Emerging Tech

We Are the World: Samsung’s Vision for IoT

Samsung CEO BK Yoon stopped short of asking the audience to hold hands and sing along, but his depiction of the Internet of Things as an Internet of People was starry-eyed nonetheless. "This was a talk on IoT and how wonderful it will be with everyone connected, but no real discussion on how we will get there or the problems that will need to be overcome," noted tech analyst Rob Enderle.

The world needs one open ecosystem to enable the Internet of Things, and Samsung is prepared to lead the way, said CEO BK Yoon in his Monday keynote speech at the 2015 International CES.

Serving up the classic depiction of IoT — always-on, always-connected devices working together — Yoon said the technology for linking smart radios, smart TVs, smartphones and smart homes will be available later this year, and “we are set to expand our universe way beyond that.”

United We Stand

Yoon urged the industry to come together to create an open ecosystem for the success of the Internet of Things.

“I have heard some people say that they want to create a single operating system for the Internet of Things,” he remarked. “However, this operating system seems to work only with their own technology.”

The IoT experience “has to be seamless,” Yoon urged. “We must not have walled IoT gardens. We can deliver the benefits of IoT only if all sensors and all devices will greet each other. We need to collaborate across industries. Samsung is prepared to play a leading role here, and the first step will be to get the technology right.”

Yoon pledged that Samsung’s IoT components and devices will be open.

“I do agree with Samsung that the industry needs to focus on compatibility through standards,” said Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.

“Unfortunately, Samsung wants everyone to use their choices and standards, and I don’t see that happening,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Samsung’s Bold Leap Forward

By 2017, 90 percent of all Samsung products, “including all our televisions and mobile devices,” will be connected to the IoT, Yoon said. “Five years from now, every single piece of Samsung hardware will be an IoT device.”

Samsung is “working to make every device in the home — like smart TVs — act as an IoT hub,” Yoon declared.

It is developing “many innovative smart components and connected devices,” he said, including a sensor that can identify more than 20 different smells, and a three-dimensional range sensor “that can detect the tiniest movement” and can be used to monitor the elderly, triggering calls on their smartphones to emergency services if they fall out of bed or slip in the shower.

Always-on, always-connected sensors need good power management, and Samsung is working on chips such as the embedded package-on-package (ePoP) and Bio processor.

The company is teaming up with a variety of partners, including Jawbone and BMW, which has a mobile app that runs on the Samsung Gear smartwatch and Galaxy smartphones.

Does Samsung’s Map Match the Territory?

“The market’s going to remain fragmented,” predicted Bill Morrelli, director of IoT at IHS. “There’s a possibility that Samsung could put together an interesting and compelling solution, but there won’t be a single standard for all of IoT.”

That’s because there are “too many different use cases, too many different types of information, and too many different types of technology,” he explained.

“We’ll see a handful of standards that merge that will have some level of interoperability, and that’s going to be a more realistic vision than a single standard that rules them all,” Morrelli predicted.

Faith Can Move Mountains

“The keynote was long on rhetoric, short on details, and had the subtle undercurrent that it was also incredibly self-serving,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

“This was a talk on IoT and how wonderful it will be with everyone connected, but no real discussion on how we will get there or the problems that will need to be overcome — other than the need for all of the vendors to hold hands and sing ‘Kumbaya’ while revisiting their ’70s hippie roots,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Samsung’s leadership could be dicey, Enderle suggested, pointing out that the company “pretty much shot a hole in Android by pitching their own largely proprietary OS platform.”

Richard Adhikari

Richard Adhikari has written about high-tech for leading industry publications since the 1990s and wonders where it's all leading to. Will implanted RFID chips in humans be the Mark of the Beast? Will nanotech solve our coming food crisis? Does Sturgeon's Law still hold true? You can connect with Richard on Google+.

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