A few months ago I decided to invest in SmartThings, a company that allows users to control everything surrounding them in their life on their smartphone. Lights, air conditioning, even your house’s security system. What makes SmartThings so great is not only that you can connect with these devices, but you can connect them to each other using real world apps. SmartThings creates a service out of all of your existing hardware, which is something I love and is very much in line with the Hardware as a service line that we pursue at Fon. The Fonera was created not only as an device to share WiFi, but also to make your WiFi signal more functional, more useful for the user because it allows you not only to connect to WiFi at home, but all over the world.
We are moving towards a more connected world, towards a world where technology will let us automate our day to day to a greater degree. A future where our devices will “speak” to each other to resolve our needs. Wired magazine recently reported on the phenomenon. They called SmartThings the pioneer of the field, and explained the three stages that we’ll eventually pass through to reach this “programmable world”. The first: transforming everyday objects into intelligent ones, the phase we are in now in which you hardly find products that don’t offer internet connection or synchronization with other devices. The second: connecting these objects together and allowing them to “converse” with one another, which is what SmartThings is already attempting to accomplish by connecting smartphones to an array of objects such as A/C and lights fixtures. The third and last phase is the most futuristic: building apps based on this connectivity and having them linked to available outside data, to predict, say, weather patterns and lower your A/C accordingly.
SmartThings tackles all three phases in different ways, from a chip that can be put into almost any electronic device allowing control through the mobile app, to an app development platform and store allowing anyone to create, buy, and sell apps that connect your devices. In the end it’s about seeing hardware come to life and perform a service that makes our life better, more streamlined and more connected.
Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars