I have been asking this EXACT question (well… for a “product Roadmap” and … transparency), over and over again, literally since Day 1 (well, the day that I became a Kickstarter Developer level Backer).
There has never been a response firmer than the consistency of honey.
@hagins’s 3-week old blog post is meaningless, as it contains no timeframes, and there isn’t anything in the strategy he describes that is a commitment.
I can’t speak for SmartThings, but I’ll repeat my view:
SmartThings does not have a published strategic plan for many reasons …
(a) they don’t know, care, or have the resources to document,
(b) they are more investor (VC) driven than customer focused,
© mass-market consumers are a higher priority than us small developers,
(d) like COUNTLESS companies over the past few years (and beyond), above all else, SmartThings has only one goal: To establish a sufficiently growing revenue stream and strategic major corporate partnerships (e.g., NEST and other device manufacturers?, home monitoring services?) such that they will be attractive to a buyout/merger that will make the founders rich, and provide a nice rewards for the early employees granted equity options. (Keep in mind that the buyout MAY occur with the SOLE purpose of KILLING the product-line in order to eliminate SmartThings as a competitor to the buying party.),
and (e) they cannot publish any internal strategies/plans because this will give the competition an advantage and reduced the necessity of a buyout for intellectual property purposes.
There are a LOT of competitors entering this market, most with very similar strategies (i.e., hub & cloud, and Z-Wave/Zigbee/BLE/IP, and cloud-to-cloud APIs): However, the degree of openness already/will/may vary greatly.
Webee (currently in campaign on Indiegogo) claims that their hub is Android based and they WILL allow developers to completely “root” the hub and hack it. http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/webee-the-real-smart-home
Ninja Blocks already is completely hackage, and perhaps the NinjaSphere also will be: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ninja/ninja-sphere-next-generation-control-of-your-envir?ref=live
WigWag is in refinement and production after successful Kickstarter, but is likely far behind schedule). Public commented discussions with them have implied that they will allow a great deal of hacking, though I don’t think they are fully open hardware like Ninja: http://www.wigwag.com/
And there are various other systems … most of which seem even more “closed” than ST, and variations (webcam centric, voice control (Ivee and The Ubi…).
Big vendors are ramping up their offerings (Lowes, Comcast, AT&T, … ummm… GE?).
My conclusion at this moment in time?
SmartThings is first-to-market and that has expected advantages. Their campaign fundraiser did well due to being first, not because they were the “best” – backers has not much to compare against!
As the competitors “catch-up” to SmartThings, we consumers will see the benefits of market-competition: i.e., there will be pressure to excel… Except, the market is not efficient: Poor products often beat better ones due to non-technical factors (flashier marketing, first-to-market advantage, bigger behind-the-scenes funders, mergers). It’s Beta vs. VHS, perhaps … though hopefully the use of open standards will minimize the possibility of a horribly fragmented marketplace.
This is actually a fascinating real-live case-study. Remember when Edison put immense pressure on Tesla by claiming AC power was far too dangerous to use, in order to promote and profit from his costly DC distribution system? Edison was a real donkey-hole. I’m not, in any way, implying that SmartThings has any nefarious intent … just that history will look back at this time with a VERY different perspective.
Happy New Year!