Samsung Bets on SmartThings Home Automation

SmartThings has been acquired by Samsung for a reported $200 million, and will operate as an independent company within Samsung’s Open Innovation Center group.

Their home automation kits allow you to connect devices like lights and doorlocks from your phone. The SmartThings app lets your smartphone control all of the smart devices in your home. It began as a Kickstarter project a couple years ago.

ComputerWorld reviewed home automation contenders including Samsung’s own Smart Home devices, Google’s Nest (with partner Samsung), Apple’s home automation called HomeKit (in iOS 8), LG’s HomeChat, Staples Connect $99 Hub, and the $299 Revolv Hub, with seven wireless radios speaking 10 different wireless languages including Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, Insteon, and ZigBee.

The following protocols are supported in the SmartThings Hub:

  • Zigbee – A Personal Area Mesh Networking standard for connecting and controlling devices. Zigbee is an open standard supported by the Zigbee Alliance. For more information on Zigbee see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZigBee.
  • Z-Wave – A proprietary wireless protocol for Home Automation and Lighting Control. For more information on Z-Wave see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z-Wave.
  • IP-Connected Devices – Though this is not yet available, we are working to support IP-connected (typically WiFi) devices. This will also include support for various industry standards within the IP umbrella such as UPnP and REST.
  • Cloud-Connected Devices – Some device manufacturers have their own Cloud solutions that support their devices and want us to connect to them.

The home automation market is segmented into wired, power line, computing networks, wireless, and others (X-10, Wavenis, and Insteon).

By building an open IP-based platform, AT&T for example, has a simple and intuitive user interface, monitoring/care centers and an integrated security/automation gateway controller. Besides AT&T, companies including Comcast, Time Warner, DirecTV, Verizon, Best Buy and Staples, have all rolled out automation offerings.

According to a recent report published by Transparency Market Research, the global home automation market was valued at USD 3.6 billion in the year 2012. It is expected to grow at a rate of 24.5% CAGR during the period of 2013 – 2019.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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