What if Smartthings dissapears or is hacked

(James) #1
  • If they are hacked, can they control my home, unlock my doors and setoff sirens or turn off my water?
  • If Samsung kills them or they no longer provide a web serviuce 5 years down the road, are we all screwed because there is no cloud to talk to? What then?

(Beckwith) #2

Since we have access to our homes through the Internet that is a possibility regardless of the mechanism.

Could happen though we still have our local devices. Regardless, the technology will probably change and we will change with it and replace everything.

(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #3

The investment you have in Devices will likely be safe due to ZigBee, Z-Wave and other communication protocols surviving.

All your effort to configure the devices, set up SmartApps (and Hello Home Phrases), link to third-party services, and “our” effort to build, modify, or buy SmartApps will be wiped out.

I consider this a realistic and very serious concern.

The desirable solution would be SmartThings open-sourcing their Cloud (and API) so anyone could replicate it before or after such an event. Alternatively, we could stick to external processing for much logic (eg IFTTT).

One new vendor is working on an open cloud… Let me know what you think… http://canopy.link

…Terry CP.

(Geko) #4

Don’t know about you guys, but my prepping strategy is to stock up non perishable foods and ammo.

(Todd Wackford) #5

What about a “spider hole”?

(Patrick Stuart [@pstuart]) #6

Oh, and since all the code is open and groovy is a known standard, its not like recreating almost anything wouldn’t be possible in another system.

Plus, this was a startup a few years ago, its not like if ST went away, a few smart devs couldn’t throw together some web services to redirect the hub to and recreate the functionality on a limited scale.

Where one thing falls, something else fills the space…

I’m not worried… If the worst were to happen, its just another challenge…

(Morgan) #7

@pstuart It wouldn’t be impossible to recreate it, but the amount of effort would be bad. If ST has to stop supporting their cloud setup, or if they are compromised like Sony Playstation network in the past it could be bad.

I’ve purchased a ton of Z-wave devices just so I can be compatible if I were to switch. It gets a little worrisome now that Revolv isn’t an option anymore though.

I think people need to understand that, it is a risk but not a super high risk and understand that before investing in the platform. Just like they need to understand if they have flaky internet their system will not work great. People are use to lights just working, you flip the switch and it is on or you replace a bulb. It is different expectation than people have for Cable, or Internet or even Phone service.

(James) #8

is the communication between the hub and the st cloud encrypted?

(Geko) #9

Yes, it uses SSL, but that’s no obstacle to our NSA friends, as we’re painfully aware.

(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #10

Not correct as far as I understand, @pstuart:

  • SmartThings’s internal libraries which process SmartApps, Device
    Types, and provide the API to the Apps and external-REST calls, are
    NOT open source. (i.e., All the code we can see is just the tip of
    the iceberg; the processing engine and storage structure, etc., and
    the mobile Apps, are entirely proprietary, not open. The firmware of the SmartHub is also proprietary closed source.

  • Any individual SmartApp developer can request that SmartThings publishes their
    SmartApp as closed-source (see the “publish” button in the IDE).
    The same button says that this closed-sourcing option is not
    applicable to Device Handlers, but I am unaware of why this
    distinction exists.

I believe there are alternative vendors who are committed to a fully open-source business model, though they are difficult to compare to SmartThings. I’m thinking of Ninja Blocks, for example (perhaps the Ninja Sphere too?), possibly WigWag (don’t get me started), and http://www.canopy.link


(Geko) #11

That… or run an open-source Apple HomeKit bridge on a RaspberryPi and control your Hues using Siri :smile:

(Acastal) #13

If it was really really really open ST could provide the server side source so we could run it locally on a linux box and redirect DNS or something :slight_smile:

(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #14


But then, what would SmartThings’s business (revenue) model be? At $99/hub minus the expenses to run the SmartCloud and provide support, I doubt they have significant net income. Hardware margins are pretty small unless you sell millions of devices … I guess that will happen eventually. But I’m guessing that SmartThings hopes they can leverage their proprietary cloud (storage, integration, and execution environment) as a significantly higher margin revenue stream.

(George) #15

The best thing for them to do would be to invest where it will 1. Satisfy the installed base current issues and 2. Innovate to differentiate. Many version 0.x software platforms need to be rewritten over time – nothing more than we would do. Be honest, you’d do most things different if you did them over again. That takes time and prudence - we should be patient with them on then basics. However, on the UI and logic, they nred to innovate seriously. Competitors are, and those innovating on the front end may sway more users than one expects. The devices transfer, that was a good investment for us. But, the bigger investment we made is in the logic. As long as the replacement has as good or better mechanism, the logic in our heads is worth more than that in code. Personally, I’d jump for a good looking GRAPHICAL UI And Decision Tables… SmartThings is still the best and I am planning my next implementation, but I sure hope they make a huge upgrade to the apps. That would make me much more vested in them.

(George) #16

Meant to add, a serious upgrade in the hub and UI I and I’d accept the price doubling.

(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #17

The thing is, the mass consumer market (which is likely SmartThings by Samsung’s target), quite likely has significant demand cost-elasticity. While “we” are aware that the cost of devices easily outweighs the cost of the hub, and that hub and client quality is worth extra money, it is quite conceivable that SmartThings’s marketing is strategically aimed to appeal to starter-households, and the base entry price of sub-$100 is critical (or sub-$200 with some functional Devices, a la “kits”).

(Virucyde) #18

They could do what most of the open-source cloud systems do. They provide the option of hosting it locally, while simultaneously providing a reasonably priced service for those who prefer to have someone else host the service.

Cloud9 is an example of an online IDE that did so, and that canopy.link website showed another Internet of Things company that appears to be doing exactly that. I think it’s not as much of a money maker, but it’s certainly not unthinkable.

(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #19

Good comment; but I’ve quoted the key part of your post.

SmartThings (a subsidiary of Samsung Inc.) exists to make money. It is not a charity, it is not an Open Source company. The profit margin from hardware sales (especially just the hub) is pretty small. On the other hand, the premium added to the price of an appliance (such as a Samsung Refrigerator) gained by just adding a low resolution slow tablet and WiFi (sub-$100 cost of materials) is quite high.

But neither of those compares to the profit they hope to make by selling integration (device handlers and apps), partnerships (integration with home security and home insurance companies, fitness, … who knows?), and aggregation of our data for marketing purposes (since marketing / advertising is obviously where all the money in the world is: Just look at the valuations of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Yahoo, Amazon … These companies make very little money on hardware and software sales (if any); all their income comes from selling ads (or, in the case of Amazon, commissions on selling products sold by anybody in the Amazon Marketplace, but aggressively suggested by the Amazon data algorithms).

The idea of “consumer connected things” does have inherent value. Heck, plain old home automation has value, and that’s why very expensive systems like Control4 and Crestron and others, exist. But I’m pretty sure the long term survival of SmartThings will depend on “the cloud” as that is the only way they can 100% capture all the data and integrations needed to profit from consumers’ “voluntary” loss of privacy.

Iris vs Smartthing120-Volt White Smart Plug
SmartThings recent failures in stability and support
How does ST make its money?