In addition to being interested in streaming media technology, I also test out and use a lot of home automation platforms and security cameras. I have systems from Canary, Sharx, Logitech, D-Link, Nest, Arlo, Piper, Archos, Wemo, Smart Things, Wink, Wirelesstags.net and others that get well tested in my household. And while I don’t usually blog about home automation technology, my experience with the SmartThings platform has been so horrible, I wanted to make my comments public in the hopes that Smart Things, or someone from Samsung, will actually care enough to fix it.
For over a year now, SmartThings has struggled to do something simple, turn on and off my lights. I have three lights setup to go on at 4pm and scheduled to turn off at 11pm. And yet, twelve months later, SmartThings still isn’t reliable. Sometimes the lights work perfectly, other times they never work for days at a time. Sometimes only one will turn on and off, while the others don’t do anything. Making the problem worse, SmartThings, which is owned by Samsung, doesn’t even have a support number you can call for help. All support is done in a chat window, which makes the support process very cumbersome.
Months ago, after complaning on Twitter to the CEO of SmartThings, he had someone from support call me, and since then, I’ve had three different calls with support. And yet still, the lights don’t turn on and off correctly. On each support call, they have acknowledged that something on their end isn’t working right, and they’ve never fixed it. I’ve been told that the issues I have are due to some “platform issues” as well as “outages” and that sometimes “devices act up.” After they think they have fixed it, they have emailed me to say that “things should be considerably smoother now than the last week or so,” except they aren’t.
The SmartThings platform simply does not work. And if I can’t rely on it for turning lights on/off, how would I ever trust it to do things involving security in my home? Another thing that doesn’t work right is their iPhone app. Every couple of days, it asks me to login, not keeping any of my info stored. And many times, the light icon will show green, indicating it is on, when in fact, it is off. Even SmartThings support told me that the way their system works, if the action does not trigger, it won’t then see any future scheduling you have set up. So it if breaks once, it won’t let any of the other actions fire that you have scheduled. Of course, this makes no sense at all and Smart Things support agreed that it is something they need to “work on”.
SmartThings advertises their platform as “intelligent living” and yet, it can’t even turn on/off lights reliably. There is nothing smart or intelligent about their platform at all. It is hands-down the most unreliable technology I have in my house, other than the Nest smoke alarms, which I already sent back last year. Samsung should make SmartThings fix their platform, or just stop selling it all together.