Stay with IRIS or try out Smart Things?
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Ok, I have been using IRIS for several years now. I was very impressed with version 1. I've been very discouraged with version 2. I plan on opening a new business and I wanted to use IRIS and I would if it were more reliable. I've read a few posts on here about users switching to ST system, but is it more stable? Do all the devices I've spend hundreds buys still work on ST? I have all V1 IRIS sensors. I have not bought any V2 sensors and maybe my system would be more stable with those instead? Any advice from anyone on here would be greatly appreciated. I could always use a local alarm company, but I really like the ability to customize my system the way these systems work and its much cheaper! Thanks,

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Nothing Iris v1 branded will work with ST any third party device like the First Alert Smoke, GE switches/outlets, water sensors, ... will work fine, also any v2 Iris branded devices will work fine on ST. i bought a ST hub when thry were half price during the November Iris issues and i have moved a number of devices over but have not decided to move over completly for a few reasons.

I'm not impressed with the ST app, they dropped support for the dashboard quick status shortcuts like all doors closed and locked, 2 lights out of 20 on, ... i like that feature of the Iris v2 cards. Stability has been fine, although stability on Iris has been fine for me except for the end of November. ST video camera integration is still in beta after around a year and the only cameras thry support don't have dedicated motion detectors and while you can setup motion recording without a seperarate motion detector it must be setup in the cameras nativd app. I am enjoying being able to write my own smartapps to do exactly what I want, however it isn't something everyone would want to tackle. So far I am using my ST as a learning playground and still relying on Iris for most of my automation and security.

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I have been much happier with my Smart Things hub than my Iris V2 hub.  As Terk said, there are a few things that they drop the ball on.  

 

I will say that I do find Smart Things to be significantly more stable, more reliable, more functional and just a better product.  

 

There is a significant learning curve associated with the way the platform functions.  The App, The API website, 3rd party software, etc.  BUT once you get those things all figured out, the sky is the limit... (Unless you need cameras - which I would probably do as a stand-alone system if I were to do it again- mine have not been reliable on Iris V2.) 

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I also purchased the SmartThings hub from Amazon when they were half off in November.   I mostly bought it so I could try out my Aeon Labs energy meter on it.  After about a week with it I decided to return the SmartThings hub. I did not like the interfaces, or the app.  It was a lot more work than Iris and confusing.   It just was not a good fit for me.  I like things that are supported to just work and have the drivers already on the hub, not have to find and load custom software.   For those that like to tinker and spend a lot of time, Smart Things may work well.  For me?   I'm sticking with Iris.  Even though they've been relatively slow to get things rolled out, I think eventually we are going to have a really great system if we can stick with it.   I get tired of waiting too, but overall I like the Iris system more than ST.   

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I agree with loonytim, a standalone camera system is the way to go, something like Netgear's Arlo (720 and 1080 options, cameras are expensive but 7 days of cloud storage is free for up to 5 cameras and local storage is an option on some of their camera models but it always records to the cloud, and IFTTT integration with some ST like contact sensors can trigger timed recording through IFTTT), Nest cams (cameras are expensive and so is the cloud storage) Foscam (relatively cheap cameras, cloud storage isn't too outrageous, local storage options as well), Ring (Cameras are expensive and only 720 but cloud storage isn't too expensive), there are many others as well.  I prefer cloud storage, some are ok with only local storage which opens even more possibilities.

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I agree with loonytim, a standalone camera system is the way to go, something like Netgear's Arlo (720 and 1080 options, cameras are expensive but 7 days of cloud storage is free for up to 5 cameras and local storage is an option on some of their camera models but it always records to the cloud, and IFTTT integration with some ST like contact sensors can trigger timed recording through IFTTT), Nest cams (cameras are expensive and so is the cloud storage) Foscam (relatively cheap cameras, cloud storage isn't too outrageous, local storage options as well), Ring (Cameras are expensive and only 720 but cloud storage isn't too expensive), there are many others as well.  I prefer cloud storage, some are ok with only local storage which opens even more possibilities.

