Hubitat's business prospects


#1

I do agree with this statement, and I've been very pleased with the support so far.

I realize that Hubitat is not intended to make a profit, and is mostly a collection of people like yourself who wanted a local version of ST without the learning curve of trying to get openHAB running. My concern long term for hubitat is will the support continue once it has reached market saturation and the sales dwindle?

My hope is that the product will be stable/mature enough by then that it won't matter, but I do have some small concerns as the code isn't open sourced. If Hubitat went up in flames, there'd be no way for someone to pickup the torch and continue on.

This is also a concern for Samsung, but Samsung likely bought Smartthings with the belief that it would give their other products an edge, ex: Home appliance differentiation, if I'm choosing between an LG and Samsung Washer/Dryer combo, I am more likely to go with Samsung just because I could find something interesting to integrate it with my home automation, assuming similar costs. It's not a division that they intend to make money on. Long term their bean counters may not agree that the home automation platform boosts revenues enough to make up for the costs, but for now that's probably what they are believing.

Hubitat, Inc. has some costs that won't go away when market saturation happens. Website/forum, AWS Lambda โ€“ Pricing, purchasing various devices for testing/integration and potentially paying yourselves for the work that you are doing. (I'm sure there are other costs that I'm not listing) Unless one of the founders is independently wealthy and very nice, this will become a problem one day as Hubitat, Inc doesn't have a parent company that is willing to throw cash at it.


WARNING about webCoRE
#2

How do you know that?


#3

The DIY HA space is on fire right now.

I'm more concerned with mainstream being WiFi and cloud focused.
Taking money away from that pot is probably a prime target.


#4

Agree, I'm tired of my friends buying wifi crap and then, can you integrate it to ST? NOOOO!


#5

In fairness my friend is loading up his 2.4GHz WiFi with ESP controlled devices and his network is doing fine.
They're cheap, don't require proprietary radio licensing, and have tons of community support.
Granted he's going with local control via Home Assistant and custom firmware, which is advanced DIY, but I guess I mean that WiFi seems tougher than I had previously thought.


#6

Given they exchange the same order of magnitude packets to do the job, WiFi just kills Zigbee or ZWave in capacity.

Zigbee is 250 kbit/s -- yea, kb

WiFi is 55mbit/s.


#7

I find it surprising how many people speculate and doubt Hubitat's success and profitability without knowing anything about their business model.

Personally I think those involved are going to end up making millions from this.


#8

That's all it is... Speculation. It's not intended as a slight, I'd like for hubitat to stay around -- the issue is that that requires cash flow that currently we have no clue about. Is the intent to make money off subscriptions, hardware, support or something else?

It's a pain in the ass going from one home automation hub to another, and knowing what the long term plans are would give me a little more faith in the platform.

This post was mostly inspired by Lowe's looking to dump Iris, as well as the many other automation hubs that have met an untimely death, such as quirky, revolv, and whatever that thing that Staples had was called.


#9

There was a thread to this effect started in the last week or so as well. It was closed, and I expect no less of this one. :slight_smile: Suffice it to say, Bruce has stated they do have plans but can't reveal them at this moment. In the meantime, it's comforting to know that my Hubitat hub will more or less keep working should the company go up in flames (aside from optional cloud-based features should those also disappear).

That being said, I think they've got a killer platform, and I hope for only great things in their future. But considering that there are companies like Vera that have apparently sustained themselves primarily on hub sales for years (I see they have new services coming soon) and others like HomeSeer that probably do mostly hubs but also rebrand and sell cheap hardware (and also have a few cool/unique products they're known for), what I see at the moment isn't that far-feteched.


#10

I'm also one of those ESP ST_Anything geeks (Thanks to @ogiewon) with everything from ESP-01's to ESP32's all over the house and so far they have been playing nicely with Hubitat and my Zigbee's. I started off on ST a couple of years ago, but am BIGTIME digging HE so much more.


#11

:raising_hand_man:
Another @ogiewon padawan here. Got 5 ESP devices so far and adding a couple more in the coming months. Love the flexibility and multifunction support.


#12

I hear you. But realistically, there is probably a very small group of people that are entitled to info like that, and they all very likely invested a whole lot more than the $99 all of us have spent on a hub.


