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.




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.

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