What are the wireless smart systems’ limitations?


DIY smart home is a great idea. But what it will be like to expand my system? Control of 5 bulbs is OK, but I have 55! Will the wireless system work stable with more than 5-10 devices? Where do the limitations start?

And an extra question regarding the interface. Smarttiles look simple and elegant, but how will a large system look like in the tiles? As for me, the interface will turn into a nightmare. Could anyone share a relevant experience?

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Before I moved I had 187 ZigBee devices. :slightly_smiling:


How did you control all that stuff???


But seriously, It’s all about the automations. I had all my automations setup so I rarely had to control a device manually.

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Did you set up the system by yourself? Could you make changes in its work?

Yeah, completely by myself. I owned it from end to end. :slightly_smiling:

Making changes was easy too.

(This was my experience before i was a SmartThings employee as well. Still stands true, but I was and still am a customer of our product.)

What interface did you use? How much time did it take to set up everything?

SmartTiles lets you create up to 5 separate dashboards (someday more…) so you can just put the items most relevant to context (security vs lighting) or room or page between them.

Further navigation and organization is a long term goal. But at SmartTiles we believe that a well automated home need not give up controls.

So the answer is: the limitation is the number of dashboards, right?

Sorta … there is no limit to the number of Tiles on a SmartTiles Dashboard (well… maybe ~100+ is too many…), but a “dashboard” is not as useful if you have to scroll. One temporary workaround is to put least used items at the bottom of some dashboard(s) so you only scroll when necessary (e.g., perhaps to check Battery Levels?).

Though your dashboards will evolve as you use them and see what your personal usage patterns are, think about it a bit and consider how many different dashboards you need. We’re curious to know.

Currently, most SmartTiles users use 3 or fewer … but have no idea why – yet!

The device limits of zwave and zigbee are sufficiently high that you’ll need a very large home or very dense device placements to exhaust them. As for managing those devices, there are a lot of ways to reduce clutter.

  1. Automate actions so manual device control is unnecessary and file those devices to the back of any UI.
  2. Combine devices into groups or zones as appropriate.
  3. Use virtual devices and SmartApps to combine information from multiple devices into one.

All of these work well to make the most of your SmartTiles setup too by limiting the number of devices you need to display and/or interact with.

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What interface did you use? How much time did it take to set up everything?

I’m only at around 40 physical devices (almost 75 total. Harmony and Echo integration add a lot of virtual devices!), so it’s not overwhelming yet. I put it together one room or idea at a time, so it evolved naturally and I was able to learn the tricks on small setups and leverage them as it grew. IMO that’s the best way to build a smart system. You want automated lighting? Buy a single smart switch and/or smart bulbs and install and test.

My first room probably took a couple of hours installing devices, plus an hour setting up in ST and getting my SmartApps figured out. That was for two smart switches. The last room I did took less than an hour and most of that was physically wiring in the devices. That room was 2 smart switches, a smart outlet, a temp/humidity sensor and a smart bulb.

I’ve built everything using ST in a combo of the mobile app and the IDE. I often tinker with custom code and/or create my own little SmartApps for certain automations I have in mind; but Rule Machine can do pretty much all of it now. I just haven’t taken the time to transfer things over to it.

I have used SmartTiles and it’s awesome! I haven’t used the latest iteration because my better half didn’t like the idea of dedicated tablets around the house. Screens are like crack-cocaine to our infant, and we’re trying to delay that obsession as long as we can!

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a few things to consider:
Set up master control for each room. You can do this with virtual devices in ST.

Use smart switches, not smart bulbs. You don’t need individual control of every bulb in your house (and switches are much more economical than bulbs).

Use automations whenever you can. My basement lights are only on motion detectors. I haven’t touched a switch or an app button in 12 months.

Use dashboards when you can’t use physical switches or automations. A small system might have a single 7" tablet for central control. A big system might have a 10" tablet for central control, and smaller tablet/phone in each room. The smaller tablets only show a dashboard of the stuff in that room.

Start small.

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