Samsung unveils new SmartThings IoT strategy

Samsung unveils new SmartThings IoT strategy

Samsung unveils new SmartThings IoT strategy
DJ Koh of Samsung outlines the company's 'connected thinking' strategy at the Samsung Developers Conference in San Francisco (Credit: Samsung)

At the Samsung Developer Conference (SDC) 2017 in San Francisco, Samsung has made a number of significant announcements about its IoT strategy and the SmartThings brand.

As well as opting to unify its IoT services under the new SmartThings platform, South Korean technology giant Samsung  has revealed a next-generation voice assistant, Bixby 2.0, and new augmented reality capabilities for Samsung smartphones.  

The company’s latest push towards the smart home market focuses on doing more to unify a fragmented marketplace and prioritize the end user experience.

The headline news is Samsung’s decision to bring together its separate IoT services – SmartThings, Samsung Connect and ARTIK – into one united IoT platform: SmartThings Cloud.

Read more: Google launches Cloud IoT Core, a managed IoT service

SmartThings’ smart home ambitions

Samsung is working towards the futuristic ambition of a fully-integrated smart home, where things ‘just work’ and, it says, where there’s “no need to interact with many different apps to achieve results.”

To do that, the company now offers a single cloud-based hub that can connect and control IoT-enabled products and services from a unified touchpoint. The move makes the SmartThings Cloud one of the world’s largest IoT ecosystems. Samsung claims it will  deliver a connected consumer experience that is “innovative, versatile and holistic.”

The new cloud will give developers access to a single API across all SmartThings-compatible products, which include cameras, speakers, doorbells, locks, lighting and home assistants from a wide range of providers, including the likes of Amazon, Google, Netgear, Yale and Bose. The SmartThings Cloud will also provide secure interoperability and services for business developing commercial and industrial IoT solutions.

“At Samsung, we’re constantly innovating in order to deliver smarter, connected experiences for our consumers. Now we’re taking a big step forward with our open IoT platform, intelligent ecosystem and AR capabilities,” said DJ Koh, president of the mobile communications business at Samsung Electronics.

“Through an extensive open collaboration with our business partners and developers, we are unlocking a gateway to an expanded ecosystem of interconnected and intelligent services that will simplify and enrich everyday life for our consumers.”

Read more: Samsung unveils NB-IoT GPS smart tag

Upgrades to Bixby and AR

While the SmartThings convergence strategy will steal the headlines, Samsung also announced two related moves. The first is an upgrade to the company’s voice assistant, Bixby, which was launched just six months ago.

Bixby 2.0 will be available on a variety of devices, including Samsung Smart TV and its Family Hub refrigerator. The main difference is that now Bixby will sit “at the center of consumers’ intelligent ecosystem.”

Just as the new SmartThings cloud will allow a more integrated approach to smart home solutions, Bixby 2.0 will introduce “deep linking capabilities” and upgrades to its natural language abilities. The result, Samsung expects, will be to better recognize individual users and create a predictive, personalized experience that anticipates needs.

Samsung will also provide a software development kit to bring Bixby 2.0 to more applications and services. The Bixby SDK will be available to select developers through a private beta program, with general availability to come in the near future.

Finally, Samsung has announced an AR partnership with Google, which will see the search engine giant’s ARCore SDK become available to Samsung consumers on the Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy Note8. In a statement, Samsung suggested that “this strategic partnership with Google offers new business opportunities for developers, and a new platform for creating immersive new experiences for consumers.”

Read more: Samsung debuts wearable tech for health and safety