Light Reading

IoT Alert: Samsung Snaps Up SmartThings

Mari Silbey
8/15/2014
50%
50%

SmartThings, the home automation company founded in 2012, is independent no more. News surfaced late Thursday that Samsung has purchased the startup for an estimated $200 million.

With the SmartThings deal, Samsung Corp. nets 55 new employees, a slate of devices supporting applications like home security and energy management, and a smart home platform to rival technology from Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and many others. On the SmartThings blog, CEO Alex Hawkinson outlined the advantages for his team.

"We believe that there is an enormous opportunity to leverage Samsung's global scale to help us realize our long-term vision," Hawkinson wrote. "While we will remain operationally independent, joining forces with Samsung will enable us to support all of the leading smartphone vendors, devices, and applications; expand our base of developers and enhance the tools and programs that they rely on; and help many more people around the world easily control and monitor their homes using SmartThings."

Major companies are approaching the smart home market from a number of different angles. Apple and Google are hoping to use their developer ecosystems to tie together devices such as connected light bulbs and thermostats with mobile applications. Retailers like Staples, Lowes and Best Buy are partnering with smart home platform companies to sell more connected devices in stores. And cable and telecom providers are rolling out new hardware and software bundles in an effort to sell broadband-based home security and automation services. (See Apple Joins Home Automation Wars and Betting on Smart Homes.)

SmartThings says it remains committed to maintaining an open platform for developers, hardware manufacturers and consumers, and CEO Hawkinson wrote in his blog post that Samsung "fully supports this vision." Regardless of how open the platform is, however, there will ultimately be winners and losers in the smart home technology market. Analysts Cesar Bachelet and Patrick Rusby with Analysys Mason believe that Samsung has an advantage over some of its competitors because it sells home appliances as well as smartphones and tablets.


For more of Light Reading's coverage of IoT trends, visit our IoT content channel.


Ultimately, though, the stakes also extend beyond the home as everyone tries to jockey for position around the Internet of Things. Eventually, it won't only be light bulbs, thermostats and refrigerators that these technology platforms aim to control, but everything from cars to signs to medical devices.

Samsung already has its own IoT operating system called Tizen, but that technology has gained limited traction so far. After speaking with both Samsung and SmartThings, Re/code reported that the two companies see plenty of partnership opportunities on the horizon for the separate technologies.

It will likely take some time for the platform wars to shake out, but in the meantime, Samsung has placed itself squarely on the battlefield with the purchase of SmartThings. Expect a lot more activity on all fronts heading into 2015.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

(22)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
nasimson
50%
50%
nasimson,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/6/2014 | 4:17:22 AM
Re: Dire
@ Mitch:

> Yes, those things are all problems for Samsung. They mean Samsung does not
> control its own products.

These things ARE the powerful partnership with Google that got Samsung to the leadership position in Smartphone market. Samsung could focus on the hardware and continued to deliver two flagship models Notex and Sx every year, beating Apple on volumes & value.

If you recall Samsung's own attempt to write a smartphone OS: BADA. That failed on many fronts including but not limited to inability to attract developers to write apps. This is just one of the many areas where Samsung is reaping benefits from Google's investments.

So its not a problem. Instead it is a recipe for success. And I dont see it changing anytime soon.
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
9/4/2014 | 5:18:59 PM
Re: Dire
Yes, those things are all problems for Samsung. They mean Samsung does not control its own products.
nasimson
50%
50%
nasimson,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/3/2014 | 10:26:18 PM
Re: Dire
@Mitch:

> It's a problem for Samsung because Apple controls its own mobile OS.

By that logic, even Android's Playstore is a problem for Samsung because Samsunng does not control it and Apples controls its own appstore.

By that logic, even Android's Google Search is a problem for Samsung because Samsunng does not control it and Apple manages its search partnerships.

Although Samsung does get benefit out of Google Search and Andoid's PlayStore -or am I missing something here?
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
9/3/2014 | 1:10:20 PM
Re: Dire
nasimon - "> much of Samsung's value seems to rely on Android, which is a > platform Samsung does not control. @Mitch: I don't see why this is a problem. Dependency on Android is not unique to Samsung. It's also there for HTC and HUAWEI Mobile, and also true for LG. Thanks to Google, you don't have to code your OS to be a great smartphone manufacturer."

It's a problem for Samsung because Apple controls its own mobile OS. 
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/24/2014 | 10:08:53 AM
RE: Not so fast
I think among other start ups that have been aquired by Google, Microsoft, Apple, and now Samsung, it clearly shows that the IOT race is beginning with major competitors at the starting positions. Moreover contrary to other acquisitions, SmartThings have got a great boost because of the wide range of market they'll be falling under the canopy of samsung.
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/24/2014 | 10:06:16 AM
SmartThings a third party?
Although SmartThings has been acquired, would they be able to expand their business to provide third party apps to IOT hardware developers? Since they have got a huge headstart, investing by supplying applications to vendors would be a nice idea to SmartThings.
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/22/2014 | 1:18:39 PM
Re: Not So Fast
@Susan, good points.  You can win if you are competitive in your niche. 
Susan Fourtané
50%
50%
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Blogger
8/22/2014 | 5:11:29 AM
RE: Not so fast
DHagar, 

Definitely. Not being the leading competitor doesn't mean they can't become more competivite. In fact, they should as the IoT market gets wider and the waters become populated by more sharks. :)  

-Susan 
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/18/2014 | 2:27:52 PM
Re: Dire
@bosco_pcs, you well point out the complexities they face and the waters they are going to have to navigate smoothly to get ahead.  They clearly will have to prove that they can.  But having said that, I think their recognition of the technology advantage in Smart Things does make sense - if they can manage the issues addressed; at least it suggests the opportunity.

 
bosco_pcs
50%
50%
bosco_pcs,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/18/2014 | 2:06:00 PM
Re: Dire
@DHagar (& @FakeMitchWagner et al):

So the prevailing idea that Samsung will throw everything against the wall hoping something will stick is just a fabrication?

