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Andrew Brooks: Internet of Things is about to disrupt a lot of industries

Andrew Brooks, co-founder of Internet of Things company SmartThings, woke up the after-lunch crowd at KANEKO today with a presentation on enabling smart homes while also enabling innovators to solve their industry’s problems.

The SmartThings product

Brooks told the story of how his co-founder went on a family vacation only to find the pipes in their cabin had frozen, thawed and burst weeks earlier. “This massive asset, the house,” Brooks explained, “had no voice.”

Brooks and his team had never built hardware before—“we’re software people,” he said—but it was 2011 and they knew there had to be a better way. In eleven months, SmartThings had their finished product on a pallet. “Creation feels amazing,” Brooks said, but added, “Be very afraid if you build an actual physical product.” Despite some preliminary ups and downs, he said, SmartThings as a company is not only building devices that connect to the home but also building a vision for its product and platform.

The SmartThings platform

The SmartThings product is focused on the home, Brooks said, but it’s also poised to disrupt other industries: 

  • Home security. In this $30 billion/year industry, only 16 percent of households have a security system.
  • Safety and risk management. More information means reducing and preventing water damage, smoke damage, and poisonings.
  • Retail. Personalized recommendations and efficient space planning can help traditional retail compete in an online world.
  • Health care and wellness. Alerts and sensors can assist with aging in place and alert caregivers to pre-indicators of health problems.
  • Government. Smarter cities (with, say, garbage cans that send alerts when they’re full) are cleaner and more efficient.
  • Enterprise. More connected devices at home mean more connected devices in the workplace. Industrial innovators can solve big problems with solutions like smart oil rigs.

Brooks closed with a suggestion that the global economy can benefit from the industrial Internet, creating a new industrial revolution. 


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