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SmartThings Inc. is a technology company headquartered in Mountain View, CA with a software development center in Minneapolis, MN. SmartThings is building an open platform for smart homes and the consumer Internet of Things. SmartThings makes a hub (sometimes called "gateway" or "home controller"), cloud platform, and client applications.

Samsung SmartThings Logo.png
Type of site
Available in English
Founded 2012 (2012)
Headquarters Mountain View, California
Area served United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland
Owner Samsung
Founder(s) Alex Hawkinson, Andrew Brooks, Jeff Hagins, Ben Edwards, James Stolp, Scott Vlaminck and Jesse O'Neill-Oine
Industry Home automation
Parent Physical Graph Corporation
Native client(s) on iOS, Apple Watch, Android, Windows Phone, Samsung Gear S

SmartThings was bought by Samsung in August 2014.[1]



The company was founded by Alex Hawkinson (CEO), Andrew Brooks (COO), and Jeff Hagins (CTO), Ben Edwards, James Stolp, Scott Vlaminck and Jesse O'Neill-Oine. The group founded SmartThings in spring 2012 and first launched on Kickstarter in August 2012, raising $1.2 million.[2][3] Consumer internet executive and former Etsy CEO, Maria Thomas, joined the founders in early 2013 as Chief Consumer Officer.[4] The company has raised $15.5 million in capital to-date, including $12.5 million in a Series A round in November 2013 which was led by Greylock Partners and Highland Capital Partners.[5]

The idea for SmartThings was conceived by co-founder and CEO Alex Hawkinson in the winter of 2011 when his family's mountain house in Colorado was extensively damaged after a power outage caused the house's pipes to freeze and burst.[3][6][7][8] When power was restored, water flowed through the unoccupied house causing approximately $80,000 in damages.[9] Hawkinson noted that he could have prevented the damages if he had known what was happening inside the house.[9] After failing to find a suitable solution to the problem, Hawkinson and co-founders began to build a SmartThings working prototype.[9][10]


In September 2012 SmartThings secured $1.2 million through a Kickstarter campaign.[2] The company won the Spark of Genius startup competition at the Dublin Web Summit with a prize of €100,000 in October 2012.[11] It then raised a $3 million seed funding round in December 2012.[12][13]


SmartThings began selling its products commercially in August 2013 on its own Web site and in September 2013 on[14]

In November 2013 SmartThings raised $12.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Greylock Partners and Highland Capital Partners.[5][10][15][16][17][18]

In 2013 SmartThings updated its iOS mobile app with a newly designed user interface for increased usability.[19][20][21] Some features of the update included the creation of the app’s main dashboard which highlights primary use cases such as “doors and locks”, “lights and switches” and “dangers and damages”. It also introduced a simple rule-building approach so customers can customize SmartThings to fit their specific needs.[19] A PandoDaily article about the update noted that installs of the app grew from 30,000 to 130,000 after the release.[21]


In May 2014 SmartThings released another update of its mobile app and developer tools. The updated mobile app, which is designed to simplify the process of adding and managing new devices, has a broader range of actions and alerts that can be configured to control and automate the 100+ devices supported by the SmartThings platform. To bolster the platform's capabilities, the company also established standardized processes for software developers to follow when writing their own applications and configurations for how to automate their homes or connect smart devices to each other in order to enable a series of outcomes. Comparable to the App Store's review process, the updated developer toolset includes a certificate program and formalized submission and approval process.[22][23][24][25][26][27]

In August 2014 SmartThings and Direct Energy, a Canadian and American energy provider, announced a partnership meant to increase the number of Canadian and American homes hooked up to smart technology. The smart technology offered basic energy management, home automation, and home security. The Direct Energy/SmartThings plan came with a fixed-term energy plan and a free SmartThings starter kit that included a hub and sensors.[28]

Connected home demonstrationEdit

In January 2014 at the International CES show, the company rented a house near downtown Las Vegas to demonstrate how devices can be integrated with SmartThings' services.[29] The demo also served to present SmartThings Labs, which allows users to access early-stage device integrations.[29][30] The connected house featured products from partners like Philips Hue, Belkin WeMo, and Sonos.[31] For one demonstration, a Jawbone UP24 triggered a morning wake-up routine that turned on kitchen lights, began brewing coffee, and tuned a Sonos Play1 to NPR News.[31][32]

