As we are currently seeing some new faces due to the Wink announcement, I'm curious from which systems have folks migrated over. The community here continues to grow with converts from multiple systems. Which ones? I'd also love to know how many people started their HA journey with Hubitat vs migrating from another system.
My journey started with Lowe's Iris, followed by a short stint with ST.
I started with X-10 a very long time ago. My home automation hobby was stagnant for many years until 2014 when SmartThings made their Arduino ThingShield available. That really hooked me back into home automation as I wanted to get notified if we had accidentally left our garage door open. My house was prewired for an alarm system, so I was able to use an Arduino and some very inexpensive reed switches to monitor all doors in my house. I also added some relays to be able to control the garage doors. This is what led to the creation of ST_Anything.
When Hubitat Elevation was released in early 2018, by an amazing team of former ST community members, I bought a hub immediately. The promise of local processing is what I had been wanting for many years. Being part of this amazing community has been a very fun ride!
I started with win about two years ago when I replaced my three smoke alarms with kidde 2in1s with wink support. I added one GE dimmer (kitchen cabinet lights) and one Leviton (outside lights) and bought the MyQ Ethernet dongle for my chamberlain garage door. Next came the Schlage be469 and one echo.
Oh, I also had four leak detect sensors from my insurance company that would not integrate.
That was it for a while and I found Stringify and got itch. I had only added maybe 4 more switches by the time Stringify was purchase by Comcast last spring and I could see anyway to reproduce what I was doing with the little robots in wink so I started my search.
I bought my hubitat in May 2019 and I am completely happy with the choice. I have influenced three other to by in as well and am working on two more
Edit: I should also add, this forum - the level of activity, the responses, etc was what made my decision in the first place.
Edit #2 I also played with x10 in my sons bedroom 15 years ago. It didn’t last long.
Ahhh, X10. Those were the days. I remember the "specials" where you could get some sort of remote and relay and a very low price. I was buying them just for the sake of buying them.
I remember a lot of times during a thunderstorm, in the middle of the night, all my lights would just come on for no reason.....
After typing this out, I remember I still have a switch relay underneath my wiring cabinet to control an outlet that is no longer used. Probably should take that out LOL. But I do miss those loud clicks when it cycled.
I think the majority we’re going to see for a while will be Wink refugees, but Samsung SmartThings is doing a bang up job of losing customers too!
I started with Insteon because Vera seemed too hacked together and insecure when I was looking for a place to start. Doesn’t look much different to me today. Wink just looked like a toy, and selling for a penny didn’t help that image. I did end up buying one for $20 after flex bought them. It was ok, but the robots were so limited I ended up automating most things with Stringify.
I then bought SmartThings because so many people were recommending it, and although it looked more challenging from the start, I loved how flexible it was. I was on ST for about a year and really liking what I was able to accomplish, but wishing there was a hub that could use the same code and was all local.
So when I stumbled across a post on the ST community about Hubitat I checked it out and almost fell over backwards that my wish had been almost 100% answered. I've been on HE for over two years now and have three hubs. The expansion of the primary platform and the accomplishments by the community in that short time have far eclipsed my expectations. I have never been happier with home automation as I am with Hubitat.
I started out with smartthings and had it for about a year when we purchased a new house and moved. The buyers weren't interested in the technology, so we removed it and brought it with. A few months in to the remodel and and integration of our new home, I ran into a few people here (who are still friends today) that recommended Hubitat. I have no special skills when it comes to programming or groovy. I am in IT, so I do have a grasp on things, mostly. So, I thought I'd give it a shot. During that time, there were so many ST outages that it became an emotional rollercoaster with the HAF. Everyone was really great with answers and with helping me set up my new system. I spent a lot of time relocating my sensors as I had placed them to allow for latency in ST. I was able to bring webCoRE with me, but dropped it very quickly after. So, I've been around here for a little better than two years and haven't regretted it. I've lived through the webCoRE Wars, the Great Peanut Panic, the Iris Rush, The Schlage Lock drop, The Cree Sprees, Hub slowdowns, and the Xiaomi (show-me) Crush. I now own two hubs and have them connected through hubconnect to run some of my problem devices and web services are handled by nothing else but smarthings. I can say that I've had my share of growing pains with the system, but I've been able to create some really cool automations during that time as well. And when I struggled, the community has been there to pick me up and brush me off. This place is amazing because you don't have to be an expert to fit right in. No talking down around here.
Love you guys! I do!
I had a bunch of X10 stuff I played with but no actual automation. Most of it went to my Mom when she ran a theater company in Nantucket. They needed a way to manage lights on stage without running extension cords from their limited lighting bars.
Years later we had to install a lighting system for a bar at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas without spending any money and no crew. We grabbed a bunch of PAR cans from the theater and set them up with X10. We gave the band an eight button controller so that they could change scenes.
