Would you recommend a newbie to invest in SmartThings? (UK)


#1

I was fortunate to recieve a ST Hub v2 as a gift. I am a technologist by profession but have yet to dabble in home automation.

At first I was excited to see what was possible. I already had Samsung SmartCams - both indoor and outdoor.

But then after digging into things a bit - the frustration has set in…

  • That the Samsung Outdoor Cam is not supported but the indoor version is?
  • That motion detection on the SmartCams is not available to use?
  • Samsung announced integration with their Smart TV’s over 10 months ago - then nothing but silence
  • That the UK list of compatible devices is woeful compared to the US? (are they really that different to support?)

I have read the various threads on this forum that address some of the reasoning behind why the above is not available - but none of it seems really credible.

I have emailed SmartThings support and fair play they respond quickly but with a generic ‘we don’t have any info - sorry’.

I don’t blame them - I have been at the mercy of R&D and Product Development myself - so I know they are only allowed to say so much.

But its patently clear Samsungs roadmaps are either non-existent - or lack decent support to be released in appropriate time spans.

So this has now left me looking at other solutions. Nothing seems to be a show-stopper. Many review sites still recommend SmartThings over others - but with caveats and warnings.

But the more I look into - the more it seems best to go with something like Alexa - or Google Home - and use that to bridge to the different solutions. So get something like Philips Hue and just have those Assistants deal with it - or use IFTTT.

So my question to the regulars and long-timers on here - if you had to start again - with the experience of Samsungs lamentable delivery in products - would you still choose SmartThings?

I am fortunate that I havent personally invested too much yet - and can jump ship. Which is where I am leaning to. Just not sure what yet.


(Joe) #2

Right now smartThings is probably one of the better Home Automation systems on the market. Would I choose it again?
Yes - but only if it was 4 years ago. Now there are so many up an coming products that look promising here in the US. Wink 2 looks promising, Home Kit looks promising, and then there are many of the paid service provider options. (AT&T and Time Warner just to name a couple)

Knowing what I know now, I could have probably went with a more Basic, more reliable product. SmartThings excels in it’s flexibility but lacks in stability. Much of what I do is just cool little macros with my lights and door locks so I have stopped buying products compatible with smartThings until I see how HomeKit and Wink 2 evolve.

Here is the question you should be asking yourself. "Am I starting my venture into Home Automation as a hobby or do I want a reliable house?"
If you like to tinker with things smartThings is a fantastic system. I enjoyed it for a few years, but now I need something I don’t have to troubleshoot at least once a month.


#3

This might be of interest. It lists both US and UK options. (This is a clickable link) :


#4

I’d recommend it, just don’t put all of your trust in it. With a support forum like the one we have here, there’s almost always someone to point you in the correct direction, sometimes even to support. lol


#5

I am a newbie, got my hub just a couple of weeks ago.

It seems quite a good platform, but as others have said, I wouldn’t trust it with some items. Home security for example. I wouldn’t trust it in any way to act as a house alarm.

It seems great for stuff like automatic lights, and integration with the Amazon Echo makes for some very cool stuff, especially with the AskAlexa app, but if those items fail, then your house isn’t going to flood, or be burgled. So Im just concious about what I let it into and what I dont.


(Pizzinini) #6

It may be a good idea to add new devices that will also work with other hubs if you ever decide to switch. The most basic are zwave or zigbee light switches or bulbs.


#7

U.K. Topic, though. Not many switches available in the U.K., but the in wall micros will also work with other certified Z wave controllers.


(Marc) #8

If my ST hub would die tomorrow, I would either purchase the Wink 2 or Vera and also purchase a ST 2 hub for some of the automatons that Vera/Wink cannot handle such as Blinds, Harmony, Alexa integrations. I would never go through the effort again of rebuilding my entire ST setup both from a software and hardware perspective. I would put that effort into something that has a more reliable way of rebuilding such as Wink2.

I really wish Wink would integrate with Harmony as I use their remotes to control lights which works great with ST. I am surprised they haven’t integrated this yet.


#9

Just for clarity: this is a U.K. topic.

Harmony is available in the U.K… Vera, of course, is very popular in the EU and U.K. Wink is only sold in the US.

