Every day there are more appliances and devices coming out that have network components. For instance, by 2017, “all Samsung televisions will be IoT devices, and in five years, all Samsung hardware will be IoT devices”. That’s a quote from BJ Yoon at Samsung at CES this year. Samsung is betting on openness as a key to IoT. Why? Because almost every hardware manufacturer is looking for integrations because none of them create enough smart objects to ‘own’ the ecosystem, and much of the value from them comes from them working together.
Within five years most devices will have a networked component of some kind, and in ten years they probably all will. The components to embed in the devices are cheap and becoming established. The network connectivity is pervasive, and our phones now have good screens to interact with them.
The problem is that at the moment, although the hardware is really good, the software sucks – particularly the service layer stuff.
Now, a San Francisco-based company, founded by Dopplr founder Matt Biddulph and ex-Yahoo Brickhouse Head of Product Tom Coates is building out a new consumer-facing product that combines Smart Home technology with their expertise in location, social networks and the web of data.
They previously formed Product Club as a way to find a product to build, while doing some consulting along the way. Now they are launching their new startup: Thington.
To do it they have raised Angel funding from some pretty well known tech people and investors, including Ray Ozzie, Stewart Butterfield, Eric Wahlforss, Joi Ito, Marko Ahtisaari, Saul Klein, Loic Le Meur, Matt Rolandson and Samantha Tripodi. Terms were undisclosed.
“We’re making a better user interface and service layer that is respectful to manufacturers and open and we’re trying to be a couple of generations beyond what other people are doing,” says Coates.
“Think of it this way: Zipcar at the hardware level is just the ability to lock and unlock cars. But Zipcar as a service is so much more than that because it’s about what you can do with that hardware, what service you can create around it. Our sense is that everyone’s been building remote controls, and we think we can go much much further in building that service layer around the connected objects in people’s lives.”
“We’re bringing together a lot of our interests here – connected devices, the web of data, location and more.”
Based on their previous history and ability to launch great products, this is going to be a team to watch.