A lightning strike right outside my window once woke me up on the couch. There was an orange glow coming from behind the couch. My half asleep brain thought there was a fire. It turned out that the X10s had come on at about 10% and the incandescent bulbs were quiet orange at that level.
I played around with Hue when it was still exclusive to the Apple store. No automation, just mood lighting.
I went to Wink when I moved into my house in 2016. The previous owner had added can lights to the soffit along the front but never finished hooking them up. I finished the job and put in Oshram RGBW retrofit kits.
I added three motion sensors but they would fight with each other. You might be active in zone two but zone one would turn off the lights when it timed out. I found Stringify and resolved that.
Then in 2018 I was at Burning Man for two weeks. A week in my router locked up, something it had never done before. As a result I had no security lights for a week due to the Stringify component. That brought me to Hubitat.
I now have around 30 Zigbee lights, a bunch of Inovelli switches, GE outlets, and motion sensors. I haven’t touched a light switch in ages. Next step is to build the ESP32 project to control the 30 MiLight bulbs I have in my living room track lighting.
I started with just Philips Hue, but I realized that only being able to control it from an app was not practical. (This was before voice assistants and any Hue hardware accessories.) So, I looked for something I could use to automate them. I originally tried WeMo (must have had a Hue integration? Or was I using IFTTT? I have no idea) but quickly ran into its limitations and turned to SmartThings instead. SmartThings was reasonably powerful and has the ability to create custom automations (with some work at the time in the form of a custom app; this was before Rule Machine or CoRE/webCoRE). However, over the years, I grew tired of cloud problems, many in the forms of delays or outages manifesting in the form of lights not turning in or off. However, the platform was good and capable enough that I started adding more devices, mostly Zigbee and Z-Wave, which also made the "unable to disarm Smart Home Monitor because that needs the cloud but unable to stop it from turning on your sirens because that is one of two things that can actually run locally" problem also possible (and yes, that was an outage that happened).
So, after the Great ST/webCoRE Daylight-Saving Time Incident of Late 2017, I decided to search for local home automation platforms. I briefly tried Vera but was disappointed with its Zigbee support (only two models pretend to support it, but they have a very short whitelist that didn't include most of what I had; doesn't look like much has changed since then, either). Then I tried OpenHAB and Home Assistant. I caught on to Home Assistant faster and stuck with that as my primary platform for a few months. Not all of my devices worked there, either, but more did than with Vera, and I was able to get custom lighting automations (the most important thing for me) and related devices moved. I kept SmartThings around for the rest and integrated some devices with MQTT.
Then I saw someone, possibly on the ST forums, mention this new thing called "Hubitat." I was like, "Nope. I just switched to Home Assistant and don't want to do all of this again." But then I saw that many of the most prominent former ST community members were behind it, elevating (ha) my confidence in the platform. I bought one of the first hubs, and it came a short time later in late January 2018. I quickly realized that this is exactly what I was looking for: wide Z-Wave and Zigbee support with custom automation possibilities, similar to ST but local. I kept Home Assistant around because I wasn't about to rewrite all my lighting automations (I did within a few months, after Hubitat got the Hue Bridge integration it originally lacked...little did I know I'd end up writing my own anyway ) but eventually moved everything over from both ST and Hubitat. I keep ST around for the occasional firmware update and a couple cloud integrations I can't do from Hubitat yet, and I actually have kept Home Assistant the whole time just without any automations becsuse I like it's history graph feature (I see there's a Hubitat community app for this now and I was also writing my own, but this is really easy one you get Home Assistant set up--itself much easier now than it was a couple years ago when I did, which I know because I recently ditched my config and started all over--and almost no additional work for Hubitat).
All because Philips didn't have any Hue accessories at the time. They've addressed that problem now, too, but I suspect I would have eventually wanted to automate them more than the Hue system allowed anyway. (Also one reason I caution people who get smart bulbs with no way to automate or control them outside of an app or voice. No one besides you really wants to do that, an even you will get tired of that eventually.)
In the mid-'90s, I had a reasonable X10 setup in my first condo in Wisconsin, with the phases bridged using a capacitor (anyone else remember that hokey approach?). I sold that condo in the late 90s and moved to Chicago where I rented for 2-3 years and then bought a tiny condo. Work stress drove away any thoughts of replicating my home automation setup. I did have a few simple things - like timer switches for some lights and a pump.
In 2013 I was an active observer in Quirky's inventor community (and discussion participant). And liked several of the new products they put together under their Wink app umbrella (the app pre-dated the hub by about 8 months). So I bought into the hub the day it was announced (June 2014) and used it ~5 years. I had a relatively large Wink-only setup between 2014 and 2016, but grew increasingly dissatisfied with the inability to create anything beyond the most simple automations. This was partly alleviated when I started using Stringify with Wink (2016 - 2019).
