At the CES 2015, BK Yoon, the President and CEO of Samsung claimed that all of its products will be Internet-of-Things enabled by 2020. The company said it plans to ensure 90 percent of all its devices are IoT enabled by 2017. Samsung also announced it would invest over $100 million in 2015 in IoT startups by strengthening its accelerator program and expanding international developer events.
In the vision that Yoon outlined, he said ordinary things like chairs would be IoT enabled, for example warming up as users near home, or alarms on phones automatically triggering an audio system for waking up etc.
Additionally, Yoon called for greater openness and collaboration across industries for IoT to really take off. He emphasised the need for an open platform, for various devices to connect to each other and be compatible with all other devices. This, according to him will be critical for IoT to be relevant to people.
So what is Samsung working on? The company claims its currently developing a new three-dimensional range sensor to detect movement, and is also working on chips such as its new package on package (ePOP) memory and Exynos bio-processors, which it says will be energy-efficient and compact enough for wearables.
In August, the company had picked up SmartThing, a startup that makes smart home hubs, which work as translators for devices with different smart home standards, to get them to work together. The new SmartThings Hub, is based on an open system and is compatible with Android, iOS, Windows as well as Samsung Smart TVs.
Openness is necessary for IoT penetration. For example, to transfer the music one is listening to on their phone headphones automatically to home speakers on entering home and car speakers when in the car, its necessary for the phone, the home music system and the car audio to work together. It is unreasonable to expect consumers to buy everything they need from the same brand, or even for the same brand to produce the variety of devices consumers will expect to work together. As Mr. Yoon put it, “Neither one single company nor one industry alone can deliver the benefits of the Internet of Things, to create this IoT universe, we have to see the potential of the Internet of Things across all kinds of industries.”
Note however, as the number of IoT devices grow, privacy will increasingly become an issue, as these devices collect, store and/or transmit data from consumers, which could be hacked or used with malicious intent. As Medianama had pointed out earlier, we give our data away online every day – to apps, search engines, social networks, email newsletters and media companies, e-commerce firms, and even if some of them don’t follow guidelines, or keep changing their privacy policies, and this problem will only get worse as IoT devices gain ubiquity.