Samsung Advances in Trend to Connect Devices

By Yukun Zhang
BU News Service

LAS VEGAS – All Samsung devices will be connected to work within “an open ecosystem,” said speakers at the company’s CES press conference on Monday.

“In 2015, we made a bold promise here that all Samsung devices would be IoT (Internet of Things) enabled by 2020. Guess what? Ninety percent of our TVs, appliances, smartphones, and tablets are now IoT-ready,” said Tim Baxter, Samsung’s North America CEO.

Baxter said Samsung sold “almost half a billion connected devices” every year, and its platform for connecting its devices, SmartThings, has evolved into “one of the largest open IoT platforms with over 370 certified devices from more than 40 brands, automating millions of daily activities monitoring and controlling [homes] whether you are there or away.”

The products announced during the press conference at CES 2018, from home devices to work appliances, will all be managed in SmartThings.

The goal, said HS Kim, President, and head of Samsung’s Global Consumer Electronics Business, is to give consumers a better experience in the world of IoT.

Kim noted that connecting new devices with old ones can be difficult for consumers. “Each device is a new set of experience, a new password to remember, a new interface to learn and a new way to manage and control.”

To demonstrate how Samsung will simplify the procedure, Yoon Lee, Senior Vice President of Samsung Electronics America, set up a new TV on stage. Having connected the TV to his cell phone with Bluetooth, he then loaded his phone apps, such as Pandora, onto the TV without inputting any passwords.

Samsung devices will not only be connected, but also intelligent with the help of Bixby, Samsung’s voice assistance. Bixby, according to Kim, will “understand you and figure out what you need before you ask.”

Bixby can recognize different voices to give individualized answers to commands such as “Hi, Bixby, play my morning brief!”

Joe Stinziano, Executive Vice President of Samsung Electronics America, said the Samsung TV was a “dashboard for connected smart devices at home.” Users can monitor all other devices on the TV screen without interrupting the viewing experience.

Similarly, the Samsung refrigerator can, besides telling you how long your food has been in it or suggesting recipes, be turned into a monitor board for all other devices. When the doorbell rings, the screen on the fridge or on the TV allows the user to see the image captured by a security camera.

Samsung cars will be smart enough to notify you when a driver you are waiting for is arriving, or when a family member is arriving home.

“Our cars are no longer islands. They have to communicate with traffic lights, instruments, infrastructure and even other cars on the road,” said Dinesh Paliwal, president and CEO of Harman International Industries, a subsidiary of Samsung that produces Samsung cars.

Intelligent cars and 5G technology, which allows people to use high-speed internet in transportation, “will lay the groundwork for fully autonomous driving in the future,” said Paliwal.

Other products announced in the press conference include The Wall, a 146-inch customizable MicroLED TV, smartwatches equipped with Bixby, a Samsung Notebook 9 Pen, a PC with a 360-degree rotating screen, and Samsung Fl!p, a whiteboard that connects computers and cellphones for teamwork.

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