Could the smart home come sooner than we think? Quite possibly if Samsung’s big vision comes to fruition. Samsung recently introduced an upgrade to its SmartThings IoT hub for the home designed to coordinate the connected lights, white goods, TVs and other products in the house. As we have spoken about before on LifeHacker, smartphones and even now smartwatches will be at the centre of the smart home, acting as the remote control for the things around you.

Samsung’s app for Android and iOS allows users to interact with their appliances remotely or program appliances at a specific time. Geo-location also means that appliances can be programmed to turn on when you are within a certain distance of your home.

Smarthings hub 2015

In addition to the new SmartThings hub, Samsung also launched a smarthome monitor, which ‘keeps an eye’ on the house, alerting the owners to any problems. Sleepsense, a flat white disc that is placed under the mattress to monitor breathing and heart rate during sleep, has also been introduced. This can be used to set the temperature for the heater or the air-conditioner creating “the best environment for falling and staying asleep”.

Samsung’s recent development in IoT is another push in the right direction to increase the adoption of connected products in the home. However, technology firms and product manufacturers need to work together and address barriers to adoption, before connected products become a norm in the home.

Alongside SmartThings, Samsung’s Artik IoT platform joins platforms such as ARM’s mbed and Google’s Project Brillo, to increase standardisation and enable a communication layer between products. Samsung’s platform is comprised of hardware modules, software and cloud services for connecting objects via WiFi and Bluetooth, which will be open and therefore compatible with other IoT standards.

Several companies, including speaker specialist Bose and light bulb manufacturer Osram, will be partnering with Samsung to allow their respective products to work with Samsung’s “hub”. Samsung has committed to all of its products and devices being IoT ready by 2020. Samsung Electronics chief executive, WP Hong, said that Samsung is pushing even harder for IoT domination with appliances and the platform to support the connected home.

With Apple set to launch its new Apple TV this week, which many expect it to be marketed as its hub for the smarthome, Samsung isn’t alone in its quest for the connected home. As we spoke about recently, ecosystems are becoming increasingly important as a way to help people live their lives that bit easier.

Guide to the key IoT players

HomeKit (Apple): Apple describes HomeKit as “a framework in iOS 8 for communicating with and controlling connected accessories in a user’s home”. This framework provides a standardised way for developers to include home automation in apps. These apps, in turn, will allow users to detect and configure devices that are in their home, and once connected, control them via their iOS device. HomeKit is integrated with other iOS features, allowing additional functionality such as control via Siri.

SmartThings (Samsung): SmartThings is building an open platform and hub for smart homes and the consumer Internet of Things.

AllJoyn (Qualcomm): AllJoyn is an open source platform created by Qualcomm, the company whose chipsets power virtually every mobile device on the planet. AllJoyn enables manufacturers and application developers to create new connected home experiences via frameworks and SDKs.

mBed (ARM): mBed is an initiative by ARM and other technology companies to create universal protocols for the Internet of Things, which includes the smart home. The consortium has released a new standard for home automation, Thread – an IPv6 based standard that brings IP to the edge, consumes minimal power and allows mesh networking among home appliances. It runs over low power radio (802.15.4) MAC and PHY.

Google Brillo: Project Brillo is an operating system for the Internet of Things making it easier for phones, objects and the Cloud to communicate with each other with the help of Weave, Brillo’s communication layer.

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