I was reading the referenced thread today and as a former IRIS user I have some thoughts on the subject. As most know IRIS is no more. Lowe's is a big company and had the money to reimburse users for some or all of the devices users purchased. As far as I know Lowe's never gave a reason for dropping IRIS. I assume that it either was losing money or just not profitable enough. One obvious possibility was they offered to much for free. I was one who took advantage and never signed up for a premium service as my needs were satisfied by the free options.
Now I have invested time and money in Hubitat. My hope is it will be the last HA and Security system I will purchase. To survive Hubitat needs a steady income stream. Eventually the sale of hubs will not be sufficient to provide that income stream. Premium services are obviously a way to provide an income stream.
In the referenced article Hubitat said they do not plan to "bait and switch" their users by starting to charge for thinks they now provide for free . Great! However they already provide almost everything I want for free and if they keep adding more.......
My point is I don't want a repeat of the IRIS situation. I don't want Hubitat to someday go the way of IRIS because they didn't have a steady income stream. I don't expect them to reveal their "secret plans" but rather I just hope they have a plan for the income stream that will be necessary for them to survive long term and I don't think just selling hubs is the answer.
Just my opinion and you know what they say about opinions.
I feel exactly the same as you. I am a 2+ year ST user and got fed up with the juggling of two apps and lack of support. Just ordered my HE yesterday. One thing that held me back this long was the concern that HE would go away due to lack of a "revenue stream." The other concern was HE's lack of a phone App. The say the app is coming soon!
In one of the podcasts they have talked about this. Since Hubitat is local, they don't need to spend all the money maintaining servers. You're right about other hubs not being profitable because selling a product and paying for the lifetime server support of that product is not profitable. Hubitat is not required to scale to cover people's hubs constantly accessing servers.
Basically because Hubitat is local is doesn't need to pay the overhead cost of tons of servers that have killed the profitability other hubs.
[EDIT] Also they don't store all the data in a cloud that other hubs are required to store. Further saving on overhead costs.
I also agree. I'm surprised they have made this a hardware business rather than try to sell subscriptions for a pro level service. I work in the software business and appreciate the value of annuity streams. I'm a refugee from Stringify, which in my opinion was an excellent product, but also free and ultimately was bought by Comcast and then destroyed. That's a possibility here too, although at least we would still have our products and local operation. That all depends on the owners ambitions. An acquisition can release millions in equity and so can be attractive of course. I really hope this goes well but right now I don't see the business plan clearly unless it's just a great tool created by real enthusiasts that don't care about getting rich Maybe the long awaited mobile app will be a dollar a month
One more thing to think about...
You hub runs locally without an internet connection to HE
If Hubitat went bust.. you wouldn’t get any more updates... but that would not stop your continued use of your hub.
And I do NOT expect that to happen, I’m sure that plans are running nicely
The app is on it’s way.
I asked Patrick Stuart from Hubitat this exact question on a recent podcast. His answer was lack of remote control (having to pay for servers) kept them profitable. I for one, however am still unsure there is a long-term plan in selling $99 hubs.
EXACTLY !!! If HE simply died the hub would still work and you could still edit/add devices and apps.... providing that the deve's would send a command to not check if the HUB was registered or not due to the TIME not being correct which has been a issue in the past and all though the fix is just setting the time from the browser would fix it.
I've been hearing this a lot lately... I don't get it, there's cloud dashboards.
Somebody on Hometech,fm podcast was saying there was no way to access Hubitat from outside the home...
It's built into every Dashboard...
They have a cloud application that is very lightweight that essentially handles traffic between cloud URLs and local URLs. It's also the stuff that the Google, Alexa, IFTTT, etc. integrations use to get at the hubs I bet. They've also got stuff running for hub registration and updates.
It's all very lightweight at this point compared to what other hubs have to host and store. Probably most of the burden is Alexa/Google Home and dashboards at this point.
You don't have to sell many hubs to keep a handful of people paid and a AWS instance or two running. At this point they've been conservative and kept things lean and nimble.
We do have plans for Premium Services, just not ones that we are ready to discuss at this time. We've been focused on putting a strong home automation platform in place, one that you can trust and rely on. That's the base from which our customers will consider paying for more.
I always thought that when ST offered a free cloud service for their $70 hub (more or less depending), they were telling you how much that service was worth. That view helped explain why bugs never were fixed and things constantly broke. I've had a low opinion of free cloud services ever since. We want a service that you'd pay for to offer real value. Stay tuned...
Partly the reason I asked Jason to have Gavin back on. I explain my experiences as a neophyte would and Gavin takes it from the more expert point of view. I've still got a lot to learn as others on the forums appear to do.
In its current form there is no way to offer access to the control panel since it runs locally and no cloud URL to it other then for dashboards and other OAUTH apps. You can get around this using reverse proxy though which I still think that's a undesirable route to take and a VPN a better choice.
They would have to setup the cloud url to also point to the hub settings which I don't think is safe. The whole idea to LOCAL was that you didn't have to rely on cloud for anything so long as your apps and devices worked correctly locally which is why Dashboards was initially the only cloud service offered. That brings to mind if they added 2 factor login that would be a good start.
I do think that the mobile app will be part of the premium package when that is offered.