Will Samsung’s smart TV be the hub of the IoT home?

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Source: Samsung
Jan 05, 2016

As the Internet of Things (IoT) grows in popularity, watchers have been on the lookout for the in-home hub that will tie the technology together. Samsung is the latest competitor to try to make its name synonymous with IoT. The company is trying to position its smart TV as the must-have control center of the wired home.

ZDNet reported that Samsung has announced all of its smart TVs rolled out in 2016 will be IoT ready and able to interact with Samsung’s SmartThings IoT management platform. Samsung intends to demonstrate how the smart TV will work in conjunction with IoT devices at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES), according to the article.

The new smart TVs will implement a form of security known as GAIA, according to the Verge, that will secure both stored IoT device data and data in transit.

Even with security in place to prevent hacks, consumers may still have concerns about the type of information being captured, stored and transmitted by their IoT devices. Samsung was already the subject of security-related scrutiny when it was revealed that their smart TVs had the capacity to collect and even store conversation audio from those nearby.

Samsung is not the only big-name tech player taking steps to become an essential part of the IoT infrastructure. Amazon, for instance, publicly launched its AWS IoT web services in December of 2015, geared specifically towards the creation of tools that use IoT data. Questions have also arisen about Amazon possibly moving its Echo device in the direction of functioning as an IoT control center.

But Samsung is definitely doubling down on IoT. The company plans to roll out numerous other smart home-centric tools at CES. According to VentureBeat, the company has announced a remote control that it hints is intended to be truly universal, with the ability to control in-home devices as well as the television. And The Verge published official images of Samsung’s new refrigerator, which features a large touch screen on the front. There is no word yet on how close the device comes to being the “smart fridge” IoT enthusiasts have theorized.

What will Samsung have to do to position its smart TV as a need-to-have device for a smart home? Do competitors like Amazon stand a better chance in the space? Is the promise of GAIA security enough to mitigate consumer concerns about the safety of IoT data?

Braintrust
"Once located inside of homes they’ll simply be able to connect them through an available network. This long-term commercial "Trojan Horse" strategy will support their strategy. It is incumbent upon Samsung to provide meaningful and valuable service through this connectivity."
"Some interesting questions regarding smart home adoption by consumers: How many consumers have a smart TV and is it hooked up to Wi-Fi? How many consumers use a smart TV for more than media consumption? How many consumers are concerned about data hacks in their home?"
"I just bought a new Samsung smart TV. Man, they really know how to render a beautiful picture. Software? Not so much. It doesn’t make me feel warm and cozy about allowing Samsung to control my home."

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12 Comments on "Will Samsung’s smart TV be the hub of the IoT home?"

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Max Goldberg
BrainTrust

In order for Samsung to position its smart TV as an IoT hub, it will have to convert it into a mobile device. People want to control their connected devices from anywhere, not a static television. The same could be said of Amazon’s Echo. Both Echo and the Samsung TV could gather information, but the hub will be a mobile phone.

Adrian Weidmann
BrainTrust

The smart TV is only one piece of the IoT puzzle. Samsung has a unique position as they manufacture a broad spectrum of household devices ranging from televisions to mobile devices and appliances. Samsung just needs to provide a good quality product at a competitive price and they’ll sell and populate their products without any focus on their connectivity. Once located inside of homes they’ll simply be able to connect them through an available network.

This long-term commercial “Trojan Horse” strategy will support their strategy. It is incumbent upon Samsung to provide meaningful and valuable service through this connectivity. There will be consumer backlash if all they’ll do is spy on consumer behavior and trends through their data collection.

Regardless of promises and standards, consumers will always be leery and mindful of consumer spying and background data collection and its use. Consumers will (hopefully) collectively realize the commercial value of their behavioral data to brands and their marketing and merchandising strategies (and tactics) and demand to be paid for access to their behavioral data.

Chris Petersen, PhD.
BrainTrust

Some interesting questions regarding smart home adoption by consumers:

  • How many consumers have a smart TV and is it hooked up to Wi-Fi?
  • How many consumers use a smart TV for more than media consumption?
  • How many consumers are concerned about data hacks in their home?
  • How many consumers have ever heard of GAIA security?
  • How many “average” consumers know what IoT is and how it works?

Commenting on Samsung’s ability to position smart TV as a “must-have device” seems like putting the proverbial cart before the horse.

There is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done to get consumers to “see” the value of IoT and adopt it for their home lifestyle.

There will be at least three criteria for success and consumer adoption: 1) IoT has to have perceived value and use in everyday consumer lives, 2) it needs to be “plug and play” with extremely easy setup, 3) it must be extremely easy to navigate without complex functions and remotes.

Gee, Amazon Echo sounds a lot more like a real-world winner as a home portal/hub from a consumer perspective.

Paula Rosenblum
BrainTrust

I just bought a new Samsung smart TV. Man, they really know how to render a beautiful picture.

Software? Not so much. I knew in advance from reading the reviews that their smarthub software is buggy. And it is. It freezes, occasionally crashes, and generally doesn’t work exactly right. Of course, like many devices, the solution is to just turn it off and turn it on (or just change to another source, which effectively does the same thing with the software). But it doesn’t make me feel warm and cozy about allowing Samsung to control my home.