I like the new arlo pro, it has rechargeable batteries.

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Arlo can also be integrated into ST.

I'm on the fence with using batteries in outdoor cameras.

I wonder how heat and cold will affect battery life.

Our seasons are mild compared to many, with average winter

temps in the 20s and 30s and summer only a few days over 95.

But still I think those temps will impact battery life and

when I looked I couldn't find anything on what the expected

battery life was. If they said 6 months I would be thinking

I'll be lucky to get 4 or 5.

And no matter how long it is you still have to place the cameras

where you can easily get to them to swap batteries. And what about

those spare batteries. You will certainly want at least half as

many as the number of cameras you have deployed so you can swap out

more than one when the batteries go dead unless you stagger their

start times so you have a day in between and can charge up you one

spare battery that you rotate into the next dead camera.

I think I would go with an AC power option.

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The Arlo and Arlo Pro can be integrated into ST, the Q and Q+ cannot currently other than via IFTTT.  The Arlo and Arlo Pro are both 720 but the Pro offers rechargeable batteries, 2-way audio, local storage, and can run off AC I believe via a USB charger.  The Q and Q+ do not have battery options, both offer 2-way audio, the Q is AC powered and the Q+ is POE and offers local storage.  They also have an Arlo Go with 2-way audio, rechargeable battery, 2-way audio, and 4g option for game trails or something, and can run off AC.  I would be a little concerned about the batteries lasting through a winter as well, so I would want the option to plug it in.  I have a Q and so far I am very impressed with it.

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I switched over to ST after Iris failed me one too many times. I loved V1 and invested heavily in devices and then poof, V2 and I tried but eventually took it all back.

ST has a tall learning curve and takes time to learn but it is t rocket science.

I really like the ecobee3 Thermostat and the ability to control room temps with either motion, temps, or both.

So far great uptime and reliability.

I'm still looking at other systems. It so far ST is doing the job for HA, my Security is still running on an ancient Nutone system that's been modified. I added a relay and have a Rube Goldberg interface with ST. It's all temporary until I get time to build something better.

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A few nice things about ST are that it allows you to see the battery percentage rather than just OK, and that all status updates for each device are recorded so you can see what is happening and get a better understanding of limitations the Iris developers are working with. I added one of my First Alert smoke detectors to my ST system and it started out saying the Battery was 89%, it said that each day until yesterday when it reported 77%. Then last night about 4am it started chirping, I never got a low battery notice but since the last reported reading was 77% I wouldn't expect any sane system to alert that the battery is low so the First Alert engineers must be the problem with those devices chirping way too early on both systems, not an issue with Iris not reporting low battery like I always thought. Also, when it started chirping I pulled the battery tray since it was just installed as a test and not needed anyway as I have replaced all of the First Alert units with Nest, but it has been 5.5 hours and no alert that the device is offline. I did notice in the ST logging that it only checks in once a day with battery updates rather than hourly like some of the devices so I would have been suppressed to see it be able to alert about offline before the next missed checkin at least which also helps explain why Iris waits 24 hours before alerting about an offline device, most devices with a temperature sensor will report in once an hour but that seems to be the most frequent reporting of any regular checking for any of the devices as the devices sleep to conserve battery until a checkin for temp, battery, or on state change like opening/closing. It would be nice if Iris would make the battery display % always again and make the status updates of the devices visible or at least explain some of the limitations they have to work within so we could understand that the one day device disconnect notice is the best they can provide that will encompass all devices they support. But at least getting this insight into how the devices work has helped me understand why some of the things on Iris I have complained about before are necessary.

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So it has been over two days since I pulled the battery tray on the First Alert smoke detector to prevent the chirping and still no notification from ST about a disconnected device. Also inside the app it still looks like the smoke detector is working until you go into the recently tab and notice it hasn't checked in recently.

