Bridging the gap between the digital and physical worlds just became a whole lot easier.
IFTTT and SmartThings have announced a partnership through which people who use both products will be able to “seamlessly integrate all types of innovative sensors and devices with your favorite online services.”
The only surprising aspect of this alliance is that it took so goddamn long to be formed. The services have long complemented each other, with one (IFTTT) promising to make it easier to automate your digital life while the other (SmartThings) blurs the gap between the digital and physical worlds.
“With IFTTT, each channel talks to a specific service or device type. So imagine if you had different channels for each lightbulb you have,” says SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. “One of the powerful things about partnering together is that as they abstract all Web services, we abstract all lightbulbs.”
This isn’t a simple example of a hardware-focused company partnering with a software-focused counterpart, however.
SmartThings has already built an interesting “apps” marketplace through which users are able to put the myriad sensors that ship with the SmartThings Hub to good use. Instead, the partnership is about making it easier for other, less technically-inclined users to create their own automations and uses for their newly-connected homes.
“It’s literally going to be impossible for a group of programmers — or a million programmers on a million laptops — to define all the connections between these connected devices and existing services, plus the ones that haven’t come out yet,” says IFTTT CEO Linden Tibbets. “What we’re trying to do is give people who are on the ground, in that context, the tools and resources to solve some of those problems and make that connection themselves.”
The glut of startups seeking to connect everyday objects to the Internet has shown that there’s some interest in using the Internet to augment our everyday lives. (We did an entire series on the way connected devices — and software — are changing the way we interact with the physical and digital worlds.) Now, between IFTTT’s easy-to-use interface and SmartThings’ box of sensors, it should be easier for even more people to embrace the connected future.
[Disclosure: PandoDaily is backed by Lerer Ventures, Marc Andreessen, Jeff Jordan, Chris Dixon, and Josh Kopelman, which have also invested (often via the respective firms of which they are members) in IFTTT and/or SmartThings.]