Over the next few years, Samsung will ramp up its already aggressive efforts in the booming Internet of things, ensuring that within five years all of its hardware will be able to connect to the Internet and investing $100 million this year in its developer program.
The game plan was mapped out Jan. 5 by Boo-Keun Yoon, Samsung Electronic's president and CEO, during his keynote address at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The Internet of things (IoT) is taking a starring role this year at the massive annual tech show.
During his speech, Yoon not only talked about what Samsung will do over the next several years in the IoT market, but also stressed the need for openness and vendor collaboration to ensure the Internet of things meets its full promise.
"I know in my heart that neither one single company nor one industry alone can deliver the benefits of the Internet of things," Yoon said, according to the company. "To create this IoT universe, we have to see the potential of the Internet of Things across all kinds of industries. Only if we work together can we improve people's lives."
The IoT is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years, with Cisco Systems predicting that the number of connected devices—from smartphones and tablets to cars, home appliances, industrial systems and surveillance cameras—worldwide will jump from 25 billion now to more than 50 billion by 2020. Industry analysts have said revenues in the IoT market could hit $7 trillion to more than $8 trillion by the end of the decade and many tech vendors are rapidly expanding their product portfolios to take advantage of the expected growth.
Samsung is no different. According to Yoon, the company last year sold more than 665 million products—from software apps to devices—related to the Internet of things and will expand those efforts in the next few years. That includes ensuring that by 2017, all Samsung televisions will be IoT devices, and that within five years, all of the company's hardware will be IoT-enabled.
The company also is building various components that will help fuel the growth of the IoT. Yoon noted sensors that Samsung is developing that take a 3D view of a person's surrounding environment and can detect movements within that range. In addition, Samsung engineers are working on new embedded chips that are energy-efficient and small enough to fit into such products as wearable and mobile devices.
Samsung also will look to grow its developer community by spending $100 million in 2015 to expand its accelerator programs and the number of developer events the company hosts worldwide every year. Yoon said the participation of developers will be a key to the long-term success of the IoT.
Throughout his talk, he stressed the importance of cooperation and collaboration among tech vendors. Samsung already has made moves to ensure the openness of the IoT. The company is a founding member of the Thread Group and a member of both the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) and the Industrial Internet Consortium, all groups looking to develop open platforms to accelerate communications between disparate IoT devices.
The company last year also bought SmartThings, a startup that has built an open platform for the smart home. SmartThings is operating independently as part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. According to Samsung, SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson took the stage with Yoon to talk about the need for open infrastructure.
"For the Internet of Things to be a success, it has to be open," Hawkinson said. "Any device, from any platform, must be able to connect and communicate with one another."