Also, I’m already getting somewhat intrusive “extras” or ads on my TV. So even though I’m using a separate cable box, the TV “knows” what I’m watching. The feature can be turned off, but I leave it on purely for fascination’s sake. And to remind me that I don’t have much privacy here.

So Samsung will have to a) demonstrate that it can build consumer-friendly, bullet-proof software and b) demonstrate that privacy really matters before it can be a player.

In the meanwhile, if you can find 4K programming, you must take a look. It’s breathtaking.

Tom Martin
Guest
Tom Martin
6 months 20 days ago

Every year during CES, we’re introduced to incredible innovations in technology. Some of which we don’t know what to do with yet (I’m looking at you, Whirlpool with the “connected dishwasher”), some that will significantly change the way we interact with technology and each other and others that are a long way off from becoming scalable. Each year, we’re seeing more demand for connected devices and any company that doesn’t make plans now to address this will fall behind. Samsung has recognized what many people may not care to admit, but the television more so than other devices is typically the hub of the house. Their integrations are smart, and we’re going to see many companies with similar or superior services come out over the next year.

I’m reminded of Clayton Christensen’s “The Innovator’s Dilemma” every time I read about a new connected device. Some products, like the dishwasher, may seem silly at first blush, but these companies are recognizing a consumer need before it exists. Companies need to ensure they are anticipating the future needs of their customers, specifically for IoT, and not solely relying on addressing current needs.

Tina Lahti
Guest
Tina Lahti
6 months 20 days ago

I have a smart TV, and a SmartThings hub for home automation. As compared to Apple TV the smart TV is not so smart. As for the home automation piece there is no reason to get a television involved. In many U.S. households televisions have taken on a secondary role as entertainment devices. They have been tucked away in cabinets or moved to lesser-used living spaces. I agree with others, the smart TV will not be a need-to-have device. In my opinion that role is already taken by a mobile device. For the majority with the means and motivation to move forward with home automation that mobile device is an iPhone.

Phil Rubin
BrainTrust
6 months 20 days ago

Samsung, like other CE brands, is not terribly customer-centric and thus will ultimately be at a disadvantage relative to other brands — Amazon included — unless it changes strategies. Bright shiny objects, literally (like a TV) and figuratively (hardware in general) will not and do not engender consumer trust by themselves. They need a brand that demonstrates a commitment to customers beyond selling products.

Case in point, Samsung acts (and could possibly be) clueless in terms of knowing anything about my buying and other consumer behavior, much less how many Samsung devices I own. Why should I trust them to be the “smart” hub of my home?

There are a number of new competitors coming into this market and they are tending to be more specialized (e.g., home security, functionality/environment like a Nest; Fresh Hub for groceries and consumables) versus “whole-home.” The winners will start more narrowly, earn trust and demonstrate consumer accountability — such as how they responsibly use data — and then expand to cover more areas within the home.

W. Frank Dell II
BrainTrust

The hub center must be connected to the internet or be the internet connection. It will require access to a screen and keyboard or mouse. Further it must be something every household has. The problem with a refrigerator is that a household will only replace it when the current one fails. Same is true for televisions.

I think WiFi routers (Cisco, Netgear) are the more likely hub providers. They can add additional security and control exported information sufficiently to encourage replacement sales at a lower price point.

Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust

My reply is really simple — I don’t want any more companies to know more about what I do on the internet, what I watch on my TV, which foods I eat, how warm or cool I keep my house, etc. I doubt that many other consumers do either. IoT is not something I seek and to build it around a TV that can listen in on my conversations is a definite no no.

gordon arnold
Guest
6 months 20 days ago

Communication security experts will be the first to admit that any and all information that is accessible through the Internet of Things can be hacked. A look at the number of security updates taking place on a daily basis throughout the world, along with the announced number of successful breaches, endorses this as a fact.

The highest success rate for data and information security is still through the use of encryption which carries with it overhead, and sharing and maintenance issues that can be impractical for wide acceptance. This is not to say that the security issues of today are a permanent or unrepairable fact of life, it is just reiteration of a problem that is constantly refueling unnecessary stress among consumers and businesses.

An open discussion in user friendly language about how the Internet Protocol system can be of service to this issue would be a great followup to the discussion we have today. As a community of businesses, we should be more aware of the security shortfalls of the present day internet as our highway to successful e-commerce.

Ralph Jacobson
BrainTrust

Since there are so many video streaming and other entertainment services all trying to capture market share, a central hub for everything IoT will begin to emerge as competitors fall off. Security of data is paramount.

Larry Negrich
BrainTrust

Too many undefined pieces to anoint any one vendor or device as the future hub of IoT. But a true universal remote application, accessible from multiple devices that ties a larger number of disparate machines together would be a start. With so many platforms, that is a ways off.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Once located inside of homes they’ll simply be able to connect them through an available network. This long-term commercial "Trojan Horse" strategy will support their strategy. It is incumbent upon Samsung to provide meaningful and valuable service through this connectivity."
"Some interesting questions regarding smart home adoption by consumers: How many consumers have a smart TV and is it hooked up to Wi-Fi? How many consumers use a smart TV for more than media consumption? How many consumers are concerned about data hacks in their home?"
"I just bought a new Samsung smart TV. Man, they really know how to render a beautiful picture. Software? Not so much. It doesn’t make me feel warm and cozy about allowing Samsung to control my home."

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