Was my vision of ST misguided?


(Matt) #1

The thing that appealed to me about ST was the idea that I could buy one, all encompassing hub, and then without additional platform costs just add all the smart things that I wanted.

Lately I’ve come to the conclusion that to get the best experience I want, I seem to have no choice but to spend large amounts of unnecessary money, adding more and more hubs, which is exactly the opposite to the simple clean solution I was looking for and probably duplicates a load of hardware for this cost.

For example

To get the power,proximity and some motion sensors set up I want, I simply need to install the ST Hub and get started

I can have the lighting functions and experience I want, but in order to do so I will need to spend money adding a Hue Bridge

I can integrate the heating and water experience I want, but I’ll need to add Hive Bridge (I’m in the UK)

Now after sometime I can finally have the camera experience I want integrated into ST, but guess what? I’ll need to add a Arlo bridge…

So I’m now at 4! Bridges to get the clean and simple automation experience I was looking for.

I can’t help but think that all these capabilities that are being added, might appear to add benefit to the ST Ecosystem, but in doing so undermines the exact value proposition that ST is meant to represent, and as well as being somewhat frustrating, could ultimately end up being ST undoing?


(Geko) #2

Smart home technology is still in its infancy. There’s no single unifying standard and no single hub that can communicate with the multitude of smart devices using half a dozen incompatible protocols and standards.


(Never Trust @bamarayne) #3

I have no arlo bridge or hue bridge or hive bridge.

I have heating and cooling on mine, and while i don’t know enough about the UK, if there isn’t a thermo that works without a bridge that’s the thermo folk’s issue. They are ubiquitous here in the US and ST is not has not offered thermos, so you can’t expect them to provide a direct integration.

I have lights, just not Phillips hue - light switches, power outlets control my lights. Works great.

Cameras - if you choose arlo, yes you need to use the arlo system. You can use other IP cameras that connect without a bridge. That’s your choice. Talk to arlo if you want to be able to use their cameras without the bridge. I fail to see how ST can possibly make that happen.


(Chris) #4

Hive isn’t going to integrate too easily as it is a competitor hub to ST (owned by British Gas). I have Hive in the UK and Nest in the US, If Nest was an iPhone, Hive would be the the pug fugliest nokia you’ve ever seen!


(Greg) #5

This isn’t the fault of SmartThings, this is the fault of their being no industry standard for the IoT other than Zigbee and Z-Wave.

If companies opened up their devices, there wouldn’t be a problem.

Look at Nest, they just use WiFi and have no hub. Granted there a conflicts between Nest and Samsung about the Api usage but still.


(Joe) #6

I have 130 devices and the only other hub I have is a harmony hub for my remote. I have bulbs switches sensors locks and all.


(Brian) #7

Other hubs are choices forced on you by the manufacturer. They want to own your HA.

ST is the least “ownery” of them all even after the Samsung purchase. I can’t believe they don’t push their own sensors harder.


#8

At the end of the day, you make the choice.
e.g. Philips hue come with hub, LIFX not.
Your choice, and the list goes on.


(Christopher Masiello) #9

Precisely. The number of protocols is actually growing, not shrinking. Look at Zigbee and Z-Wave, do we really need both? X-10, Lutron?
Samsung, Google (and Nest), Apple, an others all have their own special sauce.
I’d like to see SmartThings use the USB ports on the V2 hub to allow other radio modules to get plugged in. If you can’t lower the number of protocols, raise the number of radios.


(Christopher Masiello) #10

Yeah, it’s frustrating. I have ST, Amazon Echo (kind of like a hub), MyQ in my garage (again kind of like a hub), and I’m looking at either Hue or Osram lighting hubs (for color) and a Thermostat. Did I mention my unintegrated alarm system?


(Dan P Parker) #11

[quote=“vitamincm, post:10, topic:57319”]
Amazon Echo (kind of like a hub)[/quote]

Actually, the Echo is nothing like a hub as it doesn’t directly interface with any of the HA devices in your home, let alone control them. In this context it’s simply an audio I/O device that acts as a speech-based interface to the Alexa service off somewhere in the cloud, which then talks to other vendors’ servers elsewhere in the cloud and requests that they implement device control requests… which may then involve going through yet another piece of hardware in your home (like an actual hub) before the target device receives a command to do something.


(Christopher Masiello) #12

Yeah, I know how it all works. I’m saying it’s “kinda like a hub” because it’s another ecosystem that has a limited set of integrations with some of the other ecosystems in your house. So while it’s not a hub, it’s a piece of hardware that doesn’t bolt right onto ST and requires a bunch of other monkeying around to control “some” of the stuff and not other stuff in your home. Another partial solution in this endless hodge-podge of partial solutions.