It’s still helpful to know how US community members feel about their existing setups, I just wanted to mention that alternatives will be somewhat different.


#10

Thanks guys - this great.

To answer one of the questions - which was actually very pertinent - although I am very much at the hobby/playing with stage - anything I get up and running I want to be reliable and work. Not have to fix every other day. I am on the edge of diving in - and really want it to be a working smart home.

Part of me is thinking get Alexa - and then surround with separate compatible solutions - like Nest/Philips etc. Not even sure there is a need for a Hub like ST’s per say? Especially if IFTTT is there.

But then also facing the Google Home Vs Alexa debate. On the one hand - Alexa has the lead and a good integration set already. But you can’t dismiss Googles data set. It will surely catch up. And its natural language is obviously leagues ahead of Alexa


(Steve) #11

Should you invest in ST? By the sounds of it you already have the hub so why not use it to play around with? If you stick with either ZigBee or Zwave then you can easily* move them to another hub with a bit of work. Yes, there is time lost but not money.

Yes, I have had a few hiccups with mine, but overall I have been very happy and have no plans on moving away any time soon!

  • = in most cases. Some devices are locked (IE Philips Hue) once assigned and need special reset commands unless you use the original hub…

#12

To be fair I invested in this stuff for fun - wanted to achieve at least automating my lights completely - turn on if there is motion, off when there is none, depending on lux or other factors like tv power consumption etc - I think I was able to achieve it and more less got missus approval - if there werent the scenarios when routines dont execute, lights dont switch off or on and you are again chasing the bug in the system - though you didnt change a thing and it was working fine for days even weeks …

Thats whats frustrating - not even the lack of support of devices. I have stopped looking into extending anything simply for that reason and there were days when I was amost about to throw everything out the door and just go with lights only with the Hue range limited capabilities but it seems to work. With the recent announcements of their motion sensors you may even get some additional features …

Reading on here that people rely on ST to maintain their fish tank or similar with my experience makes me shiver - I cant really call this reliable but a fun thing and surely not a security monitor …

Would I recommend this to anyone? Possibly no the market seems to be too immature for consumers - and new devices pop up every month it seems - a new fud … lets see what develops - generally I think things would be easier if people have local processing and sdks available as it allows clever people to develop, improve their codebase without external factors to be considered or code changes taking place without their knowledge…

To me its almost at a point you are happy everything works and things start breaking again … for no reason …


#13

Just to clarify for those who might be new to this:

SmartThings only recommends using Hue devices which are connected to a Hue bridge. The integration then goes from the smartthings hub to the hue bridge, and hue bridge passes along the request to the individual hue bulbs. If you use this method you don’t need any special reset commands, and nothing gets locked in. You’ll be able to use the same bridge and bulbs with many other devices and integrations.

The problem only arises if you go against the recommended method and connect a Hue bulb directly to the SmartThings hub without using the bridge. If you do this, for technical reasons it is possible that you could end up with the bulb that cannot be connected again to Hue bridge without a full reset, and that’s where the complications occur.

There are discussion threads in the forums about this particular issue, but as long as you’re using the hue bridge, you’ll never run into that particular problem. :sunglasses:


#14

And I even forgot about the sometimes minimal integration from the ST team with regards to device handlers not providing the devices capabilities in full or missing really useful features, crippling devices and then you dont get the code to remediate it …

Sometimes you dont recognise its there but then other days its nerve wrecking …


(Wayne) #15

Apart from the recent hue problems with lag and unreachable devices :smiley:


#16

Good point, I edited my post above. :sunglasses:


(Steve) #17

To be honest, anything that has a heavy reliance on external cloud services is going to have its issues occasionally, and should be designed accordingly.

I am doing my house with this very thing in mind, as well as not everybody who comes into my house want to use a tablet or phone to switch on a light! So I use devices which can still have a manual switch input for example…

IMHO, the design should compliment standard switches and controls, or have an order ride manual button (such as the ST socket, to the TKB socket…) rather than replace them in all but some cases (IE my kitchen lights are on a aeon in wall relay which allows me to control it via a switch and hub, but my outside garden lights are not really a ‘critical feature’ and am happy enough if there is a lag, or they don’t come on one day!