Samsung has just announced it has acquired Internet of Things firm SmartThings, which is one of the major connected home platforms.
What SmartThings allows you to do is control your home – in an integrated way. You can connect all of your smart devices to their system, be they sensors, security cameras, locks, lightbulbs and everything but the kitchen sink (but who knows, maybe they’re working on a wifi kitchen sink right now?). Then the app lets you control and monitor them from home or remotely.
Essentially, its exactly the sort of platform that Apple is planning to build with HomeKit and Google with Nest, where instead of individual devices having individual apps, they will all be controlled centrally. This means that you can make devices work together – for example, having all of your lights switch off if your thermostat detects there is nobody in the house.
According to Samsung’s press release, the open platform currently supports more than 1000 devices and 8000 apps. Apparently the company will continue to operate ‘independently’ within Samsung and of course, as with all of these things, no one has said officially how much was paid.
The move seems like a bit of a power-play by Samsung, hoping to muscle in on the still embryonic connected home market. Whilst Google and Apple have mobile platforms still sewn up, by buying an Internet of Things firm with a relatively large market share, it is able to make itself an important player by default. Conceivably this means that the company could gain a better stranglehold on customers – insisting they use Samsung phones and devices to remain compatible (would you switch to iPhone if it meant replacing all of your household appliances?).
That said – it appears that Samsung won’t be taking such a hardline approach. SmartThings CEO said in the same press release that:
“As an open, standards-agnostic platform for the Internet of Things, our vision has always been to innovate, build, and make the world smarter, together,” said Alex Hawkinson. “With Samsung behind us, we will be able to attract more device makers and developers to unlock the limitless possibilities of the consumer Internet of Things. We are thrilled to become part of the Samsung family and continue our goal in making every home a smart home.”
Do you use SmartThings already? Let us know what you think in the comments.
By James O'Malley | August 15th, 2014