(Dan P Parker) #13

All true (sort of…I wouldn’t say I had to do “a bunch of other monkeying around” to get Alexa working with ST and everything my hub controls, as well as my Ecobee3s), but I fail to see how that makes it even remotely hub-like…at least any more so than my phone is.


(Michael Hess) #14

I have:

ST hub
Insteon hub
3x Harmony hubs

I control:
Receivers
TVs
Projector
PS3
XBox
IP DVR Security Camera System
Roku
Blu-ray Player
Cable Box
Lots of dimmable lights
Many RGBW lights
Locks
Switches
Relays
Garage Door Opener
AC Units/Fans
Smoke/CO2 Alarms

I don’t control:
Heating (old incompatible furnace)

um

Automatic Gate
Chicken Coup
???

In my mind, all of the IoT functionality is done via the ST hub, some with free web based services (IFTTT) and the respective other devices WiFi integrations to those services. My Harmonies are not IoT to me as why the heck do i want to hit play on a DVD when I’m not home? :slight_smile:

The Insteon is an unfortunate first IoT product purchase.

What it comes down to is customization. Buying a Ford Mustang may get you 9/10’s of the way to your personal vehicle preference, but that last tenth might take some after market bits that are most certainly not Ford parts or even factory fit parts.

In IoT that may mean some duplication and overlap. My smoke detector protections for example span two distinct systems with overlap that provide a better overall solution.

Planning is the most critical aspect as there are so many competing standards.

Back to the car metaphor, you can take that Mustang to a 12 second car with various mods at a given price with lots more customization potential, or spend more and buy a Tesla and be limited on other options. Or drop a crate motor in a go cart and do whatever the heck you want. These compare to ST, Apple Home Kit, Raspberry Pi.

Yes I just called ST a Ford Mustang.


(Realy Living Dream) #15

Isn’t that also primarily all Wink " hub" is ? They could never get their own devices to actually work. So while they still call it a HA hub, in actuality it is just an app that connected different clouds into a single UI. Allows people to create rules across platforms, much like IFTT does.


#16

Nope.

The wink hub contains a primary zwave controller and a zigbee coordinator, just like SmartThings. Both are capable of establishing a network, just as SmartThings does. You can use third party GoControl zwave sensors with either. It’s definitely a hub.

They also have cloud to cloud integrations with their app, but then so does SmartThings with its web service integrations and the IFTTT channel.

Both SmartThings and wink are cloudbased platforms but both have a physical hub that sends the Z wave and zigbee messages.


(Realy Living Dream) #17

If You noticed I said " actually work" LOL
Yes I know Wink Hub originally came with ZigBee and Z-wave, even if they never worked. I have a pile of them, but after the demise of Quirky the new improved Wink is no longer supporting their own hardware, it’s just an app, although they still refer to themselves as a HA hub.


#18

Wink is a hub. It works fine. I’ve had one running a Z wave network at my house since February, no problems. I’m not using any wink branded zwave hardware with it, but I don’t need to. I am using a couple of their tripper zigbee sensors, and those also have worked fine. For zwave I’m using mostly gocontrol sensors and a couple of pocket sockets of different brands.

I’m not using any complicated logic with it, but it’s definitely a zwave primary controller and it’s been stable and reliable. Amazon ratings are about the same as SmartThings, maybe a little higher.

I’m not saying it’s a great system, and I’m not trying to compare it to any other system, and it certainly works with fewer devices than SmartThings and has much simpler logic, but it’s definitely a home automation hub, not just an app.


(Realy Living Dream) #19

I’m not here to argue @JDRoberts , I am not saying there are not still old Wink hubs out there for sale. I said Wink gave up on hardware and is now concentrating on just the app and being a unified UI for other people’s hardware.
I completely understood @vitamincm comment and as far as the " general consumer" is concerned Alexa is a " hub" that allows them to control other devices. When the normal consumer sees an item in HD, Lowe’s, BestBuy or on Amazon that says " works with ____ " they have no clue, nor do they care how it works with ____ .


(Geko) #20

Can you provide a reference when this was announced? AFAIK, Wink is still supported and available from HomeDepot, Amazon.com and Wink website.


As a matter of fact, Wink’s status page lists only 3 failures in August, 3 in July and 1 in June (7 in 3 month), comparing to SmartThings’ 6, 9 and 13 (28 in 3 month), respectively. So, statistically, Wink is 4 times more reliable than ST. :sunglasses: