In his IFA 2014 Opening Keynote address, Samsung President and CEO Boo-Keun Yoon laid out what his company believes is necessary to push the smart home industry toward a cohesive and functional future. The key, he said, is open standards.
"Change is coming and coming fast," said Yoon. With global population trends shifting towards cities, we will have to adapt to high-density living.
These challenges create very real economic opportunities for the industry. By 2018, Yoon stated, the smart home market will be close to $100 billion, with 45 million smart home systems installed worldwide, citing research from Strategic Research and IHS.
Samsung is in an enviable position to make good on the promise of a unified smart home. With a deep reach into most areas of consumer electronics, it has the leverage to create an integrated standard. Its recent acquisition of SmartThings only strengthened its standing, broadening Samsung's reach to over 1,000 additional devices created by the SmartThings' community of developers and inventors.
SmartThings CEO Alex Hawskinson, made an onstage appearance during Yoon's keynote to re-emphasize that SmartThings will remain independent and continue to pursue open standards.
Yoon went on to outline three key concepts for the smart home.
The first, "Show Me," emphasized the need to display complex information in a simple way, such as when and how to take your medicine. The second, "Know Me," illustrated the need to recognize and adapt to your lifestyle patterns. Finally, "Tell Me" suggested that smart devices should provide suggestions without being asked. Your home should be able to recognize the leftover ingredients in your fridge, for instance, and suggest recipes to use them up.
Yoon's focus was on a human-centered approach, rather than an obsession with the technology. "It's not about being smart and connected," he stated. Rather, it's about giving you the right options at the right time.
It's the ideal sort of sentiment for a keynote speech—warm, inviting, and non-threatening—but many technical obstacles must be overcome before Yoon’s smart home vision can become a reality.
The current smart home environment is a morass of warring ecosystems as companies big and small hash it out for market dominance. Perhaps over the next year—as Samsung, SmartThings, and SmartThings' existing partner network put their heads together on new collaborations—we might we see some true progress.
Check out all of Samsung's IFA 2014 Announcements:
- Samsung Unpacks New Note Phones, Co-Branded Oculus VR Headset
- Samsung's New TVs Are All About the Curves
- Samsung Demos Upscale Appliances, Elena Arzak Joins Club des Chefs
- Slim, Ruggedized Samsung Tab Active Debuts at IFA Berlin
- Samsung's New Robot Vacuum Is Your Most Humble Servant
- Samsung Flexes at IFA With a 105-inch Bendable UHD TV
- Samsung Outs a Curved Sound Bar to Match Its Curved TVs
- Samsung Adds Third-Party Support, Voice Control to Smart Home System
- Samsung UHD TVs Will Soon Stream Amazon's 4K Content
- Samsung Announces Its First 3G Smartwatch: The Gear S
- Samsung Adds Swarovski Band to Otherwise Tasteful Gear S