#13

But Zigbee consumes something like 1/4 the power of a wifi device. That's going to matter some day, beyond the number of times a battery is changed.


#14

9 here, two of which are DIY "Broadlink Black Bean"-like devices using IR LEDs to control tvs and stereos in two rooms and blinds on 4 windows with the servo capability. Saved me a BUNCH of cash. The blinds alone probably saved me close to $200-$300. Thank you @ogiewon!!! I don't think there is a more patient and helpful guy on the forum either.


#15

I like my Hubitat and it's HA platform.

It works and integrates almost flawlessly in my home setup.

If we're worried for Hubitat Elevation's future.....we could always donate money for their efforts to keep the business running.

The ONLY thing I can think of.....if Google decided to carry their own line of switches/cameras/sensors and other Home Automation devices.


#16

Lol. Maybe that was their belief, but a third of their shit doesn't work at all on ST (eg Bixby and Family Hub), another third only works half ass on half of ST (ie their tvs on "Connect")... and for what does work, it requires a doctorate in computer engineering to get the damn things to connect. For instance, I had to use three different apps to connect a Samsung PowerBot - and two different login credentials - and even then only has on/off and normal/turbo. They may continue to be a power player in building smart devices, but not in home automation. They've lost the edge. The only question is who buries ST in its grave - Hubitat (or something similar) or the next-gen Echo Plus (or next-gen Google Hub Hub).

For what it's worth, I agree on Hubitat business model. They've shot down the idea already, but I really hope they introduce a subscription plan (eg an app, maybe some cloud services). I have to admit, a lot of things I'd expect to have to pay a subscription with any other company are already "built-in" like multiple backup restore points. I wouldn't be a customer, and I don't know the business is there, but they could also provide contract development work, and perhaps use some of that towards improving the platform (that is, build custom apps, while retaining some publication rights).

My other concern is that I strongly feel that home automation will move towards AI. It won't be long before Google and Amazon leverage "big data" with deep computing to build 90% of our automations in milliseconds (maybe 5 years for the first iterations, and 10-15 for maturity). I don't see Hubitat competing with that, so my hope is that they manage to carve enough out from the left over corners for the other 10% customization left to power-users.

There's a solid business plan :stuck_out_tongue:

But, aside from it being a good point by itself, there's another good point underneath it... I'd hope that if Hubitat puts itself out of business by being too cheap, our Hubitat overlords would voluntarily step down ... and put everything out as open source, rather than cashing out by selling it for fraction of what it's otherwise worth.

Or, they cash out and some corporation, rather than raiding the IP for a few nuggets, sees the opportunities to nickel and dime us to death, like... well, I'm saying I hope they do to a lesser extent.


#17

Yeah, they really dropped the ball on execution. Getting my fridge connected to the ST hub took tremendous effort, and then it stopped working after a few weeks and I just gave up.


#18

I inquired about this subject before joining the HE community. There are many companies out there that only sold a device and they had no other income stream, and failed.

There are a few exceptions, and one that I can think of immediately is Roku. They just sold devices for seemingly forever -- and that revenue stream allowed the company to grow, and support the software development it needed. They did have a roadmap which is coming to fruition (no clue how much the map changed over time). They integrated with TVs, and now have launched their own channel, and selling advertising (which hasn't been too intrusive IMO). Roku is now a public company (not that I'd wish that on anyone with the built in necessity to think only short-term for shareholders -- Tesla may be an exception, and Dell, but they went private so that they could think/act longterm).

Another might be Plex. They give away their software. As for revenue, you can buy premium features for a monthly/yearly fee -- which can be a nice revenue stream -- or conversely, a lifetime pass (which is just like selling a device -- a onetime fee). Plex is growing and trying to become the single screen for entertainment/media. We'll have to see where they end up.

So, hopefully the Hubitat group will go open-source if they aren't going to make it, but I presume there's a road map to reach/maintain profitability. Would be nice to know a little bit of that so that us users feel comfortable investing in the platform. [Compare to Wink which has been very quiet, is starting to get buggy, and seeing users jump ship to other platforms because there's no communication from the company (which also just sells a device and is their main source of revenue.)]

Just my 2ยข


#19

The problem, as I see it, is that you can have all the plans you want but when a large company (such as Samsung) comes along and offers your $300,000,000.00 it's easy to chuck those plans out the window.