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Will SmartPhones shortly rule our world? 'SmartThings' says yes

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 17th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Will the handy, dandy Smartphone begin to take an even larger role in day-to-day activities? Will these useful, pocket-sized gadgets soon rule our daily lives? If Kickstarter's latest gadget SmartThings catches on, due to ship in time for Christmas - that answer may very well be - yes.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - SmartThings founder Alex Hawkinson says he was inspired to design the device after a power outage at his vacation home when his basement pipes exploded. Arriving at his vacation house a month later, he regretted there wasn't a way for him to get a notification before things grew from bad to worse.

"Imagine if you wanted to create a sprinkler that knows when it's going to rain," he says. "Amazing things become possible when you connect regular things to the Internet."

Since necessity is the mother of invention, Hawkinson went to his drawing board and came up with SmartThings. The system is powered by a wireless hub that links to a collection of sensors users can place around the home. The entire system can be controlled through a Smartphone.

Kickstarter will begin with support for power outlets, such as for turning devices on and off, open and shut sensors for monitoring windows and doors, motion sensors and presence detectors. It will only grow from there, with more and more sensors being added.

Will the world be beating a path to Kickstarters' door for the gadget? Probably, as a basic kit -- one hub and three Thing sensors -- currently starts at $174. Add-on will cost $25 to $35 each.

Hawkinson says he plans to eventually charge monthly fees of $5 to $10 for SmartThings' service. Kickstarter backers will have those fees waived.

"We feel confident because all the pieces already exist and we're just making refinements at this point," Hawkinson says. "If you check out the app demo, you'll see simple examples of how the hub, the Things, the cloud, SmartApps, and the mobile app are already working."

SmartThings has raised more than $750,000 through a campaign. It's also attracted outside developers: Hawkinson says several hundred are already working on add-on apps for the system's open platform.

With the chance to become slightly omniscient, Hawkinson says he envisions apps for literally everything, allowing people to wire up their things "like you can install apps into your phone." Want to keep track of your kitty? Slap a presence sensor on her collar and track her location with the "Oh No, My Pet Is Loose!" SmartApp.

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