How Does Iris Stack Up To The Competition
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I read the comparison of various smart smoke alarms that Otto provided
and segued to an article comparing various self-monitoring alarm systems.

Iris was not mentioned in the article but knowing what we know from first-hand
use of Iris it pretty easy to plug Iris in and compare it to the group tested.

The Best Self-Monitored Alarm Systems

http://homealarmreport.com/the-best-self-monitored-alarm-systems/

Of course this is one persons opinion and was published to the web on
October 2016 so may be considered dated or a little stale by some but I
think it gives us a glimpse of what's available from the competition and
how Iris stacks up.

For anyone who has used or migrated to/from one of these other systems,
you input here might help others decide to stay with Iris or move on. For
myself I'm still on the fence. I have a SmartThings hub but have only used
it experimentally and I recently got a Homeseer hub but have not set it up yet.

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I have both Iris and SmartThings (which I purchased during the November Iris outage).  After more than 3 months of SmartThings here are my observations:

Iris advantages:

1. I have kept Iris as my alarm system due to it calling on alarm activation rather than a simple popup or even an SMS text since I can have my phone set to silence at night but allow known callers to ring normally so I will still notice an alert from Iris

2. I much prefer the Iris app with the "All doors locked and closed" or 1 light on.

3. Locks have much more support around them by default on Iris, although through community created DTHs and SmartApps locks can be fully managed on SmartThings

4. Cameras are fully supported on Iris, although there is no 1080p camera available

5. I much prefer the history in one location like Iris has over each device housing its own history like STs does

6. Iris's disconnect notices may take longer than some may want but STs doesn't do this at all by default and the community SmartApps I have found that do this have generated many false alerts due to no status from some of the compatible but unsupported devices

SmartThings advantages:

1. Geo fencing!  I have moved many of my light switches to SmartThings just to take advantage of Geo fencing since I have never been a fan of the Iris key fobs which take minutes for Iris to detect and longer for it to determine they have left.  So some of my lights come on when I turn on my street and head toward the house and all of the lights turn off once no one is in the house.

2. IFTTT integration, making many more devices at least partially usable from STs like with my Arlo Q camera I can have STs trigger a 1 minute recording via IFTTT when a contact sensor is opened although I cannot have it trigger a recording when the alarm is triggered from any device

3. Compatibility, although not necessarily support for far more devices like Aeon labs micro switch, doorbell, Ring (motion detector only), Sonos (Play,Pause,Next,Previous,Mute,Un-mute), currently only three camera options for beta support (Samsung Pro 1080p, Arlo, and Arlo Pro) but still no sound capture or response in the ST app (however the app for the camera itself will support this for the Samsung and Arlo Pro) Many other cameras can be made to "work" with STs but in a very limited function (still shots or photo bursts) unless IFTTT integration is really good between the two, Harmony hub, better remote control options...

4. CoRE, community created rule engine which makes almost rule possible, even if it is not easy to setup

5. STs supports some devices in an offline fashion but not all, this is supposedly being worked on for Iris finally

Other observations:

1. From conversations on the SmartThings community site the ST v1 to v2 conversion wasn't even as thought out as Iris' since they didn't provide any automated mechanism and users had to purchase the new hub, unpair devices from the old hub, pair them to the new hub, then re-setup all automations and alarm behaviors.  Also, during this conversion STs pulled support for their dashboard which was gave users similar notices that we have in the v2 app about how many doors are unlocked/open or lights on

2. Just last week SmartThings finally got some builtin battery notification rather than requiring a community created SmartApp, although still it does not alert without a community SmartApp

3. Google home is supported on STs but is supposedly almost ready on Iris as well.

 

pavalov, iJester, loonytim and 1 other like this

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Brought a WINK hub, then a WINK hub 2, no problems, no disconnects. IRIS needs to look at how Smart things and Wink work to improve on their Alpha product, after all this time since ver2 hub, you would think they would have gotten all the bugs out or released a revamped Ver3 hub to keep or draw back customers.    

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Both my Iris and SmartThings systems have been stable since last November when Iris had their multi-day meltdown and I ordered the ST hub.  Then two of my GE Z-Wave switches disconnected from SmartThings last week, I had to air gap the switches to get them to reconnect then my OSRAM RGBW bulb disconnected from SmartThings and I had to turn off power to that socket and turn it back on to get it to reconnect.  Both systems have been stable since.  The point is SmartThings isn't bulletproof either.

