CNET Article - SmartThings snatches Amazon's director of engineering

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That’s a very positive development. Definitely shows a high level of commitment on Samsung’s part.



I don’t see any experience in his background with mesh networks. Which I’m guessing will have a subtle but significant impact going forward. Most people only see mesh’ disadvantages on their first few projects with it. (We already know Apple chose not to go with mesh for HomeKit.) and you have to be really good with the technical aspects of mesh to get stability out of it in a cloud architecture.

So my guess is, assuming he lasts more than six months, this does define The future ST road map: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, some thread (but not much). Zigbee when it’s bridged, used for lights and battery-powered sensors. Two years from now I’d expect the majority of ST customers to have no zwave devices.

Obviously I’m just guessing. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, even if I’m completely wrong, this can only be a good thing for SmartThings. Amazon has managed all along to avoid the most common technology company trap: settling for delivering a “proof of concept” product rather than one that both scales and meets MFOP targets.

Philosophically, Amazon puts “meets customer expectations” on a separate track from “sounds good at a keynote speech.” They’ll play around with drone projects and get plenty of press for them, but the drones won’t be allowed to impact the current customer experience negatively. That’s a corporate shift that SmartThings needs to make to have long-term viability as more than just a name slapped on other Samsung projects. :sunglasses:


Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Does this statement mean that they did in fact respond to the request, just not immediately? :smirk:

No, it means they didn’t respond with a “no comment.” They just didn’t respond at all, but may yet.

I don’t think this hire speaks at all to our commitment to mesh networking standards, as much as it means the cloud platform is going to scale better and overall engineering practices will get better. Robert is an engineer’s engineer and very driven. It’s a good hire.


I would be really upset if this happens given my investment into zWave.

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There’s some more quotes from Alex and Robert at the source article on The Verge

Most interesting word used, “guardrails” for development.

To be clear, i’m not suggesting there wouldn’t be ongoing legacy support for Z-wave. Just that those are not going to be the devices that will be top of the list for most future ST customers when they look at available platform features.

Look, the fact that there are still no wall-mounted multibutton Z wave controllers on the official compatibility list is a blackeye for SmartThings versus every other Zwave-based competitor. There are community-created device handlers for them but still nothing official.

Yet multiprotocol button controllers are probably SmartThings’ strongest device feature relative to any competition. That’s sort of a weird disconnect from an engineering point of view. You have this really powerful architectural feature but you don’t deliver it officially for any device except the handheld Minimote.

Anyway, sorry if I was confusing.


Everytime I buy another zWave switch I think to myself “is there another option?”. Sure, you can go the Belkin Wemo route, but I tried that and hated it. You can also go the zigbee or Insteon route, but there are no guarantees there either. It’s a crapshoot.

This seems like a big jump just because Parker doesn’t have mesh in his résumé.


To me this speaks to a desire to improve engineering practices in general. My experience in the trenches tells me that the right person at the right place at the right time can change the probability of success dramatically. As critical as I’ve been of this operation, I keep following it in part because I want to see it all turned around.

Good luck all.


I too believe this will be a positive for Smartthings. This is the leading HA platform for now and I don’t think anyone doubts it’s potential. It’s certainly having a painful transition to the role as leader but I think this is a move to help them fulfill that role. This platform has the potential to do for HA what the IPhone did for phones. The question is will they make the necessary time, money, and effort investment to make that happen. I think this hire means that the are committed to that goal.

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I agree with everything you are saying, except I am not sure we can define ST as a leader. If we go based on pure sales, the Echo most likely will take the cake at over 35k reviews compares to ST which is probably in the thousands if you add up all of their hub products. The echo definitely is considered a platform as they integrate with other technologies.

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I agree that’s an interesting word “guardrails” (?) … but perhaps I’m just hungry and brain not working – I don’t understand the metaphor.

The article’s author couldn’t get any specifics, but I interpreted it as ST would start doing more to make sure people’s code (the car) doesn’t hurt the platform (drive off the road). Which Alex has eluded to in his statements on here already.

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Yah… well, that’s definitely a good thing. I just find it very difficult to believe that “people’s code” (i.e., Community Development and personal development) was allowed to “hurt the platform” to begin with.

Seems like instrumentation, controls, and restrictions would have been the first thing put in place.

Echo is a great product. Although it’s general accepted that it’s popularity far outstripped Amazon’s expectations for it. It’s does however serve as a fair example of what can happen for Smartthings.

When you are the defacto hub/platform of choice for HA, you no longer have to concern yourself with what sensors are comparable. No one would bother trying to market products that didn’t work with the hub/platform everyone uses. The developer community for smartthings is a real asset but imagine an iTunes/Google Play store type of location where all smart apps can be vetted and offered for easy integration. Developers who want to make money can, Samsung gets a cut providing an ongoing source of revenue for the platform. In addition, you solve the problems of code going off the rails as it were.

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Most companies use a bus driving metaphor. The company drives the bus, determines direction and speed and the customers (and others) come along for the ride. A crash hurts everyone so company and customer are all in it together.

Sounds like Parker is still wanting to control direction (guardrails) but it is not clear who supplies the bus and who drives it. If there is a crash, the guardrails prevent fatalities.

Maybe he recognizes developers have more control and SmartThings has to make sure the inevitable crashes don’t cause fatalities.:smirk: