Athome quality board for apps

Don’t think.that my email to support will make any difference. This will end up on a pile. Community discussions hopefully will.

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The vast majority of apps are home made by enthousiasts who spend hours and hours on an app in their (scarce) spare time. Many pay for the hardware themselves. Some even buy a second Homey to develop on. The results of that labour are donated to the community expecting nothing in return.

Many of them then continue to spend even more time helping users of that app with their problems. And more often then not those apps are way better supported than the ones Athom makes themselves.

And yes, that developer will not have bought all possible devices to test with. So some devices may not always get implemented or may fail. A lot of developers do not get much help, if any at all, from the manufacturer or Athom. A happy few, me included, do get help or products from the manufacturer or other sponsors. That is highly appreciated, but it does not represent the majority.

And yes, after some time that enthousiast may move on to other things and abandon the app.

If you want quality apps, those apps will not come free and may never get made in the first place because the manufacturer does not know about Homey or doesn’t care.

So praise to all the single developers like @martijnpoppen, @Gruijter, @TedTolboom, @Jamie, @DaneedeKruyff, @johan_bendz, @Adrian_Rockall, @Arie_Laxed, @MarcelT, @Koktail who’s apps I very much depend upon, and the countless others I did not have the pleasure to find or that I forgot to mention. I wanted to mention more, but only 10 are allowed per post.

If at any time Athom would pose demands on us (or ask us to pay eur 99 per year to become a verified developer for that matter) we would all probably stop putting the apps out to the community. Same if we would be asked to guarantee life long support for free. And then your problem would be lack of support, not variations in quality.

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They best start to improve their own apps first!

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Fully agree, thank you very much!

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@Mathijs_1971 , your observations are quite valid.

Your not the first person to pose these concerns. I’ve seen a few business professionals (from large companies) come on this forum over the last year or so and essentially express the same concerns as yourself…

These concerns also worry me…

For Athom to survive long term and for them to successfully enter into the large global market (especially the US market) which they are now trying to do they REALLY need to “radically” revise how they structure their business and do things.

In my opinion they firstly need to have a very big review of all the apps on the platform (including their own) and have a huge clean up .

They need to bring the overall quality of all of the apps up to an acceptable consumer level and have a very big revision of everything and delete anything thats deemed crap or is “abandonware” which litters the platform.

BIG clean out…,

After I purchased my Homey Pro I was really disappointed to find many features (the reason I bought it) that were advertised ended up being garbage…

If Homey was just a free open source project by some users which you can download off the internet for free and flash onto a cheap €60 Raspberry Pi then these things wouldn’t be a problem. Hey it’s free., that’s what you get… :crazy_face:

In this scenario it would be quite reasonable for one to have low expectations on if things work properly, get weak support , have abandoned apps scattered all over the place etc etc … but what we a talking about here is a premium “high end” consumer grade product.

A very expensive one at that at (€370) … (Apple would even blush at this price). With Athom’s latest product (the bridge) you now have to pay them every month for your house to work for the rest of your life. (I’ll make a prediction this will be €4.99 within a couple of years).

You simply can not have a line up of expensive, high end, premium consumer grade products but run your business like a Hackey open source project. It is totally unworkable and is ultimately destined to fail.

In my opinion the main thing that “radically” needs to change is the relationship between Athom and it’s 3rd Party developers…

This is ultimately the main cause of all the quality issues with many of the apps on the platform. (overall) …

Not all apps are bad. There are some great 3rd party developers on here… (most mentioned in the earlier post). Most are essentially unpaid volunteer’s which go above and beyond in what they have to do. They donate their own time , have lots of responsibility, have to deal with customer enquires with little to no money or reward.

In my opinion the “no money or reward” part really needs to change. !

With no incentive system, unpaid workers, you will not get a quality product…

It’s simple economic’s…

Athom can’t continue selling high end consumer grade products and services (reaping all the profits from them) by using unpaid devs to make most of their apps and do most of their customer support for them.

You just end up with a poor platform and a bunch of pissed off unsatisfied dev’s. It’s an unworkable system…

There are probably a few alternative business models that Athom could undertake to remedy this.

One concept I personally think would work is if Athom basically setup a profit share system with all the dev’s.

There are various ways this could be done but essentially what ever Athom makes in profit (after their own costs) … eg paying staff , office space etc etc , a certain portion of the total profit (judged by a percentage ) should be pooled off into a seperate account and all dev’s receive a portion of that. No matter if your a big dev or a small one. All get a portion.

