Get Smart: The Connected Home Is Easier Than You Think

One of the best parts of my job as head of Samsung’s smart home product marketing team is hearing from people whose lives have been changed or improved by our technology. My favorite recent example comes from a family who used our Samsung SmartThings products to help their father stay in his home comfortably and safely after the onset of dementia caused him to wander. I also think about Ring, a startup funded through Samsung Catalyst Fund, which allows homeowners to remotely monitor their doorsteps and talk back to would-be burglars. Already, this ‘smart doorbell’ security system has significantly reduced the number of home break-ins for one Los Angeles neighborhood.

These stories are powerful, and there’s no doubt that the Internet of Things can dramatically improve our homes and quality of life. Energy savings, convenience, safety and security are just some of the real, tangible benefits that can easily be gained by adding smart technology to any home.

Despite this, some consumers are still hesitant to adopt a connected home devices. According to a 2017 McKinsey and Partners report, twenty-two percent of households have incorporated at least one connected solution into their home so far. But the report also notes that some consumers still don’t understand the value of a connected device.

Sometimes when I talk to consumers, I hear them call smart homes “complicated,” “expensive” or “high maintenance.” Some people believe creating a connected home means needing to buy new devices, replace their appliances, overhaul their HVAC systems, and all at a high penny…but it doesn’t have to! Connecting just a single device — like a smart light bulb — with a SmartThings hub and sensor can provide life-changing benefits while showing how IoT can be simple, affordable and uniquely tailored to meet consumers’ needs.

When we actually analyze how most consumers are implementing smart home technology, the incremental, building-block approach is working. People don’t have to buy all the devices at once; rather, once they find easy solutions to immediate problems, they can add more devices as their sense of comfort and confidence grows. That “a-ha” moment of being notified about a leak in the basement while you’re away vacationing or having lights turn on when you walk in the door is the consumer experience that we want to create. It’s our best shot at jumpstarting their imagination of what their connected home could be.

But there is a second, equally important driver of success, and that’s platform openness and device interoperability. If we want to empower consumers to build the smart homes of their dreams, we need to show them how to lay the foundation to do so. Open platforms, which connect devices and apps across diverse brands and operating systems, give people the choices and seamless experiences they’re envisioning.

Samsung has made interoperability a central part of our smart home product and service development, and it’s why we’ve been able to establish ourselves as an industry leader in the connected home. Ultimately, open ecosystems aren’t just in the best interest of the consumer; they benefit the entire industry by fostering greater adoption and product demand through open innovation.

Those of us in the consumer technology business cannot afford to let IoT become a zero sum game. And neither can consumers. If your phone isn’t compatible with your security system because one is a different brand from the other and the manufacturers won’t allow them to communicate — well, you’re much more likely to give up before you’ve even begun. By breaking down walls to promote interoperability, we can collectively advance our common goal of making IoT a more approachable home experience.

Samsung is making it easier for people to automate simple tasks, which in turn is opening their eyes to the full promise of a truly connected home. Something as small as a smart doorbell installation can leave homeowners feeling safer, and neighborhoods more secure. A world where more elderly parents can age safely and comfortably in their homes.

That’s the kind of world Samsung is striving toward every day, by advancing a more open, innovative and accessible connected home ecosystem for everyone.

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