Author Topic: Somebody please convince me to stay.  (Read 1814 times)

Offline walshchristopherj

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Somebody please convince me to stay.
« on: April 10, 2017, 03:47:24 pm »
I have the Vera Plus and I like, it has worked well for the most part.  I wish device integrations were faster with Vera (ie more Bluetooth and Zigbee devices). How many bluetooth have been added in the year we have had this device? I am really anticipating Google Home integration and jealous that SmartThings has it since Google Home was released last fall. I am seriously complementing switching to SmartThings for this feature alone and would like some guidance or convincing to stay. My home automation setup is fairly simple so I don't anticipate any major issues.

Offline becky

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Re: Somebody please convince me to stay.
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2017, 04:40:12 pm »
I just came back from SmartThings after running on it for a couple of months. I had an AWFUL time with ST. 70% of the time, my sunrise/sunset routine would not turn my outside lights on and off. That seems like such a basic routine to run to me, but I would come home during the day and my garage lights would be on. The alexa integration was REALLY buggy. I would tell her to turn off my bedroom light and she would either say, "ok" and not do it, say "ok" and then turn it off 10 minutes after I asked, or tell me she couldn't find the device. Oddly enough, the Beta version they are running on Vera is much more stable and reliable. The app for android was awful, confusing, and didn't make any sense to me.

The only thing I liked about it is that it told me who was home and who was not based on our phones connecting to the wifi. That was the ONLY thing I liked, and I found I rarely used it. Also, their sonos integration has 1/3 of the functionality as the awesome plugin we have on Vera, and I use that a LOT.

So for a simple set up, it may work. Some of people on the community seemed happy. But like Vera, there were a LOT of complaints about support, buggy integration, and terrible user interface. I would say lurk on their community for a few weeks and see what the issues are. I always check out a device's community/forum before I sign up for it because that will tell you where the device falls short.

I came back after 3 VERY frustrating months and an "I told you the grass wasn't greener" from my husband. Take that for what it's worth :)

Offline rafale77

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Re: Somebody please convince me to stay.
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2017, 04:58:54 pm »
If you are feature/novelty greedy then yes the "dumb thing" (pun intended) may work for you. I have friends around me who have it and swear by it. They will admit though that stability is hit and miss and that there is little control over it. To me the cloud control idea is fundamentally flawed. I do not want any of my logic to be in the cloud. I don't want my apps in the cloud. I don't want any cloud to cloud processing. The main reasons are:
1. Lag
2. Lack of control
3. Dependance on your internet connection
4. Dependance on servers which no one knows how long they will stay alive

I you have google home then you are going to need the cloud just like for the amazon echo. Even with the echo, I avoid relying on any cloud to cloud processing.
With the vera, your logic is local. Only you can change it. With ST, someone may make an unwanted update in the cloud and force you to rewrite your logic to fit the changes.
There is a noticeable lag to turn things on with the ST. Much greater than with the Vera:
Your command on ST path go: device -> ST -> router -> cloud (process) -> router -> ST -> zwave
On Vera the command path is: device -> Vera (process) -> zwave
The result is, if I have an internet outage, I can still turn lights on. My automations still work. With ST, you are out of luck if you didn't have a physical button. ST has been trying to correct this with the ST2 having the ability to do some very simple processing but it remains very limited.
The advantage of the cloud base is, it updates like crazy since you don't have to update your unit. The software in the cloud updates and everybody gets all the benefits and the pain too.




127 zwave nodes, 8 zigbee nodes, 256 devices, 17 apps, 128 scenes on a Vera Plus linked with Echo and HomeKit through bridges

Offline walshchristopherj

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Re: Somebody please convince me to stay.
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2017, 07:54:54 am »
Doesn't SmartThings 2 have local processing>

Offline becky

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Re: Somebody please convince me to stay.
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2017, 02:50:09 pm »
The woman that hosts the IoT podcast I listen to every week has a SM2 hub and she loves it. She also has all kinds of crazy devices on it and it seems stable for her. So despite my terrible unstable experience with it, she seems to have the opposite experience.

Here is her website in case you are interested. She features some fun stuff. https://staceyoniot.com/


Offline rafale77

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Re: Somebody please convince me to stay.
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2017, 03:09:22 pm »
Doesn't SmartThings 2 have local processing>
They claim to have limited local processing but it is indeed very limited. It really doesn't for anything that has conditional for example.
127 zwave nodes, 8 zigbee nodes, 256 devices, 17 apps, 128 scenes on a Vera Plus linked with Echo and HomeKit through bridges

Offline jpark40

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Re: Somebody please convince me to stay.
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2017, 02:44:29 pm »
I've had SmartThings V2 Hub for over a year now and I can tell you I would NOT recommend to anyone! I'm looking for alternatives with full local processing capability, Vera being one of them.

Many of the faults have been covered but here's my experience and thoughts.