This creates incentive. The more Homey’s that Athom sell the bigger this portion gets, the bigger the cut to each dev. Creating an app now becomes a potential investment for a dev rather than an ongoing liability. They could receive potential ongoing payments for years and years. All they have to do is make sure the app works and keep it up to date. If they slack off or it turns into abandonware then they loose their position in the profit pool…

A self sustaining ecosystem base on incentive and reward…

Making good quality apps sells more Homeys. More Homeys means more share of the profit.

As to how the share of the profit pool is portioned between each dev would need some thought and would need to be debated. Eg what is the value of each app worth … etc etc Just based on installs ?

Does anyone have any thoughts on this . ??

If we are all going to be able to keep using Homey’s and have a system that works well and reliably unfortunately the business , money and corporate side of things really need to be addressed and fixed otherwise Athom will just end up like like most Kickstarters. Have a good idea or concept but end up going bankrupt due to a failed business model or incompetent directors of the company…

Russ

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Is it possible to put this extreme large posts between <> also?

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Hi Edwin,

My view is from a consumer. I buy a device from a company which company says it works with 50k devices. I didn’t expect buying a device with this many issues.

For athome to survive, they need to get this right and they need a subscription model. Also to support 3rd party developers. All the improvements, bug fixes, new hardware support cost them money. This is exactly what you see with their new product. If this doesn’t change for the full version, it will not get mature.

I’m having an app developing company. Users are expecting a working product. Too many issues can’t be corrected by pointing out the 3rd party developers point of view.

I do believe athome is in trouble from a business perspective. And I do believe this great community is able to help them if they reach out. Especially their new product is interesting for a larger group of customers, but the software needs improvements. Less bugs and it needs scenarios. Easier setup for non tech users.

Mathijs.

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Exactly. A single sell (the homey product) and unpaid 3rd party developers is not a stable business model in the long run. That needs a different view. No longer focus on selling a product, but a service.

This service needs a monthly/yearly payment from the user. Their new product seems to go a bit this way, but they didn’t use this active community and all the unpaid 3rd party developers to the extend they could be.

This new product is not ready for my parents, because it isn’t plug and play, but it feels they go for this kind of target audience. Users expect an easy to use product.

If they don’t change their view fast, this new product will fail and so probably the company, because of the investment. They need somehow to get more money out of their users. If that is not going to happen, this will end. The product is not ready for a large group of customers due to bugs and the need for user implementation skills.

Short;

  • They need to go from product to service
  • They need to go to monthly payments from users
  • They need to solve bugs quickly
  • They need to pay 3rd party developers
    and
  • They need to implement scenario’s next to flows. (External lights flashes on at night for X minutes when some passes → you drag and drop your motion sensor and lights into the scenario and set the values → ready.)
  • And I would suggest to implement a more than great “dashboard” app next to the current app. This dashboard app needs to be “grandma friendly” and great looking. This not only is an easy way to monitor your house or to interact with the most common actions, but it probably will also sell the service, because this is what you show to your friends.

Mathijs.

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That’s because Athom considers third party developers in general to be untrustworthy and low-skilled, at least that’s how it has felt to me for years now (and one of the reasons I stopped actively developing Homey apps).

The developer “guidelines” for the new Homey Cloud are another example of this, clearly targeted against community developers, with a fairly stiff entrance fee to begin with (although it wouldn’t surprise me that Athom would waive that fee for developers that develop popular apps).

Radical changes to SDK’s are, at least that I know of, never discussed up front with community developers. Like I said somewhere else, “the SDK is developed by Athom for Athom”, and they don’t really seem to care if their changes mean breaking community apps.

For Homey Cloud, a number of very popular community-built “tool” apps will not be made available because those kinds of apps are considered to be “advanced” by Athom, and therefore limited to Homey Pro. My guess is that at least some of those apps, or at least specific functionality that those apps offer (timers!), will make their way into Homey Cloud because of user demand, flipping yet another finger towards community developers that see their app ideas being copied by Athom while at the same time being told that their app cannot be used in Homey Cloud.

Anyway, on with the weekend… :smiley:

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If you look you will also find posts by me saying the Homey Pro business model is flawed. But for me, the fact that Homey is standardized hardware allowing for community apps is part of its charm. It sits in the middle between closed platforms and Home Assistant, which is more complex for most users.

Buyers should be aware of the challenges that come with the open model. Athom isn’t helping in that respect. They like to pretend all apps are perfect in their marketing. I really feel they are being less than truthful currently, e.g. by also using the 50.000 marketing hype in reference to their cloud offering. That claim is impossible to substantiate as the number of supported apps is very limited due to the fact that there they do block apps they feel are low grade.

So go cloud if you want higher quality, but it does place Homey cloud in the closed ecosystem area in my book. At the cost of versatility. Banning apps because Athom didn’t agree with them is what drove some community developers mad enough to create the community app store, where you can also find high quality apps that Athom frowns upon.

