Robert Parker has served as Amazon’s director of engineering for the past five years, working on projects such as Alexa, the Fire TV Stick and Prime Music – now he will be moving on to improve Samsung’s home automation platform, SmartThings.
Samsung has put Robert Parker in charge of all future hardware and software development at the consumer home automation outfit, as SVP of engineering.
It’s not the first time Robert has jumped ship to another company. Previous to Amazon he worked for Microsoft for 18 years, but believes that Samsung’s SmartThings offers him many opportunities to improve smart home technology in the consumer sector.
“I’m going to make something that is measurably better for your house,” Robert says in an interview with The Verge. The veteran engineer believes that his knowledge of making consumer-friendly devices will help revolutionise the Internet of Things.
“SmartThings has this opportunity to really be the heart of your home,” he says. “When I started talking to Alex [Hawkinson, SmartThings’ CEO], one of the things that was really exciting to me was thinking about taking that experience to the next level.”
In recent months SmartThings has been struggling to maintain its image amid security concerns with the service, but Robert believes that the benefits SmartThings will offer in the future are more important than short-term concerns.
“Having something that really works is critical,” Robert says. “That’s one of the things that working at Amazon, I carry to SmartThings.”
Over 30,000 developers are currently working with SmartThings, something Robert wants to continue to foster. “Openness has really allowed people to participate,” he says. “The next step is to sit there and say, ‘now that you’re participating, let’s making sure that we help the ecosystem as a whole get better, work better, be more reliable and be more scalable.’”
Samsung’s Developer Conference kicks off on April 27, so it’s likely the company is planning to focus on SmartThings for at least part of the show. Already the company has showcased its commitment to it by promising that all of its products will be IoT-enabled by 2020.