• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."

The Wink home automation thread

Page 158 - Seeking answers? Join the AnandTech community: where nearly half-a-million members share solutions and discuss the latest tech.

IndyColtsFan

Lifer
Sep 22, 2007
33,303
468
126
WebCoRE is awesome and is almost a requirement IMO.

Supposedly the new ST app will have better rules capability, but I've not seen it so I can't confirm. HA still remains in the realm of the technically adept and probably will for a few more years. I think ST is probably the consumer-level system with the best chance at this point though Samsung makes some boneheaded decisions and Amazon may eat their lunch. Wink is dead and Hubitat, while nice, is just too small and requires even more technical expertise than ST. Hubitat also lacks a good interface and mobile app and that will prevent it from hitting critical mass and the consumer market IMO.

Speaking of dead, I think Blink is about dead too. They have nice products and I really thought Amazon buying them would result in a series of rapid releases and announcements, but they're like 8 months late on their doorbell release and haven't released a new software feature in months. My guess is that Amazon is going to kill them and roll their existing cameras into Ring.
 

gorcorps

aka Brandon
Jul 18, 2004
30,622
359
126
WebCoRE is awesome and is almost a requirement IMO.

Supposedly the new ST app will have better rules capability, but I've not seen it so I can't confirm. HA still remains in the realm of the technically adept and probably will for a few more years. I think ST is probably the consumer-level system with the best chance at this point though Samsung makes some boneheaded decisions and Amazon may eat their lunch. Wink is dead and Hubitat, while nice, is just too small and requires even more technical expertise than ST. Hubitat also lacks a good interface and mobile app and that will prevent it from hitting critical mass and the consumer market IMO.

Speaking of dead, I think Blink is about dead too. They have nice products and I really thought Amazon buying them would result in a series of rapid releases and announcements, but they're like 8 months late on their doorbell release and haven't released a new software feature in months. My guess is that Amazon is going to kill them and roll their existing cameras into Ring.
I've been using Smartthings classic. The "newer" smartthings app is broken as far as I can tell. It doesn't recognize the z-wave switch I installed as something that can be controlled, even though smartthings classic recognizes it just fine. It also has a pretty subpar interface, so I'm not sure what they were thinking here.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
314
126
Aren’t we all just random posters?
No, not at all. I consider your advice WAY above what I see elsewhere because I know you have the personal experience of doing this for years now.

Speaking of which, I would love to hear your thoughts on Smarthings for the long run. Does the new app or their new focus on mass user simplicity (aka the whole QR scanning trick) make you nervous at all? Do you have a backup plan in case Samsung screws up a good thing?

This month I am going crazy with smarthome spending. Soon every single light switch except bathrooms will be GE switches or dimmers, and I just started getting into motion sensors and using those to trigger lights. So far I have bought a few smarthings branded sensors and some Monoprice Z Wave ones and I am trying to make it work. I would hate if this investment ends up locking me into a dead end but that seems to be the big risk when it comes to this stuff right now.
 

MaxDepth

Diamond Member
Jun 12, 2001
8,758
43
91
I know you're expecting Indy to reply but two things that really, really makes me hesitate with home automation right now -
- no backhaul standard, meaning no standard backbone of communication. Sure we have TCP/IP but that's throwing everything through it - everything and unsecure (yeah, encryption can be there but that's still sending encrypted data across TCP/IP of the Internet - which leads me to my next point...

- Everything relies on individual remote services, so you are at the mercy of the IoT object provisioner and ISP to make that request go round trip. Right now, everything is "free" but that's because you're giving them data to be sliced, diced and repackaged and sold or used in their own sales force. And will there come a time when IFTTT is no longer free? Well, in a way it has already happened in that you get only so many trigger events free. Also, I don't like asking the Internet for permission to turn off a light three feet away.

