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August 21, 2013

SmartThings Opens Shop For Internet of Things

Imagine being able to monitor and control your home, your car, your pets and more using just your Smartphone. The developers behind KickStarter project SmartThings is turning that idea into reality.

“We’re creating a platform that’s going to make it possible for anyone in the world to connect everyday things to the Internet for monitoring, control, automation and fun,” says SmartThings co-founder Alex Hawkinson.

The Internet of Things is the theory that any ordinary object can be controlled by a computing device through means of an identifier. In basic terms, an object like a thermostat can be equipped with hardware that sends and receives a signal to a Smartphone. A user then controls that object remotely.

It’s this theory that SmartThings is based on. The company hopes to be the missing link between device makers, developers and consumers.

To do this, the SmartThings team has developed a platform on which its project operates on. Firstly, it’s developed hardware to control household objects as well as developer and maker kits, sold in its SmartThings Shop. Secondly it’s developed an app to control and monitor objects, and finally, SmartThings has built a hub that acts as a connector between the objects and the user’s Smartphone.

SmartThings already has more than 3,500 developers throwing their support behind the idea — which is fantastic news, since SmartThings is an open-source platform that relies mostly on developers and device makers. The project has already surpassed its $250,000 Kickstarter goal four times over.

According to CNet, SmartThings plans to create revenue by taking small fees from its app developer community or service providers associated with the project.

“For example, if a SmartThings sensor detects a home security problem, the app could immediately dispatch a local security service. If moisture sensors detect a problem, SmartThings could guarantee that a plumber will show up within a certain period of time,” says CNet. SmartThings would then collect a small fee from the service it dispatched.

Hawkinson is confident that now is the prime time to utilize the Internet of Things and launch the program.

“As the Smartphone becomes the center of communication, media and banking, it’s ready to be useful in rest of your life” said Hawkinson, as quoted by CNet.

One concern with SmartThings is security. As consumers connect more of their objects and personal items to their Smartphone, hackers have more opportunity to breach users’ security.

Hawkinson says SmartThings developers have been “super-mindful” of security issues and are confident users will be safe.

“Each device across the entire network has a globally unique ID at the hardware level that cannot be spoofed, and hardware level encryption with new keys regularly established between the SmartThings Hub and the SmartThings Cloud,” he told CNet, adding that criminals are more likely to break a window to gain access to a home than to steal a Smartphone and remotely unlock the door.

SmartThings’ shop is currently offering two starter kits for consumers at a cost of $199 and $299. The first kit includes a hub plus three sensors and devices meant for controlling objects around the users’ home, while the second kit also includes a hub with six devices and sensors.

For more information visit the SmartThings shop or the Kickstarter website.