Samsung unveiled some big announcements at its annual Developer Conference in San Francisco yesterday, making moves that could help it catch up after falling behind in the smart home industry.
Alex Hawkinson, founder and CEO of Samsung SmartThings, addressed developers at the conference with a steadfast goal in mind for 2016–to make the company’s connected home products better and more commercially available in their interoperability.
To kick this initiative off, the company announced its Samsung ARTIK Cloud, a commercially available IoT cloud platform to deliver interoperability between devices and applications.
“SmartThings believes that having integrated experiences within one unified application will simplify the user experience across a wide range of devices and services,” says Hawkinson.
Samsung’s first major partnership involving the ARTIK Cloud is with industry leader, Legrand. Together, the two companies are bringing to market the world’s first ever thread-enabled IoT light switch. “We’re excited to partner with Samsung to offer more choices to our customers by delivering an industry leading, connected light switch,” says Brian DiBella, president of Electrical Wiring Systems, Legrand, North America.
Also at the conference, Samsung announced it’s working on new virtual reality products. This potentially could be hinting at a VR headset that would not require a smartphone, unlike the company’s current Gear VR product.
Samsung also introduced a smart robot that could directly challenge the Amazon Echo. This follows the company’s recent poaching of Amazon’s director of engineering, Robert Parker
The robot, named Otto, is a product similar to the Echo in that it can answer questions via voice control, play music and order products. It also works as a security system, with a “head” that doubles as a high definition camera. Additionally, Otto will work with other smart devices in the home.
Samsung currently has no plans to sell Otto, considering it just a prototype for now.
This overload of announcements from Samsung could mean numerous things for the company and industry as a whole.
For starters, it may suggest a shred of desperation from a company that has certainly fallen behind in the smart home race and a desire to prove itself as an industry leader once more.
But if everything works out, Samsung could find itself catching up to Amazon and Apple soon.
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