No, not at all. I consider your advice WAY above what I see elsewhere because I know you have the personal experience of doing this for years now.
 

gorcorps

aka Brandon
Jul 18, 2004
30,622
359
126
I know you're expecting Indy to reply but two things that really, really makes me hesitate with home automation right now -
- no backhaul standard, meaning no standard backbone of communication. Sure we have TCP/IP but that's throwing everything through it - everything and unsecure (yeah, encryption can be there but that's still sending encrypted data across TCP/IP of the Internet - which leads me to my next point...

- Everything relies on individual remote services, so you are at the mercy of the IoT object provisioner and ISP to make that request go round trip. Right now, everything is "free" but that's because you're giving them data to be sliced, diced and repackaged and sold or used in their own sales force. And will there come a time when IFTTT is no longer free? Well, in a way it has already happened in that you get only so many trigger events free. Also, I don't like asking the Internet for permission to turn off a light three feet away.
Sounds familiar... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqp8_ROAIJY
 

MaxDepth

Diamond Member
Jun 12, 2001
8,758
43
91
I agree WebCoRE is pretty neat, there is a lot to like about it. Hubitat is really new to me and it's heart is RuleMachine, which was written (and then pulled) for Smart Things. So just right there, it's hard to have dependencies on something when it can go away at any time.

So yes, Hubitat advertises local operation but it really is limited to switches and basic things. I did see a funny post on their users page where the Hubitat team was crowdsourcing the testing of devices (what have you got working with Hubitat?) Nice to see people paying for something to be an alpha/beta tester.

There are a ton others I haven't looked at yet like Hass.io.
 

IndyColtsFan

Lifer
Sep 22, 2007
33,303
468
126
No, not at all. I consider your advice WAY above what I see elsewhere because I know you have the personal experience of doing this for years now.

Speaking of which, I would love to hear your thoughts on Smarthings for the long run. Does the new app or their new focus on mass user simplicity (aka the whole QR scanning trick) make you nervous at all? Do you have a backup plan in case Samsung screws up a good thing?

This month I am going crazy with smarthome spending. Soon every single light switch except bathrooms will be GE switches or dimmers, and I just started getting into motion sensors and using those to trigger lights. So far I have bought a few smarthings branded sensors and some Monoprice Z Wave ones and I am trying to make it work. I would hate if this investment ends up locking me into a dead end but that seems to be the big risk when it comes to this stuff right now.
My advice is to always buy sensors which support industry standards such as Zwave and Zigbee. Proprietary stuff (like a few of the Wink gadgets) will probably not end well.

I do fear Samsung may clamp down on SmartThings in the future, and I already have a backup plan in case that happens: Hubitat. I haven’t played with my Hubitat hub as much as I’d like to, but I do have a few devices on it and have long been contemplating if I should gradually move devices over to it. I’ve been waiting for it to gradually mature but at some point I see myself moving critical functions over to it.
 

IndyColtsFan

Lifer
Sep 22, 2007
33,303
468
126
I agree WebCoRE is pretty neat, there is a lot to like about it. Hubitat is really new to me and it's heart is RuleMachine, which was written (and then pulled) for Smart Things. So just right there, it's hard to have dependencies on something when it can go away at any time.

So yes, Hubitat advertises local operation but it really is limited to switches and basic things. I did see a funny post on their users page where the Hubitat team was crowdsourcing the testing of devices (what have you got working with Hubitat?) Nice to see people paying for something to be an alpha/beta tester.

There are a ton others I haven't looked at yet like Hass.io.
Hubitat actually works with quite a bit of stuff. As far as crowdsourcing the testing of the devices, you're missing some major points about who Hubitat is and who their base is:

1. Hubitat is built by former ST community developers and as such, it is compatible with most ST code with minor tweaks.
2. Most users are also former ST users who already have a ton of devices, so it makes sense to use that large install base to help build your device inventory.