$200 million acquisition by SamsungEdit

In August 2014, SmartThings announced that they had reached an agreement to be acquired by Samsung and would operate as an independent company within Samsung's Open Innovation Center.[33] The acquisition was seen as a move by Samsung to move into the internet of things space.[34]


In September 2015 the company announced[35] the next generation of the Samsung SmartThings Hub, a new lineup of products, and a brand-new SmartThings app experience. The new Hub enabled video streaming, had battery backup that lasts up to 10 hours, and could run certain functions locally to improve performance and continue to operate without an internet connection. The new collection of Samsung SmartThings sensors became smaller and have been redesigned with a sleeker, more contemporary look. The SmartThings mobile app has been redesigned for easier navigation and a more intuitive experience.

Products and servicesEdit

SmartThings' primary products include a free SmartThings app,[36] a SmartThings Hub,[36][37] as well as various sensors and smart devices.[30][36][38]

The SmartThings native mobile application allows users to control, automate, and monitor their home environment via mobile device. The application is configured to fit each user's needs.[36][37][37][39] The app's SmartSetup area, accessible from the app's dashboard, facilitates the process of adding new devices.[24] Customers can use the app to connect multiple devices at once or follow a dedicated path to configure one device at a time.[24]

The hub connects directly to a home's internet router and is compatible with communication protocols such as ZigBee, Z-Wave, and IP-accessible devices.[36][37][38] It serves to connect sensors and devices to one another and to the cloud, allowing them to communicate with the SmartThings native app.[36]

Some SmartThings compatible devices include, among others:[36][37]

One example of a SmartThings starter bundle includes "a motion sensor, a moisture sensor, a smart outlet, two fobs with 'presence' sensors, and two multi-sensors that can detect movement, vibration, orientation and temperature."[30]

Online shopEdit

In August 2013 SmartThings launched an online shop called SmartThings Shop that features a curated selection of home-automation devices.[14][40][41][42] Products listed on the shop include those made by SmartThings as well as third-party products from GE, Schlage, Kwikset, and Aeon, all of which are compatible with the SmartThings platform.[42] Products are arranged in categories such as starter kits,[42] common problem-solving solution sets,[42] and individual items.[40][41][42]

SmartThings LabsEdit

SmartThings Labs was introduced in January 2014 as an area within the native app which allows users to access a series of projects that are being built by either the internal SmartThings team or a community of developers. These projects are still being worked on in production and are meant to give customers early access to upcoming product integrations. For example, SmartThings customers can access Labs to control their ecobee thermostats, Belkin WeMo switches, Quirky Pivot Power Genius, Sonos, Philips hue bulbs, and TCP light bulbs directly from the SmartThings app, and also to trigger these products to adjust when various actions take place.[9][43][44]

IFTTT recipesEdit

SmartThings is integrated with IFTTT ("if this then that"), which enables users to trigger events when certain things happen on different web applications.[45] For example, an IFTTT recipe might state that if I leave my house, then SmartThings will lock my door.[45][46]

Developer toolsEdit

SmartThings Web-based integrated development environment (IDE) provides resources for developers to create new rules within the SmartThings native app.[47] One creative example of third-party developers interacting with SmartThings includes the integration of Leap Motion capabilities into the SmartThings platform, enabling commands to be recognized through hand movements.[48]

Many of these third-party solutions then become available to all SmartThings customers through either the SmartThings Labs or SmartApp sections of the SmartThings app.[47][48]


  • ReadWrite listed SmartThings as one of 10 companies that changed the narrative in 2013.[49]
  • Bloomberg News listed the SmartThings Home Kit as one of 15 Internet Devices to Make Life Easier -- or Less Annoying in 2013.[50]
  • The Star-Ledger included SmartThings in its list of Top Ten of Technology from 2013.[51]
  • CNET gave SmartThings a CNET editors' rating of 4 out of 5 stars in December 2013.[52]
  • Entrepreneur magazine listed SmartThings as one of Four Hot Tech Startups to Watch in 2014.[53]
  • Fast Company magazine ranked SmartThings as the fifth most innovative company in the Internet of Things in 2014.[54]
  • Forbes magazine listed SmartThings as one of five smart home companies to watch in 2014.[55]
  • Mashable included SmartThings in its list of 10 Startups to Watch in 2014.[56]


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External linksEdit