Now Smart Things Really Work Together, or Not?

At CES 2023, we saw Samsung’s name pop up everywhere. As one of the world leaders in the consumer tech field, perhaps it’s not so surprising. But this year, it wasn’t only the cutting-edge technologies and new product launches that caught our eyes. More, it was the message Samsung delivered, echoing one of the biggest trends at CES 2023; namely making smart home products actually work together. We have no doubts Samsung’s own smart tech will make things and life easier for their consumers. But will things really work together across the bigger picture, i.e. across the wider smart home industry, when it’s teeming with competing brands?

Samsung’s new product lineup highlights – what’s new?

Ahead of CES, Samsung unveiled its new Neo QLED, MICRO LED and Samsung OLED display lineups, alongside lifestyle products and accessories, including its customizable Bespoke Home lineup. 

At CES itself, Samsung debuted the all-new SmartThings Station – its first product to have support for Matter AIoT compatibility standards built-in right from the beginning. We’ll come back to the importance of Matter later on. SmartThings Station enhances convenience and ease of use by helping users set up and integrate the management of a number of smart home devices, not just Samsung’s own products. It makes the smart home devices accessible for a wider range of customers, connecting the smart devices by simply scanning them in, or with just clicking a pop up message on users’ Samsung’s Galaxy smartphone.

The brand also introduced new models in its monitor lineup at the event, including the 7,680×2,160 Odyssey Neo G9 curved gaming monitor, the world’s first with dual ultra-high definition resolution, bringing users an extra clear visual experience they can enjoy at home. And with the most affordable 5G smartphone Samsung has ever launched, more people can join the 5G world and get a chance to experience Samsung’s ecosystem. 

Together, the new products released by Samsung in 2023 show the brand’s continued commitment to improving the synergy and convenience of its ecosystem of smart home appliances, while still strengthening its leading position in the visual display industry by rolling out cutting-edge display products.

Samsung’s future vision – what’s next?

Samsung’s new product launches fit into its stated corporate philosophy of a more connected future for all. 

At this year’s CES, Jong-Hee Han, Vice Chairman, CEO and Head of the Device Experience Division at Samsung Electronics gave a keynote speech on Samsung’s future strategy and the user experience the brand is currently working on. The debut of SmartThings shows the brand’s willingness to work hand-in-hand with other brands, including their competitors, in order to realize the dream of a real connection among not only Samsung products, but also a wider range of products in the AIoT market. 

While “creating calm in a connected world” is Samsung’s overall mission, the brand is also exploring various ways to make sustainability more measurable and accessible via both Samsung’s products and SmartThings Energy service, providing users with practical ways they can conserve their energy usage and expenditure. The presentation showed Samsung’s commitment to creating a more connected, environmentally friendly smart home environment that opens the door for more people to experience connected living. 

More connected, at CES

This is the first time CES itself had an official theme – Human Security for All. But of course there were many other topics that trended at the event, including digital health, sustainability, Web3 and the metaverse to name just a few. In Jong-Hee’s speech, he covered almost all the major trending topics of CES 2023, from stressing how Samsung takes its security experiences to the next level as more devices are continually being connected, to how Samsung works with other partners to create a more sustainable future for all.

From Jong-Hee’s speech, we can see that Samsung is paying closer attention to the most important issues in today’s technology industry, and that it hopes to secure its position as a leader in the industry through its efforts in the areas above. But not without creating a walled garden akin to the Apple ecosystem; Samsung remembers its partners.

For example, Matter – the smart home compatibility standard – was highlighted by Samsung and LG during their keynotes, and made its presence felt across the event. The standard, developed by several major brands to allow smart home products to work together seamlessly, has become a favorite at CES. 

Also at the event, the Home Connectivity Alliance (HCA) introduced its HCA Specification 1.0, a new industry standard created in partnership with Samsung and other HCA members, to provide consumers with interoperable and energy-efficient connected home solutions.

Whether in smart home product development or smart home interaction technology upgrades, Samsung was a heavyweight in every category at CES 2023, and its image as a smart home industry leader has been even further solidified in its consumer tech marketing masterclass.

Samsung was not alone on the podium, however. With more brands showcasing smart home products, smart home technology became one of the biggest trends at CES 2023. 

SwitchBot, a retrofitting solutions company also showcased its newly released Hub 2 with Matter support, which enables users to integrate their SwitchBot devices from their preferred home automation system, including Apple HomeKit. 

LG, with its slogan “Life’s good”, showed exactly how it is actually making life better by showcasing its newest ThinQ Up. This ThinQ Care appliance integration tool helps users connect their smart home appliances more easily. It also unveiled advances on the home security front, adding security camera access and a direct line to ADT from a special button to some of LG’s 2023 TV models. 

Meanwhile Nanoleaf has upgraded its smart home experiences by using brand new Sync+ technology, which can pick up the color directly from users’ TV screen and change the smart light colors in the room accordingly.

Chinese tech brand Xiaomi is also building up its smart home ecosystem globally, yet was absent from CES 2023. Because of China’s Covid travel restrictions and the tech war between China and the U.S, only half of the major Chinese brands that attended CES 2020 made it to CES 2023. Not long before CES 2023, Xiaomi launched the Xiaomi Sound Pro and MIJIA Smart Aquarium with remote control, further expanding its smart home products lineup. We’re eagerly awaiting the brand’s smart home tech launched at CES 2024, given that China has announced it is loosening travel restrictions at the beginning of 2023.

If this year was Samsung’s year, maybe next year will be a Chinese brands’ year. Certainly the competition will heat up.

We’ll be watching to see whether Samsung is able to realize its vision for the future. Will the next step be to further connect with Web3 and the metaverse to offer better virtual reality experiences? Or will Samsung settle for bringing calm to the IoT industry by instilling the willingness to collaborate even among competitors within the market as the brand pushes for a more connected future.

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