WebCoRE is either working on or close to working on Hubitat as well (haven't looked lately), so that will be a huge addition. Regarding Rule Machine - you know the author of Rule Machine is one of those frustrated ST users who cofounded Hubitat, right? It's clear why he pulled it from ST now.
 

luv2liv

Diamond Member
Dec 27, 2001
3,326
83
91
just got my SmartThings hub on Wed. was able to set everything up properly. Then on Friday, all devices unavailable. i got a warning message saying my hub is offline. i pulled the power plug and cat5 cable out several times... still offline. weird because other wired devices on the same switch were online.

then i read online others report their hubs occasionally go offline too because of something on Samsung's side. how often does this occur?
 

IndyColtsFan

Lifer
Sep 22, 2007
33,303
468
126
just got my SmartThings hub on Wed. was able to set everything up properly. Then on Friday, all devices unavailable. i got a warning message saying my hub is offline. i pulled the power plug and cat5 cable out several times... still offline. weird because other wired devices on the same switch were online.

then i read online others report their hubs occasionally go offline too because of something on Samsung's side. how often does this occur?
There was an outage yesterday, which caused issues. It doesn’t happen very often, but I’ve been noticing some really slow response times tonight and for the past few days.
 
Last edited:

realibrad

Lifer
Oct 18, 2013
12,337
892
126
I will be moving soon and will be doing as much automation that my budget allows. Right now I have all bedrooms and the kitchen on TP-Link switches, Nest thermostat, multiple lamps on outlet adapters, living room tv on harmony hub, front door lock. The issue I have now is that I'm using too many different brands and each has their own software which is annoying. So when I move, I'm going to try and pick a brand (probably TP-Link) and go from there. I'm also going to set up a wifi network just for the automation, and a 2nd for everyone else.

I don't know if I can ever go back to living without home automation. That said, so many things are now connected to my network that it has me worried.
 

MaxDepth

Diamond Member
Jun 12, 2001
8,758
43
91
Yup. I just wish the world was a bit different so he would not have to been disingenuous with our ST users when he pulled his stuff from GitHub. I guess it's too hard to say, 'sorry folks, but I'm going to take this private so I can earn a paycheck from it.'

I remember a bunch of people bitching that not only did he pull it but he told people to delete it from their systems. I did hear of another story where he told a person they could not fork his work. I cannot trace that down to confirm it, but regardless, he can't unring that bell. Once it had been released on GitHub under GPL, that version is still treated as such.

I took a more extensive look to see if Hubitat impacted any of my work but it hasn't.

From all the IoT offerings out there, I really don't think we've moved that far from the old X10 stuff except for a prettier UI and scheduler. Sure, I'm glossing over a lot but for the home user like grandma, I don't see much advancement.


Regarding Rule Machine - you know the author of Rule Machine is one of those frustrated ST users who cofounded Hubitat, right? It's clear why he pulled it from ST now.
 

IndyColtsFan

Lifer
Sep 22, 2007
33,303
468
126
I’ve been having considerable issues with SmartThings lately. So many, in fact, that I think I’ve decided to go ahead and start transitioning everything to Hubitat this fall. It all seemed to start around the time I switched to a Samsung account (from the normal ST account), but many others are also see lots of delays and other issues as well. This is going to really suck since I have over 180 devices and probably 30-40 more left to install.
 

gorcorps

aka Brandon
Jul 18, 2004
30,622
359
126
I don't have many devices at all, but have noticed the but disconnect several times in the past month which is a bummer. I might try switching as well, but I might have to do some research first.
 

MaxDepth

Diamond Member
Jun 12, 2001
8,758
43
91
Wow, over 200 devices? And at least one trigger for each one?

I’ve been having considerable issues with SmartThings lately. So many, in fact, that I think I’ve decided to go ahead and start transitioning everything to Hubitat this fall. It all seemed to start around the time I switched to a Samsung account (from the normal ST account), but many others are also see lots of delays and other issues as well. This is going to really suck since I have over 180 devices and probably 30-40 more left to install.
 

