First of all, let me say that I am a big fan of ST, and really want to see it succeed. I am imagining that the Apple announcement yesterday must have caused a fair degree of chaos at ST. In once sense, it is fantastic for SmartThings because it goes a long way towards validating the space. On the other hand, it will cause a fair degree of confusion for people who are not educated about the space. Even if there was zero overlap between Apple and SmartThings, Apples announcement has the potential to slow sales while people “wait and see” what will come with the IOS 8 release. Unfortunately, there is not zero overlap, especially in messaging.
Because of this overlap, and the fear that Apple’s over-positioning of this feature could have serious consequences for SmartThings, the natural tendency would be to steer clear of Apple so as to not get crushed by their marketing machine. I suggest steering into the skid. Announce your total support of HomeKit, and say that the combination of HomeKit and SmartThings is the best thing since butter and bread. Even if the most significant benefit is that you get a Siri front end to SmartThings, it will be fine. People will continue to buy from you if they feel that their investment is safe.
For the uneducated, hearing that SmartThings and Apple will work together is enough to put aside their concerns. To the people that do their research, they will see that SmartThings already delivers well on this value proposition, and that the success of HomeKit depends on the adoption of too many parties to do anything but “wait and see”.
This announcement may be the greatest thing that happened to SmartThings, or it may be the quagmire you drown in, depending on how you execute in the coming weeks.