I don't know if it is desperate but it did try to replace Android with Tizen. Don't know the details but it appears it hits a snag.

While most of the non iOS vendors are using a version of Android, Samsung's latest entanglement with Microsoft (who is supposed to reap Android loyalty more than Google) seems to suggest the OS is not really free. The problem is Samsung has to compete with its Chinese competitors in China. And China is using its anti-corruption and anti-trust campaigns to make wave, Samsung is likely to be affected more than others.

To circle back to SmartThings, so what kind of IPs does it have? Could that give Samsung a leg up on the IP war? 

Ultimately, technologies alone don't spell success. Considering Samsung recent years of making partners into competitors, if not enemies, can it really continue its strategy of spreading itself thin without suffering any repercussions?
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Network architects aiming to upgrade their networks to support agile, open, virtualized services in the 21st century need to consider new criteria when choosing between technology suppliers.
Live Streaming Video
BTE 2015 Sponsor Keynote: HP
Dr. Prodip Sen, CTO, Network Functions Virtualization, HP
LRTV Custom TV
NetNumber Founder Discusses NFV/SDN Impact on SP Networks

6|26|15   |   4:15   |   (0) comments


NetNumber Founder Doug Ranalli examines why SPs need a new network infrastructure for service agility. While NFV and SDN are the tools, the old ways of thinking about signaling control are inhibitors. Doug provides his recommendations.
LRTV Custom TV
Orchestrating NFV vCPE Services Across Multivendor Networks

6|26|15   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Nirav Modi provides an overview of vCPE, the fastest-growing NFV use case, showing how Cyan's Blue Planet orchestrates vCPE services across a multivendor infrastructure to rapidly deliver new managed services for business customers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE at LTE Summit Amsterdam 2015

6|26|15   |     |   (0) comments


As one of the leading global telecommunications providers, ZTE presented its cutting-edge technology at LTE World Summit 2015 in Amsterdam. On display at ZTE's booth were the latest R&D achievements in wireless, 5G development, HetNet, deep convergence of FDD and TDD, and RCS/IMD/iSDN/vCN.
LRTV Documentaries
OPNFV Director Opens Up on Women in Tech

6|25|15   |   3:25   |   (0) comments


Heather Kirksey, the director of the OPNFV, gets real about the gender disparity in open source and standards and discusses how we can change both the conversation and the gender dynamics.
LRTV Custom TV
Symantec's Service Provider Security Strategy

6|24|15   |   7:06   |   (0) comments


Didi Dayton explores Symantec's emerging enterprise security strategies for service providers. Highlights include 'killing the password,' self-defense, advanced analytics and adaptive response in a service provider architecture.
Between the CEOs
Debating Network Evolution With Cisco's Cedrik Neike

6|23|15   |   12:54   |   (2) comments


Cedrik Neike, SVP of Global Service Provider, Service Delivery, at Cisco, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about solving service provider customer problems in a virtualized, DevOps world, including multivendor support and the future of network procurement.
LRTV Documentaries
Vodafone: What's Good for Moms Is Good for Business

6|23|15   |   3:04   |   (3) comments


Megan Doberneck, the general counsel for Vodafone Americas, discusses her company's progressive maternity policy, explains why promoting women in tech is good business and offers some some good advice for any women in the industry.
LRTV Interviews
NFV: Ready for Prime Time

6|23|15   |   05:09   |   (1) comment


At BTE 2015, Vip mobile CTO Dejan Kastelic talks about how NFV is ready for the real world and how Telekom Austria is introducing centralized resources for its group operations.
LRTV Documentaries
Tykes Talk Tech

6|22|15   |   02:30   |   (9) comments


What does optical fiber look like? When will 5G arrive? What's the WiFi password at Ikea? Light Reading sat down with three 8-year-olds to answer some of the communications industry's most burning questions...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Partners With TDC for World's First Early DOCSIS 3.1 Field Test

6|22|15   |   3:06   |   (0) comments


In a move to enhance user experience, Denmark's TDC aims to become an early adopter of DOCSIS 3.1. In partnership with Huawei, TDC recently ran the world's first field tests on its coax network that reached speeds nearing 1 Gbit/s.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
SDN, the Road to Open Innovation

6|22|15   |   3:18   |   (0) comments


Open source is changing the industry, and Huawei is committed to Open Innovation.
LRTV Documentaries
Cox Business Pursues $5B Market

6|19|15   |   5:18   |   (0) comments


In this LRTV interview, Cox Business SVP Steve Rowley discusses how his unit aims to capture more of the commercial market in its territories.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Staying Productive With My Office-in-a-Bag
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 6/25/2015
WiFi Calling Catches on Globally
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 6/23/2015
Who's Feeding Fiber to LinkNYC Hotspots?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/29/2015
Verizon Closes AOL, Hints at Summer Launch
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/23/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Casa Systems has been going from strength to strength over the last couple of years. In 2013, it became the first vendor to ship an integrated CCAP device -- the ...
Cedrik Neike, SVP of Global Service Provider, Service Delivery, at Cisco, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about solving service provider customer problems in a virtualized, DevOps world, including multivendor support and the future of network procurement.
Cats with Phones