IndyColtsFan

Lifer
Sep 22, 2007
33,303
468
126
Wow, over 200 devices? And at least one trigger for each one?
I have a bad tendency of buying devices when on sale and buying devices to build experimental automations, which I sometimes never get around to doing. I probably should scale back to the bare minimum.
 

Zaap

Diamond Member
Jun 12, 2008
7,151
413
126
I'm just starting to get my house automated, but this subject is fascinating to me.

I felt a bit godlike last night coming home way late.. everyone was asleep in the house, but I remembered my fledgling automation efforts... as I came in from the garage a button press and a pathway of dimmed lights led the way for me without touching a switch.

Now I've got the bug, big time. I want everything in the house connected, voice controlled, automated.

So far I've just got a Philips hub and Amazon echo/Alexa thing-a-ma-bobs. I can control lights,(not all rooms yet, but working on that), TVs, and the iRobot vacuum whatcha-ma-do. Working on the ceiling fans (Minka Aire, which apparently are controllable with the right hardware) and hopefully the garage door, my wife's Theromix (I've heard tell its controllable though finding info on it is sketchy) and anything else that's possible.

No idea what exactly I should be looking into getting next, but I'm researching it. Starting with reading through this thread!
 

IndyColtsFan

Lifer
Sep 22, 2007
33,303
468
126
I'm just starting to get my house automated, but this subject is fascinating to me.

I felt a bit godlike last night coming home way late.. everyone was asleep in the house, but I remembered my fledgling automation efforts... as I came in from the garage a button press and a pathway of dimmed lights led the way for me without touching a switch.

Now I've got the bug, big time. I want everything in the house connected, voice controlled, automated.

So far I've just got a Philips hub and Amazon echo/Alexa thing-a-ma-bobs. I can control lights,(not all rooms yet, but working on that), TVs, and the iRobot vacuum whatcha-ma-do. Working on the ceiling fans (Minka Aire, which apparently are controllable with the right hardware) and hopefully the garage door, my wife's Theromix (I've heard tell its controllable though finding info on it is sketchy) and anything else that's possible.

No idea what exactly I should be looking into getting next, but I'm researching it. Starting with reading through this thread!
You need an HA hub. Avoid Wink at all costs. I'd recommend SmartThings and Hubitat, though admittedly, SmartThings has been a little rough lately. There are some other choices as well - Home Assistant, Vera, etc, but I'm not familiar with them. I've used Wink, SmartThings, and Hubitat personally. SmartThings has the most support by far, but Hubitat is a young platform with 100% local execution and is growing fast. I'm probably going to start moving to Hubitat after my vacation.

Some cool things I do with SmartThings currently:
1. When my wife and I leave in the morning, SmartThings detects when we leave our GeoFence and arms cameras, smart home monitor, turns off my wife's bathroom outlet, and resets the ecobee thermostat back to the schedule.
2. If one of us re-enters the GeoFence, the house is disarmed (cameras and smart home monitor).
3. If neither of us enter the GeoFence by 7:30, a vacation light simulator kicks off and randomly triggers lights. It can also turn the TV on/off as well, which I haven't implemented yet.
4. If neither if us enter the GeoFence by 10:30 PM, certain lights trigger.

There's also a SmartThings thread here, but I haven't updated it in awhile.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Zaap

Zaap

Diamond Member
Jun 12, 2008
7,151
413
126
You need an HA hub. Avoid Wink at all costs. I'd recommend SmartThings and Hubitat, though admittedly, SmartThings has been a little rough lately. There are some other choices as well - Home Assistant, Vera, etc, but I'm not familiar with them. I've used Wink, SmartThings, and Hubitat personally. SmartThings has the most support by far, but Hubitat is a young platform with 100% local execution and is growing fast. I'm probably going to start moving to Hubitat after my vacation.

