The future of smart home living
"By the time he came back in the spring, his living room and the first floor of the house were a swimming pool," said Mark Younger, Europe's SmartThings managing director.
While Hawkinson and his wife were in the midst of repairing the damage, Hawkinson saw her downloading a digital book on her e-reader. He realised that if she could download a book from pretty much anywhere in the world, he should have the means to check in on his home from anywhere as well. If he had, the flood damage could have easily been prevented.
Shortly after Hawkinson's realisation, SmartThings — a platform that allows hundreds of smart devices (ranging from lighting, to door locks, to cameras, entertainment systems and everything in between) to be connected through one hub and easily controlled by just one smartphone app — was born.
In the ensuing years, Samsung SmartThings has made innumerable innovations in smart home living — producing benefits that range from peace of mind to home security to convenience and entertainment.
And according to Younger, the future holds many exciting ways to help people take advantage of these existing benefits, and to customise and expand their smart homes based on personal need and preference.
"We believe that smart homes come in all shapes and sizes, and our system can grow with you through various stages of life," he said. "We're working with a lot of brands who are integrating SmartThings into their products. This will enable some really cool home automation in the near future, and you'll have the ability to experiment and find the right setup for you, regardless of the brand or style of product you like."
The expandability and customisable aspects of SmartThings fits well with most users, because people tend to start with one smart home benefit in mind — like the convenience of listening to music in any room of the house, or having the peace of mind that comes with a high-tech baby monitor — then they gradually expand their system over time to include more intricate uses. Just a few simple examples: You can set up your stairways lights to turn on dimmed at 10 percent, so you and your children can easily see where you’re going if you have to get up to use the bathroom; you can automate your kettle or coffee machine to turn on when you're scheduled to wake up; and you can even set up your system to send your phone a video clip notification whenever movement is detected near your home's entrance.
"We've made it super easy to set up what you want, and often people find that what they initially got a starter kit for is just the tip of the iceberg, and they'll add on to the kit once they realise all the other capabilities and possibilities," he said.
Future innovation in the smart home realm is being driven by developers of all sorts, along with consumer input. Younger said the entire developer community is working with Samsung to create integrations with their devices in areas like security, entertainment, energy use and a slew of others. And consumers provide input (often via social media) about a capability they'd like to see integrated into a smart home system.