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So it has been over two days since I pulled the battery tray on the First Alert smoke detector to prevent the chirping and still no notification from ST about a disconnected device. Also inside the app it still looks like the smoke detector is working until you go into the recently tab and notice it hasn't checked in recently.

That is not good.

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I like SmartThings for automation at least until Iris has Geofencing, especially for lighting, it also allows me some control over my Sonos speakers and IFTTT integration is great for some integration of things as well like my third party (Arlo) security cameras.  However I will not use it for security related devices at the moment since it does not have a phone call alert option which is the best method to get my attention.  Also when I added a lock and keypad to the SmartThings system the codes where passed in clear text to the IDE logs so I wasn't impressed by that.  I wrote a smartapp for SmartThings that I made available in their community last week and I've enjoyed learning that language.  It is really cool to have a system that is open like that so you're really only limited by your imagination and knowledge of the Groovy language.  However you need to download or make your own apps for a lot of things that Iris has available already, and while some of the SmartThings included apps are pretty good they are fairly limited compared to what the community has come up with.  There is a community created smartapp called CoRE which is really cool and powerful but it takes some time to figure out and to create your rules. The SmartThings hub does not natively do things I expected like notify about low batteries or disconnects although you can get apps that do those things. SmartThings video recording capabilities were really disappointing so I found Arlo, and while there are a few things I would love to see Arlo change, overall I am pleased with that system.

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I got my energy meter running on ST now and I am pretty happy with what I have.  I do have to use a ThingsSpeak account and that will eventually run out.  Not for at least another year so hopefully by that time I will have figured out how to log my data to my local computer, or ST will come up with a better method of logging data.

I just finished my first smart app and even though Iris is by far an easier setup the smart app function gives you much more flexibility.  I modified an existing app for my bathroom heater.  The app that was available basically did what I wanted but had some limitations as it was for general use.  I tailored the app specifically for my setup.  The advantage over Iris is now I can leave the bathroom door open and it will not run and with the phone presence function as soon as my wife and I both leave the house it will stop.  I also plan on adding the ability for the app to shut down based on season.  I haven't decided yet how I will do that, look at the thermostat mode, or maybe just use an outside temp reading.  I will need to move over some additional devices.  

Iris has some time here to keep me form switching over completely as I have quite a few V1 devices that I can not switch to ST.  So I will be switching out the V1 stuff slowly over the next few months. So they need to start making some progress soon.

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A couple years ago when I was looking for a home alarm/automation system I compared IRIS, Smartthings and a few others. At the time IRIS seemed the best so I went with them. But over time they just didn't seem to be going anywhere. I was using the IRIS+ app which gave me a lot of the flexibility that the basic IRIS didn't have. When it looked like IRIS+ might not be supported in the future and IRIS itself still wasn't going anywhere, I switched over to ST. Been using Smartthings now for about 3 weeks. It is a harder to set things up, but I can do so much more with it. I haven't written any smart apps myself as someone seems to have what I want already. It's been a learning curve but well worth it. And the community forum is much much bigger. Somewhat overwhelming really.

I agree the alarm functioning in ST is not the greatest, but with a few routines and the CORE app I was able to tailor it my needs. There is no phone call ability, but the push notifications work fine for us. I just set a custom notification tone for our phones and if ST sends a push notification we know immediately who it was from and go from there. 

The response time with ST things seems to be a lot faster, especially using ECHO. The GEO fencing is working great for controlling the alarm and other functions when we leave or return. 

ST is not for the faint of heart or those who don't want to delve into some more complicated setups. But for me it is a very good choice.

Not trying to badmouth IRIS, it is a good system as far as it goes. But I just needed something that goes further.

Just my observations.