Some cool things I do with SmartThings currently:
1. When my wife and I leave in the morning, SmartThings detects when we leave our GeoFence and arms cameras, smart home monitor, turns off my wife's bathroom outlet, and resets the ecobee thermostat back to the schedule.
2. If one of us re-enters the GeoFence, the house is disarmed (cameras and smart home monitor).
3. If neither of us enter the GeoFence by 7:30, a vacation light simulator kicks off and randomly triggers lights. It can also turn the TV on/off as well, which I haven't implemented yet.
4. If neither if us enter the GeoFence by 10:30 PM, certain lights trigger.

There's also a SmartThings thread here, but I haven't updated it in awhile.
Thanks for the info! I don't know a wink from a HA from a hole in the ground thus far.

Awesome stuff you're doing with this! Lots of great ideas. Turning off the bathroom outlet..! (recalling the few times I've found a live hair curler left in the bathroom when she was in a hurry...) that's a brilliant idea!

This GeoFence thing sounds amazing.

Sounds like Hubitat is the way to go? I don't think I'll ever achieve your level of automated home, but it'll be nice to know whatever I invest in can be expanded in the future.

Waaaaay back when I had those old X10 switches on everything and I thought that was pretty nifty- now all this new stuff blows my mind. So much more advanced!
 

IndyColtsFan

Lifer
Sep 22, 2007
33,303
468
126
Thanks for the info! I don't know a wink from a HA from a hole in the ground thus far.

Awesome stuff you're doing with this! Lots of great ideas. Turning off the bathroom outlet..! (recalling the few times I've found a live hair curler left in the bathroom when she was in a hurry...) that's a brilliant idea!
That is *exactly* why I did it. We carpool in the morning and I got tired of having to frequently turn around because she thought she left her hair flat iron plugged in and powered. Now, it doesn't matter - the outlet gets turned off when we leave and then she has to turn it back on in the morning to use it. I've also got sensors on my garage doors and I receive text messages when they open or close - I'd often be in a hurry and couldn't remember for sure if I closed the door but now, I just have to look at my text messages or view a camera in the garage. I could automate that even more by getting smart garage door openers but I'm a little leary of those.

This GeoFence thing sounds amazing.

Sounds like Hubitat is the way to go? I don't think I'll ever achieve your level of automated home, but it'll be nice to know whatever I invest in can be expanded in the future.

Waaaaay back when I had those old X10 switches on everything and I thought that was pretty nifty- now all this new stuff blows my mind. So much more advanced!
I'm just starting to get into Hubitat now, even though I preordered it and received it in January. I like SmartThings - I like it a lot, in fact, but it seems to work rock solid and fast for a few months and then work sporadically for awhile. Here are some other comparisons:

1. Hubitat doesn't have a mobile app, while SmartThings does. I believe they are building a mobile app for Hubitat but I have no ETA. For Hubitat, they have a dashboard you use in a mobile browser.
2. SmartThings has a big community and a lot of device support from that community, whereas Hubitat may not natively support as many devices, but it is largely compatible (or semi-compatible) with SmartThings device code so most of those integrations from ST will work with Hubitat one way or another. Many SmartThings community members are moving to Hubitat because the founders of Hubitat were former SmartThings community developers who got tired of SmartThings and they've tried to leverage a lot of the code from SmartThings while building a better platform.
3. Hubitat runs everything (except cloud integrated HA devices) locally, whereas SmartThings is more cloud-focused with SOME local execution.
4. SmartThings has a HUGE Achille's heel and it is another reason I will probably start moving to Hubitat more seriously. There is NO - none, nada, zip - way to back up your SmartThings hub. If my hub died tomorrow, I am screwed - I'd have to add my devices back manually to a new ST hub. Hubitat makes an allowance for this - the zwave/ZigBee antenna is an external USB dongle so if that hub dies, you can order a new hub, plug in your old stick, and everything should connect back up - or at least, that's my understanding.
5. SmartThings has the community developed webCoRE, which is an incredible rules and automation engine. A version of webCoRE exists for Hubitat (I just installed it last week), but I haven't tested to see how it works in comparison to SmartThings' version. webCoRE made such a huge impact on SmartThings that Samsung actually hired the guy who wrote it to work on the SmartThings team.
6. Samsung is exerting more and more control over SmartThings and is pushing them to implement things in a way which is probably too aggressive, IMO. Since last fall, we've seen a lot of instability because Samsung made promises about SmartThings at one of the many trade conferences and SmartThings is killing themselves (and making a lot of mistakes) trying to meet those commitments. Samsung's goal is to make SmartThings the central nervous system for ALL of their product lines - appliances, HA, etc.
7. SmartThings has another third-party piece of software called ActionTiles, which allows you to build custom home automation dashboards. Many people buy the cheap Amazon Fire tablets, the Fully browser, and mount them on the walls around the house for control purposes. I don't believe ActionTiles exists for Hubitat yet, but Hubitat does have other dashboard tools.

