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Samsung Finally Delivers on Promise, Makes TV Smart Home Hub

Mike Wolf Samsung Smart Things

About two years ago, I wrote about how the smart home industry needed to consider alternatives to the smart home hub. The are many reasons for this, including that simple fact consumers resist new device categories and there's no logical reason that smart home functionality couldn't be subsumed into another connected device category. 

Back then, one of the key devices that I saw as a logical heir apparent for hub functionality was the TV. Why? Because TVs are centrally located, increasingly connected, and consumers, for the most part, use their TVs pretty much all the time. 

At the time, I mentioned that Samsung was a logical candidate for integrating the hub into their TVs, mostly because they said they would actually do just this at CES two months prior. Then they went and bought SmartThings and the pieces were put into place for really making this happen. 

It took a while, but now, two years after Samsung said this was something they would do, they actually are going to do it, as this week they announced that all new Samsung smart TVs will include Smart Things hub functionality. To use the feature to connect with Z-Wave and Zigbee devices, you'll need to plug in the 'SmartThings Extend' USB adapter into your TV (apparently Samsung committed enough to burden their BOM with two additional radios), which means that Smart Things hub feature set in Samsung Smart TVs means basically incorporation of the SmartThings Hub software running on the existing embedded silicon. 

Still, this is an important step and a great move for Samsung/SmartThings. After all, one of the key considerations going forward for connected device makers when evaluating smart home platforms to integrate with will be long term viability, particularly after the high profile debacle of Wink in 2015 and the disappearance of Revolv the year before. On paper, Samsung and SmartThings have always held promise, but we know rubber meets the road with integration, and this is definitely the most promising and tangible sign of Samsung's commitment to this space so far. This follows the promise the big consumer electronics company made earlier in 2015 that SmartThings capabilities would integrate with their white goods products. 

Subscribe to the NextMarket Smart Home Weekly. Also, check out a live Smart Home Show at CES at the Anova Booth at the Sands on Thursday, January 7th at the Sands.  

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