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It's a shame that people feel like they have to move on to find what they need.  I have noticed a big drop off in some of the more helpful, long term members contributing as well.  I believe that the concept of any of these systems lends itself to a never-ending project anyway.  If we were ever truly satisfied with a system, we would just buy or subscribe to one of the many systems that companies sell/install.  I can't speak for other members, but I play with a couple of other systems to get some form of functionality that Iris can't give me.  I still believe that Iris is the most complete of any of the systems that I have researched/installed/used.  These include: Wink, Simplisafe, Logitech Harmony, Lightify, Nest, Wemo, and Avi-on.  I will probably ride this ship to the bottom if that's where it is headed, as it handles most everything I need.  It would be a shame to see it go down now, after Iris is finally showing an online presence and responding to customers.

For me, Amazon really brought things together.  Being able to control many of these systems with one access point really made all the difference in the world.  It eliminates what I think most of us hate.  Having to access the components of our home through more than one app.  When I am at home, automation and Alexa handle most everything and I don't have to access anything from the apps.  If only there was a way to tie them all together with single app access, we could buy components from anywhere that was convenient and provided good customer service.

Just my $.02

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I figured I'll chime in with my 2 cents after being on ST for over a month now. My experience is roughly the same as jwwhite001's. The setup was a bit challenging because of couple of Iris specific devices that weren't supported by ST out of the box and required installing extra smart apps.  Also, on day one they had an outage so that made me nervous, however, I was notified of the outage and the resolution progress via e-mail. Setting up rules was great - I had about 40 on Iris and only had to setup about 10 on ST due to being able to combine several devices under one rule. I am also able to turn one switch using another switch, which was a huge missing feature with Iris and my Nest Cam works with it as well. Speed seems to be roughly the same as Iris, but more consistent. With Iris, about 10-20% of the time my device on times were delayed by several seconds when door would open or motion detected. ST routines are MUCH MUCH faster than Iris scenes. The moment I tap a button all of my actions execute immediately and at the same time! With Iris, sometimes I had to wait for several minutes for a scene to finish executing. Alarm works great, even when internet connection is lost, which makes me feel safer at night. Geofencing works great and is very consistent (only had few glitches where it didn't detect me at home until I pulled into the garage, but most of the time i have alarm off and garage door open when I'm coming down the road). Overall, things just seem more polished and mature and is a better experience for me and my family (My wife always had issues with Iris doing what she wasn't expecting and she is much happier now). Plus, I no longer have to pay $10.00/month, which is also a plus. Other than the one outage on my day 1 and another minor outage few days ago (which I don't think I was affected by) I've had no problems with ST. Only devices that I have that seem to have some minor issues are my Sylvania bulbs which some of them seem to lose connectivity once in a while, requiring a power cycle and the 4 buttons on the Iris keyfob seem to act as a single button (may need to find a different device handler for those).

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I've been an avid Iris user for just about two years now, I have 70+ devices currently paired on one hub. I spent the last couple days doing some "spring cleaning" with my system. It included optimizing my z-wave network and repairing some connections that have been lost over the past few months. I was on the phone for several hours using the experience and abilities of the Iris customer support staff. One very nice lady, Deena, mentioned to me that in 3 months with the release of the new app and web client, they would be dropping the $10/mo charge and moving it all to free. She was very knowledgable and helped me out a lot. I don't think the ship is sinking on purpose. Use social media, get out there and let them know what you think, why you're switching. It'll only drive the competition further.

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33 minutes ago, KingBatman said:

 One very nice lady, Deena, mentioned to me that in 3 months with the release of the new app and web client, they would be dropping the $10/mo charge and moving it all to free.

Free is good.  I wonder if they are going to go the way of Smart things and open it up for user development.  I am a bit skeptical, as there have been a few cases of things people have been told by phone support that doesn't quite pan out.

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I called her out on that too. I have been being told the same thing you guys have. "New Website coming in two weeks" "x feature is in beta testing" "blah, blah, blah". She agreed and said, they often just tell people what they are supposed to. She promised it was close, so close that she gave me her email address. She said if it's not free in 3 months to let her know and she will make mine free to keep her word. She was a nice lady from Wyoming and I didn't read her as much of a bullsh*tter. 

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