In this Article

A SmartThings "hackineer" explains what he does, why it matters, and why the people driving the latest technology revolution forward aren't those…

Share this Blog Post

A SmartThings “hackineer” explains what he does, why it matters, and why the people driving the latest technology revolution forward aren’t those that you’d expect.

Feed me.

I’m a hackineer. A title that has no specific job duties, no strong guidelines, and lots of room for interpretation. It’s a title we made up. I build things, break things, hack things, and create things. I’ve made SmartThings devices that can make you a mixed drink when you come home from work, feed pets as soon as they get hungry, and others that simply turn itself on or off when you tell it to.

Recently, I was sitting on a bench overlooking a lake in Minneapolis and chatting with a friend. While discussing what’s new at work and different projects I’m working on, I casually mentioned that it would be cool to make a little “smart” boat to putter around the lake. Maybe it could report data back to the user, or just be controlled through the SmartThings app. Not a big tech person, my friend looked at me, shrugged, and asked, “What’s the point?”

It was a normal question, but it caught me off guard and left me speechless. It was something that seemed so straightforward to me and so foreign to him, and it bothered me all day that I couldn’t articulate why this mattered.

People in our office are always dreaming up new and different ways to use SmartThings. An automatic butter spreader? Yes. A tennis ball cannon? Sure. A controllable super soaker? Why not. Innovation isn’t just encouraged around here, it’s championed. Never once has anyone in the office ever asked, “What’s the point?”

No one ever asked the Koosh ball guy, “What’s the point?”

When you work in a fast-paced, head-down environment, it’s easy to get absorbed in what you’re doing. Admittedly, those of us who are designing the Programmable World often forget to stop and explain why it’s important to people in a way that doesn’t sound too technical. And as I thought about it more, one of the reasons my friend’s question bothered me so much was because I can build, hack, dissect, and create new inventions all day long as a hackineer, but it’s everyday people like my friend who are going to be the ones to propel SmartThings into the future.

The “point” is not about making a robot who pours you mixed drinks or a boat that putters around a lake, or even about any single device. It’s about building a platform and driving a technology forward that allows everyone from tech novices to experienced developers to customize it and use it in a way that makes their lives easier, better, and more fun.

Life changing. Delicious.

Think of it this way: The people who invented the microwave transmitters were smart, but the person who thought, “…Can I zap chicken with this thing?” is the one who changed the world. The people who invented the Internet were brilliant, but the person who came up with the simple idea to let people post pictures and profiles of themselves and create a social network changed the way we live. The technology and projects that our team of developers are working on is new and exciting, but what’s going to be innovative and game changing are the ways that other people use our products and technology to create meaningful improvements in their lives.

It’s my job to create new things. And it’s my goal to build an open, limitless platform that not only offers people dozens and dozens of out-of-the-box solutions that can make their homes safer, smarter, and more fun; but that’s also dynamic and flexible enough to inspire others to think about how they can customize the product to respond to their needs and make it an integral staple in their lives.

So what do I want to build today? The world’s first smartphone-powered floating science station that records chemical readings, takes close-up pictures of wildlife when they approach, and–for good measure–tells a bar back on the dock to automatically pour you a shot of whiskey every time it takes a reading or snaps a photo. I want to build it because it’s new and different.

And because I can.

Subscribe for more articles like this!

Your email address
[contact-form-7 id="831e457" title="Contact form"] You may opt-out at any time. Privacy Policy.

Learn more about becoming a SmartThings partner.

Work With Us

Inspire the world and create the future of IoT at SmartThings.

You Might Also Like...

SmartThings Updates

August 14, 2014

SmartThings, Samsung, and the Open Platform

Friends, Today is a big day for SmartThings. I’m excited to announce that SmartThings has been acquired by Samsung and will operate as an independent company within Samsung’s Open Innovation Center group. It has always been our goal to create a totally open smart home platform that brings together third-party developers, device makers, and consumers. We’re thrilled that Samsung fully supports this vision. We will continue to run SmartThings the way we always have: by embracing our community of customers, developers, and device makers and championing the creation of the leading open platform for the smart home. Our growing team will remain fully intact and will relocate to a new headquarters in Palo Alto, CA. In short: SmartThings will remain SmartThings. (more…)
Read More
SmartThings Updates

March 31, 2015

Update: SmartThings Hub & Hardware V2

Earlier this year we announced that we’ll soon unveil the next generation of the SmartThings Hub and several sensors. We wanted to provide a quick update on our progress to date. (more…)
Read More
SmartThings Updates

September 3, 2015

The Next Generation of SmartThings is Here

We’re excited to announce that the next generation of the Samsung SmartThings Hub, a new lineup of products, and a brand-new SmartThings app experience is available today. Our mission has always been to create the easiest way for people to turn their home into a smart home. In fact, we started SmartThings out of a desire to know the answer to a basic but deeply personal question: is everything OK in my home.  We believe our latest product evolution delivers on this ambition. Here's a look at what's new and improved: The New Samsung SmartThings Hub and Sensors The new Hub enables video streaming, has battery backup that lasts up to 10 hours, and can run certain functions locally to improve performance and continue to operate without an internet connection. The Hub will continue to support ZigBee, Z-Wave, and local internet connected devices. Two USB ports and embedded Bluetooth will support future expansion. The new collection of Samsung SmartThings sensors are now smaller and have been redesigned with a sleeker, more contemporary look to fit seamlessly into the background of your home. The New SmartThings App Experience The free SmartThings app has been redesigned for easier navigation and a more intuitive experience.  You can now directly organize and control your connected devices by room, view live streaming from cameras, quickly set up and run routines, explore the marketplace of nearly 200 devices now compatible with SmartThings, and so much more. One of the exciting new features of the SmartThings app experience is Smart Home Monitor– an integrated home monitoring solution. Smart Home Monitor allows you to receive alerts and take action when SmartThings detects unwanted entry or motion, smoke or fire, leaks, or other important activity. Existing customers will be able to configure Smart Home Monitor from their dashboard within 24 hours after downloading the updated app. With Smart Home Monitor, our Hub version 2, and a connected camera, you can also get instant alerts with an accompanying video-clip when these unexpected events occur.  Video buffering in the new hub means clips can start prior to the event so you can see exactly what is happening in your home. Video clips will eventually be a premium feature within Smart Home Monitor but are available in beta as a free trial through 2015. After the free trial, a premium version of Smart Home Monitor, which includes video clips, will be available for $4.99 per month. Live streaming will always be free. The new SmartThings app will be available for free download on iOS and Android starting today, with Apple Watch, and Gear S apps to follow. Be sure to check out our post for a more in-depth look at the app’s new features. We would like to extend our heart-felt thanks to our customers, supporters, and developer community. Your commitment, feedback, and ideas are what make our open platform truly special. We hope you you enjoy the new SmartThings experience.    
Read More

Our Most Popular Categories