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Been using ST for about 3 months now after leaving IRIS. Both systems have their issues. On par they are about the same. 

ST is far more versitle although harder to set up advanced features. Terk, have you looked at Actiontiles or Smarttools? They might give you some of the things that IRIS has that you mention as IRIS doing. Also, my phone allows me to set apps with priority which means I can get notifications at night just on the apps I want and ST being one of them. So no phone call needed. And I get disconnect notices almost at once. In fact I think they come too fast as sometimes the disconnect is only about a minute.

Just my 2 cents worth.

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I have looked at SmartTiles (previous version of ActionTiles which releases next month), which is nice on a tablet, once you get it setup how you want but it isn't as good on my phone with the number of devices I have.  Do you get more disconnect notices than just the hub?  I added an old First Alert CO & Smoke detector to my system late last year and when it started chirping about the batteries being low I removed the batteries and never received a disconnect notice from it.  In fact when I look at my system it still appears like it should be working until I go into recently for that device and it says "Device activities are only kept for 7 days. Please make sure your device is online and operational." where as some of my lights/switches that disconnected I at least saw those where disconnected in the updated app with the exclamation before the device but still did not receive a disconnect notice.

Thanks.

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Your right about the disconnect notices on a device. I have only had 1 disconnect and that was on a button I never used. So I didn't know it for some time. 

I setup about 6 different actiontiles screens that I select on my phone depending on what area or function that I want to look at. Then I have a tablet mounted on the wall that has more devices on each screen. But I only have about 25 devices total, which is probably a lot less than you. 

In any event, as you say, there are pros and cons to each system.

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I have been slowing switching things to ST.  I can't switch it all, as I have a number of V1 devices.  They are on simple timers and I can keep them on Iris and switch to the free service.  If Iris ever makes any drastic improvements I might switch back.  For me the Geofencing is the biggest plus to ST, much more versatile but also much more difficult to setup , as others have mentioned.

 

I just had a GE Z-wave switch drop off ST this week.  It's out in my shop and I haven't been able to get out and get it back yet.  It's the first thing that has dropped since I started using ST.  Although I have been using it for a month or two now, I only added that device a week or so ago.  It's kind of odd as it is in a gang of three Z-wave switches in my shop and it's the only one that quit working.

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There is a thread over on the "Other Devices" forum where a few people have talked about their experience with Abode.

I've switched to Abode with only my cameras and thermostat left on IRIS.  Eventually I'll move those as well.  I consider Abode to be much better than IRIS for security but not quite as good for home automation.  Much of that gap on home automation can be closed through Nest and IFTTT integration.  I liked the single interface that IRIS provided but for non-critical automations IFTTT integration is a perfectly acceptable solution that opens up a wider array of options.

Abode has offline processing which means that alarms trigger even if their service is offline, something IRIS foolishly discarded in v2.  They also notify you when updates are available and let you decide when to apply them. During my six months with Abode they've had one significant outage of about four hours.  Their communication with customers during that time was much better than I experienced when IRIS was having problems.

In my experience device connectivity on Abode has been much more solid and consistent.  Z-wave and Zigbee sensors have all worked without disconnects or fiddling with repeaters.  Abode has its own proprietary 433Mhz protocol for some of their in-house sensors which gives excellent range without repeaters for most cases.

Abode hardware is generally more expensive than their IRIS equivalents but the free service seems less restricted and you can get cellular backup for $8 a month.  It comes with a cellular radio built in so there's no modem that you need to add-on.

Abode is a small start-up company so there's some risk involved but overall I'm very happy with it.  I feel like they "get" security where Lowe's actions with v2 tell me that they don't.

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I turned off the premium service for Iris as of today, and have switched mostly to ST.    I will maintain a few devices on Iris as they are on simple schedules.  I will also leave the thermostat on there for now as it works pretty well as is and that part still works on the basic plan..  Plus I can use my dots instead of smart buttons.  I will have a number of V1 motion and contact sensors, along with a few smart buttons I will probably put up on the forum for sale soon.

Iris development as been too slow for my taste.  This has soured me a bit on Lowes because of how much money I have spent on this system and good bit of the investment was wasted.

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