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Samsung bets big on home connectivity


Samsung Electronics co-CEO Han Jong-hee speaks at a press conference on Thursday on the sidelines of the IFA trade show that kicks off in Berline on Friday. (Samsung Electronics)

Samsung Electronics co-CEO Han Jong-hee speaks at a press conference on Thursday on the sidelines of the IFA trade show that kicks off in Berline on Friday. (Samsung Electronics)

BERLIN – Samsung Electronics is betting big on its SmartThings smart home platform, saying connected home is no more a rhetoric but a reality that creates new values for users.

“This year will mark the beginning of mass adoption of SmartThings,” said Han Jong-hee, Samsung’s co-CEO who oversees smartphone and home appliance businesses, at a press conference on the sidelines of the IFA trade show that kicks off in Berlin on Friday.

The SmartThings platform aims to connect not just Samsung appliances but also those of other brands via a smartphone app. Currently, a total of 13 brands, including GE, Haier, Electrolux and LG Electronics, have joined a Samsung-led smart home initiative, called the Home Connectivity Alliance. 

Han touted the SmartThings as the most powerful smart home platform with 2.3 billion users around the world. But he admitted many consumers still struggle to use it due to the lack of wireless internet connectivity among appliances.

Samsung aims to have all its key products equipped with Wi-Fi from next year to be connected among themselves and with other brands’ appliances ultimately.

“In the next five years, the number of SmartThings users will exceed 5 billion people. And the enhanced connectivity will create unlimited potential for users,” he said, hinting at a drastic upgrade in the platform set to be unveiled at next year’s CES tech conference in Las Vegas.

The Samsung CEO also stressed that better connectivity is also helpful to sustainable growth.

“Eco-friendly efforts cannot be done by just one product or person or country. Without creating an ecosystem, the impact would be limited,” he said.

At IFA, Europe’s biggest tech gathering, Samsung devoted the main venue of its massive exhibition space to its smart home initiative, including eco-friendly technologies like an artificial intelligence-based washing machine that reduces energy consumption without affecting cleaning efficacy.

In the meantime, Han offered a cautious business outlook for the latter half of this year, calling the current high inflation not a temporary factor but a constant one.

“We are ramping up efforts to bolster readiness to uncertainties. But inventory issues, hit by pandemic lockdowns in China, the Ukraine war and supply chain disruptions, have been almost dissolved,” he said.

“Our strength is a diversified business portfolio. Despite unfavorable currency rates and rising materials costs, we are ready to maintain profitability by making a strategic shift to our premium products like new foldable phones, Neo-QLED TVs and Bespoke home appliances in the latter half of this year.”

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)





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