Your thoughts on SmartHomeDB - The smart home database

I’m Chun and our team just launched SmartHomeDB.

The idea is to aggregate and curate everything mainstream smart home.
All products, compatibilities, consumer reviews, prices and tutorials.

CURRENT STATS AS OF 20141231
Products: 337
Product categories: 69
Open gateways / hubs: 23
Compatibilities: 919

URL: http://www.smarthomedb.com

You may find our Smart Home Leaderboard (Top 20 Industry Players) interesting [pdf]:

If time allows, I would truly appreciate your thoughts on SmartHomeDB.

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Chun,

First thing I see is that the Database is Way Behind. Revolv is listed as Active where as they were purchased by Google and the current product has since been discontinued. This was from well over a month ago, prior to Thanksigivng, so there doesn’t look to be a way for users to contribute to this to keep it current.

-Rob

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I want to collaborate with you on this.

How specifically are you determining device compatibility?
Also can you describe your categorizations of open and closed in regards to hubs?
As an example, harmony hub is listed as open, it however is anything but open. The API is not consumer published, hence trying to understanding your categorization terminology.

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Please note that we are aware of the Revolv situation and it is still on our to-do to delist the hub.

We had not anticipated that we would relatively quickly have to remove/hide any records from our database and a considerable amount of research was invested in researching the open gateways / hubs (especially required for compatibilities research).

But I’ll be making sure that Revolv will be delisted before the end of this week.
UPDATE 20150104: We have delisted Revolv.

There is a way how users can contribute to keep the database current, but we may have to make this functionality more obvious. In every product record’s right top there is an [Improve Data] button via which relevant improvements can be submitted.

Thank you for your input, highly appreciated.

I have pinged you via Linkedin, let’s connect!

We are determining device compatibility based on compatibilities communicated by the product producers themselves, by actual consumers of products and by our own reviews of the products. We are in the process of writing tutorials covering how to install, how to connect to the cloud and how to pair products within the database (thereby simultaneously confirming the actual compatibility).

Our definition of open and closed hubs:

CLOSED HUB:
A Closed Gateway’s main purpose is to purely facilitate pairing with products produced by the same company.

For example, the Philips Hue Bridge’s main purpose is to purely facilitate pairing with other Philips products such as the Philips Hue A19 Bulb (Color) and Philips Hue LightStrips.

OPEN HUB:
An Open Gateway’s philosophy is to facilitate pairing with as many products as possible, no matter whether the products are produced internally or by other companies.

For example, the SmartThings Hub, VeraLite and Wink Hub facilitate pairing with many products produced by other companies.

So in the case of the Logitech Harmony Home Hub, even though they may not have a public API at the moment, they would still be included in our definition of an ‘Open Hub’.

I actually ran across this site randomly the other day, I love it. What would be the easiest way to ask for more products to be added to the DB?

Anybody willing to share their playbook?

http://www.smarthomedb.com/playbook/jayelarex/b951

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Hello Jon, thank you for letting us know our platform has provided you with a positive impression :slight_smile: :+1:

We’ll be opening up the database for ‘open editing’ by approved users and I look forward to provide you with beta access.

For now, it would be great if you could just indicate which data gaps we’re having at the moment via comments in your own playbook or just mailing me directly at chun@smarthomedb.com


One quick question:
Do you perhaps have a suggestion on how we could improve the current playbook experience?

I believe some of the steps are not as simple / straight-forward as they should be and any input you may have is highly appreciated!


Firstly, your system for some reason does not seem to allow @hotmail.co.uk email addresses when setting up a profile [it just reports back Please enter a valid email address]- so it is hard to make a considered comment on the site.

I came across the site frequently a few months back (you must have very good SEO) when trying to research methods of connecting devices (before SmartThings was launched in the UK) and almost every time I clicked on a “How-to” I got the message “We are currently still in the process of writing this specific How-To.” I just tried one random “How-to” today, and still got the same message. I don’t know if you have some way of populating these, or encouraging/incentivising a user community to populate them…as it stands from my earlier experience it gave me the impression of something that was populated automatically and designed to drive traffic to your site to generate ad/referral revenue, rather than providing actually useful content.

