Minnesota’s most ambitious Kickstarter campaign yet has launched today with the intention of crowd sourcing a quarter million in cash to “make the world a smarter place,” through an ‘Internet of things’ hardware + software platform play.
If awesome implies enabling anyone to remotely monitor, control and automate various aspects of their physical and digital lives in novel ways through the emergence of a new, globally recognized Minnesota startup, then yes — awesome indeed.
SmartThings’ grand plan is contingent upon reducing a number technical complexities and hooking together a lot of moving parts in a cohesive user friendly and functional fashion.
Fundamentally, a localized hub acts as the brains, communicating with various sensors (power, motion, presence, open/close, etc.) that then connect with a suite of web-based and mobile ‘SmartApps’ built by either the SmartThings team or by an independent 3rd party developer ecosystem.
A key aspect here is the open standards toolkit for developers and inventors to create and share their own apps or devices using the SmartThings chip module, salable on the SmartThings marketplace.
“We want to give your front door, your bed, your toilet, anything and everything, an API. There’s something for everyone — unlimited possibilities to build on the platform,” Edwards exclaims.
Formed in April under the umbrella of Physical Graph, the current roster includes more than a handful of technology specialists, including: Edwards, Alex Hawkinson, Jesse O’Neill-Oine, James Stolp, Andrew Brooks, Scott Vlaminck, Jeff Hagins. The combined talent pulls from previous relationships formed during the creation and sale of CloudProfile for $8.8m to ReachLocal back in 2010, while also tapping into Minnesota firms RedEye for rapid 3D enclosure prototyping and Proto Labs for the injection molded finished device enclosures.
Together, the team has been beta testing the prototype devices, sensors and apps in their own day-to-day lives while working with the FCC for official market-ready approval. Ultimately, the foreseen revenue path is through a blend of device sales and premium software products.
“The awareness of the project and consumer insight will be worth it alone,” Edwards says referring to the social fundraising strategy.
“Whether or not we reach the financial target, this is happening, we are shippers,” he affirms, pointing to the September 22 countdown. Between their collective clout, a growing Facebook campaign, and a with few tricks up up their sleeves — SmartThings is poised to continue building momentum for a release by years end.
“There’s a lot of Minnesota inertia here,” says Edwards. “We’ve been brainstorming for a while, but when we hit on this we thought whoa, this is really big…let’s do it!”