Also be aware that mileage may vary. The Qubino app you mention as being unstable works just fine for me for instance. If that would be banned you’d create a lot of furious users.

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I’m sooo glad I just found this topic.
I’m typically in this situation : after comparing a lot of solutions, i’ve opted for Homey Pro and its 50k compatible connected objects.
Except for my Hue lights and remotes, almost NOTHING works. I’m so so so disappointed.

Even if it’s Zwave, Zigbee or GH compatible, I have to spend HOURS before buying anything connected just to check if it’s part of the extremly limited compatible hardware.

And if Yes, 90% of the time by a 3rd party developer, will it have the functionalities I need.

Homey Pro has so much potential!!! Why don’t they have REAL developers?
When you see the price of this thing, I’m just waiting for a 5-stars developping team.

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Hi Forden,

Exactly. I’ve a bunch of non working qubino hardware for example. I end up buying new dimmers and switches because of this. Their marketing and my experience doesn’t match. This is not good for a product which has potential. I’ve downloaded their Financial Statements of 2020 (and so 2019). They only have to publish a very small amount of information (they are a small company). But from the info available you can see they have only a 600k loan externally. Which didn’t change from 2019 to 2020 (although their equity capital increased, so they probably sold more units). So, there is not a large investment ongoing, for as far I can guess. It seems they are running as ‘usual business’, but the product isn’t mature yet. No good. Or I must be very wrong. Please correct me, if so.

Cheers,
Mathijs.

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Is this community forum really the place to discuss Athom’s (Without an e at the end!) way of doing business and ranting at developers? Really, I’m quite offended by fuckers such as yourself when I see how you talk about developers who spend countless hours of their free time.
If you don’t like how Athom is running their business, send them an email. If you don’t like the product, move along. If you think you can do better, do so!
But don’t bother the community and community developers with your bullshit!

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I really hope you’re not talking of me if in your answer.
Your post is exactly the reason why I didn’t post my opinion earlier.
We are in a big fanatic world here. No place for real world opinions….
As most of the posts of this thread are discussing the product itself. Nobody really complains of the extraordinaries 3rd parties devs.

My opinion is about Homey Pro’s team. Only.

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Hi,
Please reread what I wrote. I have doubts about athom’s business model, especially if they don’t pay 3rd party developers, but do rely on them. I’m not offending developers at all! The opposite!

Mathijs.

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You were saying Athom should sit in judgement of 3rd party apps. But those 3rd party apps ARE the community apps 90% of the time. Apps by Athom are most often the badly supported ones. I vote 3rd party developers should sit in a quality board on Athoms apps :crazy_face:

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Yes. I vote in favour of your suggestion :-). Include users as well.

My experience as a consumer is one of great working and supported 3rd party apps and a large set of less complete, beta-like apps, including Athom’s apps. It is not about those great working of course. As you can see, if you bring up this discussion, those who are doing all their utmost best to deliver quality, feel maybe offended, but they shouldn’t be. It is not about those apps. It is about the total experience, which needs improvement to keep Homey alive. The beta-feeling comes from all the different things which doesn’t work as expected. This absolutely differs from my Fibaro HC2 experience for years.

I think it has potential, but there is a large mismatch between Homey’s marketing and the product.

Cheers.

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Well… I seem to use the apps which function like a charm then.
And a big :+1::+1::+1::beers::heart: for all 3rd party / volunteer devs for creating and supporting such cool apps.


Including the fresh Flow Checker app

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I have to agree with @Russell_S and Mathias.
Athom is being plainly hypocritical about 3rd party apps and developers.
They advertise the devices support delivered by the 3rd party apps but when issues occur athom washes hands off them completely.

Athom can’t fix their own apps either. Their update broke all my Hue integration with their own app and they cannot resolve it in my case for months. They’re blaming me for ‘software and flows installed on my Homey’. Hey, all of it is your own sw and apps you approved on your store.

My conclusion is that connectivity is hard and combined with software is too much for athom. They not up to technical and business challenges this poses. There are too few great developers and businesses is lacking vision.

They should be racking millions in investments(probably in the States), because they have a kind of working product and potential for subscription model and all. Expand devs pool and get the proper support. But there’s probably a reason why they were unable to do that. It’s a bit amateurish operation that has not fully come out of the garage yet.

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Here is another fallout of the hue issues. Athom wrote that I “ demanded service not owed in any way, but received nonetheless as a courtesy.”
This is how they see their responsibility to customers. I guess they’re quite smart to be that stupid so I have to file under “that’s the way we roll”.

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