Interview with SmartThings: How a Faulty Pipe Unlocked The Internet of Things

December 04, 2012
Written by
Jonathan Gottfried
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SmartThings CTO Jeff Hagins

How can the internet help when you’re halfway to work and you realize you didn’t lock up your apartment? What about when your dog runs away, or you leave all the lights in your house on? SmartThings is working to unlock the Internet of Things and make everyday things like your house, your car, and the lights in your office easily accessible and controllable. And as of yesterday, they closed their $3 million seed round with investments from SV Angel, Lerer Ventures, and CrunchFund among many others.

SmartThings uses custom built “magic hubs” so everyday things can automatically connect to the internet as well as their cloud platform. You can use the SmartApps application to connect with and control your SmartThings. The platform will also be open to developers and makers to create new functions, hardware and apps.

Developer Evangelist, Jon Gottfried, recently interviewed SmartThings co-founder and CTO Jeff Hagins, and discussed the philosophy of the Internet of Things.

“It’s really our belief that that space hasn’t taken off yet because there hasn’t been a truly friction-free way to do it. Something that allows consumers to take a kit off the shelf and take a couple things out of a box and actually solve a real-world problem in less than five minutes, and that’s what we’re working on.” – Jeff Hagins 

Jeff talks about how co-founder Alex Hawkinson got the idea for SmartThings when a pipe in his cabin froze and burst, causing over $50,000 in damage. Alex knew the damage could have been prevented if he had a way to monitor the pipes remotely by making his everyday gadgets smarter:

At the same time he was sitting there [in his cabin] with his Kindle 3G and his iPhone, both of which had perfect signals, and it didn’t make sense to him that this wasn’t a solvable problem at a consumer level. Well, clearly this was probably solvable by the EE hacker but not by the consumer. So we started a journey late last year thinking about those types of issues, about the ubiquity of bandwidth everywhere in the air with 3G and 4G and WiMax and even WiFi in your house – how do we solve that problem?”

To hear Jeff’s  answer and learn how SmartThings integrates Twilio into their apps, you can listen to the full interview here:

Learn more about SmartThings and pre-order a package by visiting their website.