The biggest advantage of ST is its community developers. ST has the ability to work with almost any Z-Wave and Zigbee device thanks to the  Device Type Handlers (aka device drivers) and new capabilities through SmartApps such as CoRE (powerful like PLEG) developed by community members. If there's something you want to do with your system, there's high chance that someone already has the solution for it including necessary ST software.

Also, since ST is fully cloud processed (with very limited local processing) you never run out of resources. I had hundreds of devices and 30+ SmartApps and 25+ CoRE rules doing all kinds of things including connecting/controlling Blue Iris, Plex, Hue, Sonos, Alexa, Google Home, Android TTS, IP cameras, etc. and when the ST cloud is up, everything works consistently (with some lag ~1-2 secs).

Regarding local processing on ST V2 hub, it's a complete joke! Very, very limited. Basically limited to small number of devices for limited lighting automation and security.
https://support.smartthings.com/hc/en-us/articles/209979766-Local-processing
https://community.smartthings.com/t/faq-confirmed-local-processing-working-device-handlers/61875

What's worse, ST local processing + ST cloud down is a nightmare. For example, you local processed siren goes off but if the ST cloud is down, you can NOT turn that siren off since you can ONLY control ST via their app which is 100% cloud dependent. There's even reports of random unlocking of doors when the ST cloud goes down:
https://community.smartthings.com/t/random-door-unlock/84757
https://community.smartthings.com/search?q=random%20unlocking

ST cloud is probably the worse part of the ST experience. ST cloud goes down at least once a month! Checkout their own status history:
http://status.smartthings.com/history

Since ST is basically 99% cloud dependent (100% cloud dependent for control), even if you have a perfectly working system and made no chances, when the ST cloud goes down or has other kinds of issues your ST system will either go down completely or start acting very strangely. Most recently, ST cloud was down for 14hrs where most ST users could not use their ST systems.

ST is great as a tinkering toy but not something you would want to trust for your home, especially not for security!

I plan to keep ST around as a secondary hub to do some of the things my primary can't do or connect to.


Offline RichardTSchaefer

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Re: Somebody please convince me to stay.
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2017, 06:00:19 pm »
I am waiting for Google to Accept my Google Home Agent called:  Vera Concierge

   http://VeraConcierge.com

Offline Alex Waverley

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Re: Somebody please convince me to stay.
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2017, 01:07:44 pm »
To me the cloud control idea is fundamentally flawed. I do not want any of my logic to be in the cloud. I don't want my apps in the cloud. I don't want any cloud to cloud processing. The main reasons are:
1. Lag
2. Lack of control
3. Dependance on your internet connection
4. Dependance on servers which no one knows how long they will stay alive

Amen. There is no "cloud", there's just other peoples computers. The proliferation of "cloud-based" solutions is just another example of peoples willingness to throw away their privacy with both hands. The idea that anyone would bring any device with a microphone and/or camera into their home and allow it unfettered access to the outside world is mind-numbing. Then again, if more people understood (or cared about)  the ramifications of allowing invasive technology into their lives there would be no social media billionaires and QUBES would be the worlds most popular OS.
Please hold your applause until I have concluded my remarks.

Offline TDehnke

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Re: Somebody please convince me to stay.
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2017, 12:15:31 am »
Just out of curiosity walshchristopherj what are you doing that requires Bluetooth integration? Until device start using Bluetooth version 5 Bluetooth with remain problematic and is why manufactures have been avoiding it.

The new Bluetooth version 5 Specifications
https://www.bluetooth.com/specifications/bluetooth-core-specification/bluetooth5

Google Home support natural language where the Amazon Echo does not yet but when it comes to integration with devices Google Home is still about two years behind Amazon Echo. Google Home and Amazon Echo are both good choices deepening on what problem you're trying to solve.

Lenovo's Harman Kardon version of the Amazon Echo comes out in May
http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/smart-home/smart-assistant/
« Last Edit: April 20, 2017, 12:19:52 am by TDehnke »

Offline RichardTSchaefer

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Re: Somebody please convince me to stay.
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2017, 10:20:34 am »
Google has accepted my Google Home Agent called:  Vera Concierge

   http://VeraConcierge.com

It is currently being deployed to the Google servers, since this is my first time I am not sure how long that takes ...

This does use natural language.
It should also be available on newer Smart phones that support Google Assistant.
Google also announced  it plans to release iPhone support for Google Assistant.
So this should provide near universal access (In English) using natural language.
Supports multiple Veras  (Local or Remote, one at a time, you can tell it change to a different Vera).
Support for  Scenes, Switches (Including Virtual and MultiSwitches, PLTS) , Dimmers, Locks (Including Garage Door Plugin), Alarms, Thermostat, Security Sensors (Arm/Bypass), and other Sensors (Status)
Support for status of a device(s) (or what I call the active status of the house (summary of what's running).

I have plans for more language commands ... and welcome feedback.

It does require installing some java code on a computer in your home that is always running (similar to the HABridge).
But installation is pretty streamlined. Very little configuration is needed, but there are config options if you want to customize (i.e. aliases, ignoring certain devices, ignoring being referenced with the "ALL" request)
It also supports TTS to Google Home and other Google Cast devices. A release to the Vera Alerts Plugin will be made shortly that allows you to announce your Alerts to your Google Home and/or Cast devices (include the "ALL" Google Home and Cast devices).

Offline cb4

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Re: Somebody please convince me to stay.
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2017, 02:45:59 pm »
One thing not mentioned about cloud processing is the
... peoples willingness to throw away their privacy with both hands...

Security is the most critical issue of the information age. I am almost finished with my PhD in computer science with an emphasis in computer security. What I've learned in the past few years has completely changed my digital habits. Security breaches like Target and Mastercard are covered by the media. Even worse problems are covered in academic journals.  [side note: if you have an android phone, *don't* surf the web with other apps open. iPhones are safer in that respect]. There are 100 successful large-scale attacks/week in the US. The average loss is $9 million, or about $50 billion lost each year from 2012-2014. Hacks into home networks are not reported so no one knows the frequency or how much pain that has caused individuals and families.

I remodeled my house 7 years ago and designed it not to have any light switches. That was too early for anything but $10,000+ solutions like Crestron, so I waited. But I ran CAT6 ethernet cable everywhere because I didn't trust wifi. You shouldn't either. In 2014, an article in the International Journal of Information and Computer Security described how to crack WPA2. Zigbee was successfully attacked in 2015 and Z-wave followed suit in 2016. The Z-wave Alliance knew it was coming, which is why z-wave plus was designed. Every home automation device in my house is z-wave plus. As with all things that rely on software, it's only a matter of time before z-wave plus is cracked. Hopefully, z-wave++ will be out and firmware updates (or replacing devices) will keep my network secure.

Now back to the point of the OP. The internet is fundamentally broken, so no home automation solution that relies on it can be secured. When you put things in the "cloud", you are trusting every company managing every router that your packets pass through. Even if companies like SmartThings had an unlimited cyber-security budget (and they don't), they still could not give any guarantees because they have no control over the path of packets from your home to their servers. I don't have a million dollars of stuff in my house. Even so, I don't want some criminal hacking into my front door lock through a server in the cloud, unlocking it, and taking what I have. This recent article says that insurance companies aren't protecting against that kind of loss.


Offline spudjr

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Re: Somebody please convince me to stay.
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2017, 03:22:06 pm »
But..... With that all said you dont need to add locks or alarms to cloud services if we dont wish to. I personally have a Vera but have not added plugins for my DSC alarm system. If the bad guys want to turn my lights or TV on and off go fill your booties. I think we all gave up our privacy a long time ago with traffic cams, numerous security cameras in public places, using credit cards or just using google. There is always a trade off in convenience and what you may give up. If your already using google home or an alexa product you either dont care or realize the risks involved or you are willing to give up some of your privacy. I personally dont really care if my alexa is always listening to me. I'm sure there is more interesting things to listen to then me having a conversation with my German Sheppard. I think with some of the revelations made recently there are some that can listen in all they want and there is nothing we can do about it. Life is to short to be paranoid and a tin foil hat just does not suit me.  Just my 2 cents worth.

Offline TDehnke

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Re: Somebody please convince me to stay.
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2017, 11:29:47 pm »
Grats RichardTSchaefer on having Google accepted your Google Home Agent! That is one more step in helping to low the entry barrier to the Vera wold (^_^)

Cb4 here is a feather for your hat, with the introduction of "z-wave Security 2 (S2) framework" last fall the z-wave standards are now at the forefront of IoT security.

Z-Wave Alliance Announces New Security Requirements for All Z-Wave Certified IoT Devices
http://z-wavealliance.org/z-wave-alliance-announces-new-security-requirements-z-wave-certified-iot-devices/


On another note always listening does not = always transmitting. If you are worried about Google Home and Amazon Echo always listening and transmitting take one or both and set them an on a static IP address. Turn on and setup logging on your router or firewall and setup a syslogger your PC and do some testing to see what you find. Its better to understand how a device works then to be afraid of the unknown.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2017, 11:32:12 pm by TDehnke »

Offline markoe

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Re: Somebody please convince me to stay.
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2017, 06:55:23 am »
Google has accepted my Google Home Agent called:  Vera Concierge

   http://VeraConcierge.com

It is currently being deployed to the Google servers, since this is my first time I am not sure how long that takes ...
...

I get interested to get the voice Ui implemented via google home but google home is not released in my contry :-(

I think I move forwared first and implement the needed server to home networks. I am thinking of bying "Raspberry Pi 3 model B" any specific needs on server. Is the Debian Linux the same unix flavor that used in Vera? For synergy issues it would be good idea to use same unix flavor on this new server.

I can used the server for other issues anyway if this fails for nome reasons. I do have cromecast, android phones , sonos , vera plus and vera edge as a test system.