CES: Samsung CEO Pledges IoT Openness

90% of Samsung Products Will Be IoT Devices By 2017
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Las Vegas – International CES -- Samsung is placing a huge bet on the so called Internet of Things, but company co-CEO BK Yoon stressed here Monday that the only way IoT can achieve its full potential is through the adoption of open standards and a steering away from proprietary systems.

“We need an open ecosystem so IoT devices work together,” he said during the keynote, adding that the CE industry requires collaboration across the various elements of IoT, including sensors and how the devices themselves interconnect and communicate with each other.

Among the lofty goals is to develop an open OS for IoT devices. “The IoT experience has to be seamless,” Yoon said.

Samsung, the exec added, is playing its part with a promise that all of its IoT components will be open, allowing devices from third-parties to interconnect with Samsung’s IoT products.

“Without this openness, there won’t be an Internet of Things because the things won’t fit together,” he said.

Yoon also shared some stats that amplify Samsung’s commitment to the IoT market, noting that, by 2017, 90% of Samsung products will be IoT devices, including its mobile gear and TVs, which he hopes will serve as a home’s “IoT hub.” He also predicted that all Samsung hardware will be an IoT device in about five years.

On the software side, Samsung’s push into the IoT realm got a boost last year when the CE giant splashed out $200 million to acquire SmartThings.

Alex Hawkinson, founder and CEO of SmartThings, joined the stage to amplify Samsung’s pledge to IoT openness, noting that SmartThings already runs on Android, IoS and Windows Phone, as well as wearables from Samsung and partners such as Jawbone.  Other integrations have been complete or are underway with others, including Netgear (for cameras), Philips (for lighting), Honeywell (thermostats), and Chamberlain (garage door openers).

“We need a truly open approach that embraces developers,” said Hawkinson, who also announced that SmartThings will launch a subscription service in April that, for example, will allow users to set policies for alerts.

“We have to strike partnerships everywhere,” Yoon said.

But reaching this vision of IoT openness won’t be easy amid the formation of multiple groups that are developing standards, including the AllSeen Alliance, the Open Interconnect Consortium and Thread Group. 

CableLabs is already trying to fill the gap as it develops a “product” (subscription required) designed to work with multiple IoT standards. That software product will aim to bridge the emerging IoT protocols, with CableLabs also urging those IoT standards groups to support MSO-specific requirements.