, is all local control, but poorly designed OS and a lacking community, especially on app integration.

So choose your poison. The only fully reliable solutions out there will be fully proprietary.

(Marc) #6

I know a few folks who are satisfied with using Home Assistant. You can run it on a Rasberry Pi. If my ST hub crashed tomorrow, that would be my next choice.

The lack of a backup/restore option in ST is completely unacceptable. I told this to my wife this past weekend and she couldn’t comprehend the work to redo my entire setup would be and how they don’t have a restore feature.

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me…


Don’t think JD relies so much on ST anymore as anything primary. I know accessibility to the Mobile app is useless without the Voiceover.

(C L Sanchez 1877) #8

I forgot to mention Homeseer in this post but I mentioned it in some others. It is by far the most mature HA ecosystem out there. The tradeoff is you will spend a lot of time programming as when I last used it there’s no templates and apps don’t load natively. This may have changed some. By far the largest and most helpful community. The amount of scripting required was a turn off for me (father of 4, scout leader, park sports coach…time is limited).

But for you and others who enjoy writing your own code and not having to worry about the code suddenly being obsolete, you may find yourself more at home with Homeseer.

They now have some pretty solid stand alone units…i recall when you used to have to build a Linux box for their software…those were the days…before kids :wink:

(C L Sanchez 1877) #9

I asked him about it and he mentioned relying more (or solely) on Phillips Hue for lighting. I have done this for non-fixed lamps. Changing out 120 bulbs in my house with this would be quite pricey. But I appreciate the direct Siri control as well as local control. I can cut my broadband and Hue still works locally. ST will run Z-wave but none of the smart apps or the Ecobee thermostats (on Ecobee honestly).

Having said that, ST works when I am not at home as long as it is up and running. Phillips Hue does not work for me when I am not home - I cannot get HomeLink to work remotely. So I need ST to control the Hue bulbs when not local.

You can’t win them all I suppose.

(Andy - United Kingdom) #10

I’m actually on the Homeseer website right now.
It is expensive but I’m past caring about that now, I just want reliability.

Next I’ll be looking for some kind of community

(Glen King) #11

This outage was not terrible.

I compare it to Work, where multimillion-dollar mission-critical systems also have unexpected outages. When those occur, we work manually until the system is back up.

My wife forgets enough and flips switches anyway, so downtime is not really problematic here lol. While indeed I’d love a perfectly reliable system, again you have to juggle it against other considerations. Cost being one. Next, do other systems utterly lack downtime and major issues? If so, what’s the dollar cost and the effort cost of owning and maintaining them?

(Jimmy) #12

About the same offerings as discussed 2 years ago

(C L Sanchez 1877) #13

Its very expensive. Like I said though, the Homeseer system is by far one of the most mature systems out there, as it its community. It is as good as a DIY system can ever be…but you will pay for it. I was just checking it out because of this and a parallel thread and it seems they have now worked out some compatibility issues with other system - lack of this feature ruled it out for me. Maybe one day I will give it some thought again.


I was going to write a long answer, but I realize I’ve said everything already in other threads. :wink:

Every system has pluses and minuses, the key is to find one that best meets your own priorities.

If you look at low-end systems, you can evaluate them in three big categories:

  1. reliability measured in MFOP ( maintenance free operating period)

  2. support for complexity measured in the types of rules that can be created and the number and types of devices that can be added

  3. low-cost ( under $5000, homeseer still falls into this category)

The problem is that right now, as of 2018, you’re pretty much restricted to two out of those three. So you need to decide which ones really matter to you.

(Andy - United Kingdom) #15

I’ve worked in IT for 20 yrs and unfortunately so has my wife so the first thing that comes to mind is redundancy! :slight_smile:

(Andy - United Kingdom) #16

JD I think it has got to the stage that 1& 2 are becoming the priorities.

(Brent ) #17

I’m not making excuses but for $99 dollars no monthly fees and all the flexibility ST gives me to do what I Please with the platform I’m not complaining. Please don’t take offense but I find it funny when people get upset at an outage. I still remember how to flip a light switch. Let’s face most home automation is not necessary it’s a nice to have. Unless you are disabled and depend on it for accessibility. I can tell you for a fact that even companies spending millions on a cloud service still have outages due to any number of reasons. If I wanted “guaranteed” uptime and depended on it for security or accessibility I would have paid a lot more for something that also had monthly fees. I didn’t want monthly fees or to be locked to a particular vendors limited range of device choice which is why I ended up with ST. I also tried wink but found that even their official integrations ended up being limited without much of a work around, vs ST where we have this awesome community who create integrations even better than the official ones in many cases.

I do hope things improve now that samsung has announced they are committed to SmartThings and are putting more resources toward it. Also hope they resolve the app accessibility for folks like @JDRoberts who truly rely on automation for their daily lives, I’d hate to lose valuable community members because of something that should be fairly easy to resolve.

In the end I think you’ll find there is no perfect HA platform each has its own pros on cons it simply depends on your personal priorities and what you hope to get out of it. Cost, reliability, flexibility, ease of use, etc.

Somewhat antecdotal but I have a ring doorbell which is way less complicated than ST and yet I get regular notifications of some type of outage or incident. In fact more often than I have ever had with SmartThings.

(Benji) #18

SmartThings runs on AWS, itself a fairly redundant system. As an IT person for 20 years, you should have seen even the most resilient/redundant systems fail. I have and I’ve only been in the field for 15 or so years and I’ve seen multi hundred thousand dollar redundant systems fail, sure it’s a lot less often but they still fail.


If you’re giving willing to give up low-cost as a requirement , then look at control4 or Crestron. But then you’re talking about home automation cost of around 10% of the cost of the home plus an annual fee. You’ll also probably have to turn over the programming to the supplier, as that’s part of how they get the reliability.

If you think homeseer is expensive, then I would say that low-cost is still a priority for you. Pretty much all of the industry analysts count that as one of the low-end systems.

(Andy - United Kingdom) #20

Guys, please don’t get me wrong.
I am not saying that for £100 I would expect a better alternative.
And I realise that even large companies have occasional outages. But… these are now more than occasional.
My question is really if I spend £1000+ on an alternative would it be any better?
Local processing has to be a winner for me as this would prevent most of the issues that I have experienced with ST.
Hey, give me a local processing ST box and I’ll happily give you a couple of grand!