SmartThings, the open-platform smart home company that sold itself to Samsung a year ago, is rolling out its first new product line since it was acquired by the Korean electronics giant.
The new SmartThings "smart hub," a router-like device that supports various wireless protocols and powers a series of sensors around the house, has a new design and is equipped with a more powerful processor to support video monitoring.
That means that SmartThings users can connect a home monitoring camera, either a D-Link camera or a Samsung-made one (natch), to the new hub and monitor the live video feed from the SmartThings mobile app. While the app will serve a continuous live-stream of video, video isn't sent through SmartThings' servers, the company says, and is only recorded in the event of activity. The new hub will also have battery back-up capabilities, lasting 10 hours in the event of a power outage.
"We see home security as the biggest starting point, by far, for the smart home," Alex Hawkinson, SmartThings founder and CEO, said in an interview. "Before SmartThings was easy for early adopters, but I think now we're mass market easy."
The SmartThings mobile app for iOS and Android have been redesigned for a more intuitive experience, Hawkinson said.
The new SmartThings hub goes on sale today and costs $99, the same price as the previous model. Compatible sensors, like outlet switches, motion sensors, and moisture sensors, range in price from around $30 to $50. And SmartThings is using its new parent company to extend its retail presence outside the US, starting with the UK.
SmartThings, of course, is hardly the only company striving to become the dominant platform for connected homes, and competition is stiff. Everyone from media service operators, to big box retailers like Lowe's, to Google-owned Nest Labs, are trying to get in on the game, all of which have much better brand recognition than SmartThings.
But SmartThings does take an open-source approach that a few others don't. It supports nearly 200 devices, and has partnered with companies ranging from Honeywell to Bose to Schlage. It's also now working with GitHub, a web-based repository for source code where developers can create and collaborate on new projects.