My advice would be that if you want to experiment now, the SmartThings v2 hub often does on sale for around $50 so it is a cheap way to enter HA and play.around with it. I'd steer clear of the SmartThings v3 hub - v2 is actually more powerful.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Zaap

Zaap

Diamond Member
Jun 12, 2008
7,151
413
126
^ Again, IndyColtsFan, thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Your garage door functionality is exactly what I want as well. I don't need to automate opening and closing the door since really remotes do that- but same as you there's been many times I've wondered "Did I close it?" as I'm halfway to work.

I'll look into both Hubitat and SmartThings v2.

One thing that concerns me with all of this is WAF. Mine hates when things don't work easily-- if she can't just reliably say "Alexia do X... " or push a button on her smart phone and X happens, she'll likely refuse to use whatever it is.

Would you say any system is more wife-friendly than another?

I've got two young sons and I know those two can figure out just about anything so I've no worries with them.

I can already see a lot of benefits to when we're out of town for any length of time, I can just automate the house to appear as if we're home. And I love the idea of automation sending us useful info like packages/mail delivered, someone at the door, etc.

Awesome stuff!
 

IndyColtsFan

Lifer
Sep 22, 2007
33,303
468
126
WAF is tough. I sold my wife on it when I automated our Christmas lights and then added voice control to the rest via Alexa. With the SmartThings issues lately, however, she has been more vocal. One thing I did in my garage was to automate all the lights. Opening any of my 3 garage doors turns the outside lanterns and inside lights on. Also, opening the door from the house to the garage turns the inside lights on. Well, with the delays, etc. we’ve been seeing lately, sometimes there is a big delay. She gets mad about that specifically.
 

realibrad

Lifer
Oct 18, 2013
12,337
892
126
WAF is tough. I sold my wife on it when I automated our Christmas lights and then added voice control to the rest via Alexa. With the SmartThings issues lately, however, she has been more vocal. One thing I did in my garage was to automate all the lights. Opening any of my 3 garage doors turns the outside lanterns and inside lights on. Also, opening the door from the house to the garage turns the inside lights on. Well, with the delays, etc. we’ve been seeing lately, sometimes there is a big delay. She gets mad about that specifically.
That was a big problem when I first started. Any issue I ran into made the GF want to scrap it all because it was too annoying. We got over that.

The other issue was what to name the devices. She wanted to name things "Light" or "TV". I tried to explain to her that would not work because we have different groups and so its not intuitive so when we have guests they are going to turn off our stuff.

She is still annoyed that she has to say "Living room" or "Master" before TV.
 

MaxDepth

Diamond Member
Jun 12, 2001
8,758
43
91
Oh, geez, here I go showing my lack of connection.

WAF - So I know this two ways in conversations.
- Web app firewall, basically use this acronym in conversations with tech peers
- 'White as f---, what my friends say to me, especially when I or someone we know are showing our racial insensitivity.

So I'm guessing 'wife... (and)...'?
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
jsimenhoff Mobile Devices 0
D Mobile Devices 0

ASK THE COMMUNITY