Samsung SmartThings Died On Me – How Smart Are SmartHomes Really?

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The smart home concept had appeared to be the darling of the technology industry – but suddenly the entire concept seems to be stalling. We recently ran into a major fault with the Samsung smart home automation system.

Recent problems have been emerging with Samsung’s SmartThings, the darling of their smart home automation push. Increasingly consumers are having problems when they connect upwards of 50 devices – which is the precise issue that we had the other night.

At 1am, our so called lights all lit up at once, providing a very rude awakening, especially on a school night. Whilst perturbed, we killed them and went back to bed. However other smart devices started to go out of kilter, and really it was the most basic of smart home automation that was failing. Timer based lights have effectively been around for generations, so represent nothing of any great newness. In the end, we disabled my SmartThings box. Enough was enough. My home reverted to ‘dumb’ and I reverted back to restful sleep. It was though a sad backward step for one of the great proponents of this revolution, an avid blogger who has been to Las Vegas (CES), Barca (MWC) and beyond in support of this movement, seeking the next great home automation tech. I have come to question the whole concept on the back of the technology failing to keep up with the clamor.

The entire concept is naturally born on the idea of connecting a multitude of different devices up and then using a smart home hub to connect them all. This concept has worked well to date, and we have been a supporter of the whole concept for some time now – as you see from this blog. HomeTechStar exists to showcase the enduring value that automation in the home can bring – but this latest bug has got even us thinking – is the whole space of home automation really as good as it needs to be to justify the amount of attention that it is currently getting?

We were reading recently about more problems as Nest, the company owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet. Nest’s CEO had to stand up and defend his company again, this time in front of a Google all hands meeting. The result? mass ridicule. Googlers mocked Nest with a series of memes, with some of the kinder ones ending up on Recode.com. Googlers dislike almost everything about Nest, but most of all they dislike the way the company consistently delivers products which break – as we have reported many a time – and the net result has been a boost in badwill (as the opposite of the much sought goodwill variety) for Nest, and as a result, for Google.

As SmartThings and Nest stand at the forefront of this business, we are left a little disheartened as we stand here today. Hopefully the remainder of 2016 will bring the smart home utopia of more robust products which actually add value to our homes – fulfilling the grand prophesy of this revolution. Until then, we may be left ranting and moaning, which seems a shame.

Have you been let down by your smart home ye??

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