Samsung & SmartThings Announce Turnkey Smart Home/IoT Platform For Manufacturers

Yesterday at IoT World, Samsung's President Young Sohn and SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson got on stage to talk about Samsung's new Artik chip family and the SmartThings open cloud.

We had known that Samsung was launching a new set of chips/modules targeted towards IoT applications, but it was good to see the company shed some more light on its plans for SmartThings as well.  Samsung's made it no secret of its plans to extend the SmartThings platform further by integrating with a variety of home appliances, but it was easy to assume at the time much of this talk was around Samsung's own line of appliances.  

However, with this news, it becomes clear that Samsung and SmartThings have a fairly evolved strategy to become an turnkey IoT and Smart Home platform, providing ingredient technology in the form of three modules that target a variety of device categories and a new open cloud architecture with a set of APIs and an SDK for manufacturers to build their own client apps.

The Artik 1 is module targeted at wearables and small BLE devices like motion trackers, devices that need long battery life. The Artik1 will cost approximately $10; the Artik 5 has on-board Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 802.15.4 Zigbee/Thread connectivity, a dual core processor and video codec - a good application could be a connected camera or home security appliance; the last is the Artik 10, which as the same connectivity as the 5, an Octa core processor and 2 GB of on-board and 1080p video decoding and, according to the Verge, will cost $100.

The bigger news, however, may have been the SmartThings Open cCoud news. Per the release:

Open Cloud provides a secure device cloud that accomplishes this by delivering device authentication, connectivity, data sharing and normalization, and security. It also has the ability to aggregate a diverse, wide array of data from third party applications, services and devices that can be accessed for visualization and analysis, opening up new potential for discovery within the developer community. 

And per a blog post by SmartThings cofounder, Jeff Hagins, here's some of the thinking behind the new cloud:

From the very beginning at SmartThings, we recognized that there was a component of our platform that was essentially missing–that of a stand-alone Device Cloud. A Device Cloud is a Platform-as-a-Service offering that allows device manufacturers to easily create a connected device and companion mobile application (iOS, Android, etc) without having to actually build and maintain the Cloud components of that solution. It allows the device maker to focus on the value-added device and software, but not the plumbing that brings it together.

Yesterday at IoT World, we announced SmartThings Open Cloud: A Device Cloud and Data Broker solution that will fill this gap and allow us to provide this kind of offering to device manufacturers. The Open Cloud offering is powered by a Samsung Platform called SAMI.

So in essence, manufacturers can use the SmartThings cloud as their own IoT cloud infrastructure, leveraging both the integration work already done for SmartThings and building upon the data-cloud infrastructure Samsung has built for SAMI. What's also interesting is company can choose to use this offering for their own products fully independent, but they can also choose to integrate with the SmartThings consumer-facing platform as well.

In total, this set of announcements is big news. The combination of a turnkey modules and a full Platform as a Service cloud for IoT put Samsung/SmartThings in direct competition with companies like Electric Imp, Marvell, Greenwave and, of course, Intel. It also sheds light on the grander plans around Samsung's IoT strategy and how SmartThings has become a fairly big part of the master plan.

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