Sure, we had to hop in a cab and take a rather expensive ride out into the boonies. But we had no option -- SmartThings had no official presence on the CES floor. Thankfully, the 45 minutes we spent in transit were not wasted. The company rented a rather opulent McMansion far from the strip and tricked it out with sensors, connected light bulbs, smart locks and cameras. It looked like the sort of place that was probably used as the set in a porn at some point, but on this day it was the location of a rather impressive connected home demo meant to showcase its new Labs program. SmartThings announced Labs during CES, which gives users early access to third party apps and devices. Philips Hue, Belkin WeMo, and Sonos are the first three partners to join, and many of the demos in the home revolved around those products. For example, they built a "wake up" routine triggered by a Jawbone Up24. When the wearable is taken out of sleep mode, it tells SmartThings to turn on the lights in the kitchen, start brewing a pot of coffee and fires up NPR news on a Sonos Play1. In other examples the Sonos was used as an alarm or virtual guard dogs.
A more fun example had a motion sensor attached to a hammer inside a piano. When that particular key is hit, it tells a Sonos to playback a file, allowing founder and CEO Alex Hawkinson to mime his way through a rather challenging classical piece. Obviously, there isn't much practical purpose to rigging up your piano with sensors (at least not that we can think of) but it shows just how versatile the young ecosystem already is. We don't want to ruin all the surprises, so just check out the video after the break, in which Mr. Hawkinson gives you tour of SmarthThings' CES headquarters.