Connecting devices to form one happy family
START the washing machine and answer the door from the kitchen, turn off your lights via the TV and start your loungeroom sound bar to play the same song you’re listening to in the car while driving home.
Every appliance and device in the family home will be connected under a bold new plan by tech giants to make homes ‘Smart’.
The theme of CES, the world’s biggest tech show, in Las Vegas last week was centred around connecting life’s devices together in one happy little open ecosystem.
The tech heavyweights including Samsung and LG moved away from announcing stacks of shiny new gadgets at this year’s event, instead focusing on showing consumers how the phone will be connected to the TV; the TV will connect to the washing machine; the washing machine will connect to the refrigerator; the refrigerator will connect to the car.
Korean tech giant Samsung revealed its ‘multi-device experience strategy’ with president and head of consumer electronics HS Kim saying “seamless connectivity” and one single cloud were key to its ‘Internet of Things’ strategy.
Samsung will release a SmartThings app in coming months providing one open platform where users can link all their smart devices, regardless of brand.
And by 2020, all of Samsung’s connected devices would be ‘Internet of Thingsenabled’ and feature the brand’s virtual assistant Bixby.
The popular Family Hub on refrigerators, which was introduced in 2016, will expand to include the SmartThings app – enabling the home’s smart de- vices to be controlled from the kitchen.
Under Samsung’s plan, consumers can use the Family Hub to do things like start the washing machine, check a baby cam, pull up a live view from the front door to see who is ringing the doorbell and turn all the lights off in the house.
In another example of seamless connectivity, an alert via smartphone that a favourite show was starting could then trigger the TV to turn on to the right channel … All without touching the remote control.
But Samsung appears most excited by the ‘connected car experience’, saying, when the future of driverless cars arrives, Bixby can be told ‘come pick me up’ or to turn on the car.
“Whether you’re on the couch, in the kitchen or on the go, Samsung is delivering a seamless experience,” executive vice president of Samsung Electronics America Joe Stinziano said.
Meanwhile, LG electronics president I P Park said “connectivity was at the core of digital innovation” as he revealed LG would integrate its ThinQ artificial intelligence into its products in 2018.
At the heart of its AI play was smart bot CLOi, which threw a robot-style tantrum and refused to speak during an embarrassing live demo, but promises to help smart devices communicate with each other.
“The world has become too complex for products to operate on closed platforms,” said Dr Park in revealing the brand continued to work with Google and Amazon to develop connectivity partnerships.
“Open connectivity allows LG products to coexist in the home in an open ecosystem.”
LG also led the unexpected ‘flexible television’ trend at this year’s show, debuting a 65-inch flexible television screen that rolls down into small box, like a wall poster.
While LG went compact in the TV race, Samsung went big, unveiling a first- of-its-kind 146-inch modular MicroLED TV.
Dubbed the ‘ TV of your dreams’, the massive set is called ‘ The Wall’ and is fully scalable and customisable meaning consumers can literally design the size and shape of the perfect TV for their home.
IS AT THE CORE OF DIGITAL INNOVATION.
LG ELECTRONICS PRESIDENT I P PARK
Tanya Westthorp travelled to CES as a guest of Samsung.
TV OF YOUR DREAMS: Samsung US vice-president Dave Das unveils the new 146-inch TV screen known as The Wall.