Samsung intensifies move to connect the home
After buying smart home all-in-one solution SmartThings, Samsung is slowly revealing its desire to integrate the Internet of Things (IoT) across its household equipment and consumer electronics, connecting every device in the home.
In addition, the South Korean giant also announced that it would acquire Quietside, a manufacturer of air conditioners, heaters, and other HVAC appliances. Details of the buyout remain undisclosed.
The SmartThings platform relies on an Ethernet-connected hub capable of communicating with ZigBee, Z-Wave as well as IP-accessible devices. Once dispatched to the internet router, the info can be processed on the cloud and fed back to smartphones via a control application. The hub can be paired with a multitude of sensors such as presence sensors or motion/actuation sensors (very much like Sen.se's Internet-connected hub Mother and its fleet of Cookies).
As market research firm Analysys Mason puts it, the acquisition estimated to around $200 million enables Samsung to link two of its previously separate core businesses, consumer electronics (smartphones, tablets TVs) and domestic appliances (refrigerators, washing machines, cookers, vacuum cleaners, air conditioning units).
It also places Samsung in a strong position within the emerging smart home market: Its competitors Apple and Google lack the appliances in the home that Samsung has, while domestic rival LG, although it also supplies domestic appliances as well as consumer electronics devices, lacks a strong presence in the smartphone and tablet markets.
The market research firm also came with interesting figures about what they call the "connected consumer." In its forthcoming Connected Consumer survey 2014 report covering 7,485 respondents in six European countries (France, Germany, Poland, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom) and the United States, Analysys Mason indicates that 35 per cent of respondents had a Samsung handset, 25 per cent of respondents had a Samsung TV set, and 11 per cent had a Samsung tablet.
According to the market research firm, Samsung can capitalise on this large installed base not just to control, but also drive the take-up of its own next-generation, connected domestic appliances. Now with all this connectivity wizardry, the smartphone being at the centre of all these remote control scenarios, will there be a push to remove all these useless clock displays from whitegoods and kitchen appliances?
This reporter thinks that appliances that are "smart enough" to be connected should also be smart enough to turn their lights offs when not in use, and they should certainly get rid of these redundant clock displays that "non smart" appliances feature too often while rarely being setup properly (any power cut generally upsets them and the end user).
- Julien Happich
EE Times Europe
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