Maybe that has changed, if I get the chance to set up a profile and log in I will certainly give it another go.
Maybe I can even help to fill in some of the gaps (you can see my profile on SmartThings)!

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Hi David,

thank you for your valuable input, highly appreciated. :+1:


We were not aware of the .co.uk email validation bug and have resolved it just now.
If possible, it would be great if I could welcome you now properly to our platform :sweat_smile:

www.smarthomedb.com/signup


Our How-To’s can indeed be edited (by registered users) after we give access rights. I would love to provide you with access rights to a few how-to’s to get your feedback on how we could improve the module.

You are right in the sense that we have an in-house build engine that auto-creates How-To landing pages for us to understand what the actual market is looking for (based on page views and email alerts). Our purpose is very much to provide useful content and building out our How-To’s database is a top priority for us this year. We have written a few How-To’s (24) so far, so we still have a lot of work to do:

www.smarthomedb.com/how-tos


The customer who tells you about problems and suggests how things can be improved is the most valuable customer to have.

Would love to receive further input from you. Please note that the next market we are planning to map out is the European market, which I am familiar with. (I’m Dutch-born Singaporean)

As a final note, the direction I am planning to take Playbook is to be able to eventually ‘control’ your setup via the Playbook. For a better understanding, I am thinking of something like this:

As I have mentioned elsewhere there is a serious flaw in the way this website defines “compatible.” Pretty much anything which has an IFTTT channel will likely have all of its dependent devices marked as being compatible with anything else which has An IFTTT channel, which is not what most people mean by compatibility.

For example, the myfox security system has an IFTTT channel. It has a very limited set of triggers, basically when the system is armed or disarmed. Not the state of individual devices for the system.

The smarthomeDB says that the myfox key fob is compatible with SmartThings, which just isn’t true. You cannot buy just the keyfob and have it trigger anything in SmartThings. Moreover, the keyfob by itself does not communicate with IFTTT.

Instead, you would have to buy myfox gateway and the keyfob and set up a Myfox account. At that point you could have the keyfob arm or disarm the gateway, and the gateway could then tell IFT TT that it had been armed or disarmed, and you could then trigger something through the smartthings channel.

But to me, that is a very different thing than saying that the keyfob device itself is compatible with SmartThings.

This problem is persistent throughout the database, making it far less useful then it could be. I would hope in the future a distinction would be made between direct integration and limited indirect integration as with IFTTT. Most importantly, if an additional device is required for integration, such as a gateway, I think that should be indicated prominently.

Submitted with respect.

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@JDRoberts: I fully agree, you’re making valid points which we’re taking into account.

As a first step, we’re planning to differentiate throughout the database between cloud dependent and non-cloud dependent compatibilities, naturally favoring non-cloud dependent compatibilities.

Below an early sketch of what I’m referring to as we had already thought about this issue:

I will let you know once we’ve processed the above throughout the database.

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Thanks Chun! Off the top of my head playing around for a day or so I did have a few ideas:

  • Show the number of total devices.

  • Similar to your idea of having your site control everything, it would be great to add the ability to import your products/devices. I can see how some platforms wouldn’t allow this based on the nature and I can see it being a pain but would be cool. IE: OAUTH to Smarthings ETC. and import all your devices then try to match them based on your DB.

  • The ability to export your playbook to other formats (PNG, SVG PDF ETC.)

  • The ability to create a custom name for devices, for instance: I have 30 GE Links bulbs and adding a few more. With that many it would nice to know which ones are which since I have them named in a specific format/convention within Smarthings.

  • This one is a bit over the top and complicated but… The ability to create rooms/floors. I know this topic has been brought up a few times within this forum but I would love to see all my devices and where they reside in my house.

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@Chun Are you still maintaining this site?