I tried Home Assistant for a bit early in 2018 shortly after Comcast purchased Stringify, because I anticipated Comcast wasn't in the business of maintaining a free service. It worked well until a platform update abruptly killed several integrations that mattered. And recovery required more work than I had time for right then. So I went back to the Stringify + Wink combination.
In late 2018 I noticed that several Stringify developers had left Stringify and there hadn't been any significant development on that platform for a few months. So sensing that the death knell for Stringify was not far away, I started researching SmartThings and Hubitat, and settled on Hubitat and purchased my first Hubitat Elevation in March 2019. I planned to set it up over Easter last year (week of April 21st, 2019). However, I couldn't resist, and by the end of March, I had moved 95% of my devices and automations over to Hubitat (with a huge amount of help from the Hubitat community). So that's my story.
On April 7th 2019, Kris Linquist (former lead developer at Stringify) emailed me that platform would be announcing its retirement in a few months (his email and my response are below).
I know I haven’t been as present as I usually am on the forums, but I’ll share my story
I got started on this journey some time in 2014. My former roommate and I bought a SmartThings hub, and set up a GE Z-Wave switch. That was the extent of it.
I experimented with a few different lights at the time. A MagicHome UFO controller, some LimitlessLED, Fibaro, you name it. I reverse engineered MagicHome, and updated Sidoh’s REST gateway for use with our apartment. I started playing with other Z-zwave devices, my roommate bought a house, and we automated that. We switched over to HASS after Smartthings destabilized.
I went through some bigger life events, and ended up moving to Bismarck. I didn’t automate anything for about a year, when I moved into a new apartment. I was back on SmartThings, and was annoyed with how slow was (is). I began working on some new color temperature calculation formulas, and updated my entire apartment. It was great. I met my now-wife, and she was glad to be able to let herself into my apartment (where I’d hard-wired the door buzzer/my lock to a relay, and had a dashboard for her to use). Then, I bought six eggminders, because I’m crazy.
I played around with HASS/OpenHAB/Wink/you name it, and came into the Hubitat scene several months after they started selling hubs, and have been loving it. I never thought one GE switch would’ve lead me down this path.
Kris was awesome. His responsiveness and care was excellent. I hope he ended up somewhere in a good job. I still miss many aspects of Stringify. It was amazing, especially in terms of its graphical drag & drop UI, canned integrations (eg. for email, Google apps), Arlo camera support....
My journey here was quite a short one - from Stringify, via Home Assistant (which threw up errors doing a simple update after 2 days of use and quickly went in the bin... I just don't have the knowledge and time to manage with that kind of nonsense). HE is way more powerful than Stringify ever was but can be a real struggle sometimes particularly with performance and reliability. But overall I'm happiest here and looking forward to see how it develops and what additional, more powerful hub hardware and software improvements we may get in the future!
He's still with Comcast. Comcast is still using Stringify-derived technology in their Xfinity system. Dave Evans (who started Stringify) has moved on to another startup. And I didn't keep track of of Zack.
I know I am one of the newer guys on here but I am not a wink refugee. I started working with home automation in my first apartment, 2007-08 when I purchased some x10 stuff from eBay. This lead me down a local control automation rabbit hole. Mostly bases on x10 and heyu. Anything else with a local API was fair game. I kept up with this system for many years, many houses and many jobs.
I have mostly been in IT of some form for my whole life, even did a brief stint as a commercial automation installer for lights and HVAC systems.
Life caught up with me I was unable to keep up with an aging x10 system. I have simplified my life, networks, project and many other things to keep up with life as a Dad and being a homeowner.
Jumped to Hubitat because it is local and I am a bit of a privacy geek. The advances in Z-wave and ZigBee have been amazing! I have started including motion everywhere.. not just closets, and I feel like the system is setup in such a way that it can be secure.
I do sometimes miss looking at one giant config file my whole home automation but then I remember how much I love having lights that work!
I haven't kept track, truly of when this addiction started.
If I had to guess, I'd say I started with the Almond+ in 2013, then moved on to the first gen SmartThings and possibly the Hue sometime in 14 or 15. Other than hue lighting, I initially only used the hubs for door and window sensors.
When I started remodeling my home in 2016, I added automation (using SmartThings) to the kitchen, and then gradually started adding more as time went on. Eventually, the great SmartThings Classic vs New app thing started to irritate the hell out of me, and I (somehow) ran across Hubitat in early 2019, ordered one, and later a second (backup)...transferred all my automations, and added a boatload of new ones.
So, in a way, I'm and Almond+ and SmartThings refugee, and since I've swapped over my automation addiction has drastically worsened (gotten better?).
Anyway, no regrets, Hubitat is "The Way" as far as I'm concerned!