Samsung Focuses On The Internet of Things at IFA 2015
Samsung Electronics Global Marketing Unit President Hong Won-pyo spoke about the Internet of Things technologies and consumers during a press event in Berlin, Germany, on Thursday, one day before the opening of the IFA 2015 trade fair. The company's press conference early Thursday, a day before the opening of the IFA, stressed how its products will be in sync with consumer lifestyles.
"Samsung aims to send messages that the company could become a winner in the world of IoT by releasing devices that are featured with sensor and wireless technology and will be activated within the company-built system," Hong Won-pyo told reporters.
"The core part of Samsung's IoT vision is to completely open platforms, to seek cross-industry partnerships and to develop technology that benefits people," Hong said.
The Samsung booth exhibited SmartThings Hub that controls systems, and SLEEPsense, which analyzes sleeping patterns of customers. The firm believes the devices will be a test for its ability to proceed further with IoT-driven projects.
Samsung SmartThings launched a new line-up of more powerful and easier to use IoT devices, and is taking them global.
Alex Hawkinson, the founder and CEO of SmartThings, said that for the Internet of Things to succeed, IoT devices must to be extremely user-friendly, while also giving consumers the ability to customize and access tools that offer peace of mind when they’re away from home. The new Samsung SmartThings Hub, sensors and updated mobile app, launch in the United States today, in the United Kingdom next week, and will roll out across Europe in 2016.
The new Samsung SmartThings Hub has a more powerful processor that enables video monitoring, and includes a battery backup that lasts up to 10 hours in case of a power outage. Balancing privacy with security, the video monitoring capability allows people to access a livestream at any time, yet only records video when an unexpected event, such as motion by the front door, is detected. The Hub is also able to process some automations locally, meaning it can operate without an internet connection. The collection of Samsung SmartThings sensors are now smaller and have been redesigned with a sleeker, more contemporary look.
SmartThings is also introducing a new solution called 'Smart Home Monitor' which provides unified access and control against intrusion, smoke and fire, leaks and floods, and other common household issues by delivering real-time notifications and video clips from multiple cameras via the SmartThings app.
SmartThings is available for purchase on Shop.SmartThings.com, Samsung.com and will be rolling out on Amazon.com and retail stores across the U.S. The new Hub retails for $99 with sensors ranging between $30 and $55 each. SmartThings will be available in the U.K. at select Currys PC World stores and online at Samsung.com and currys.co.uk beginning September 10. The Hub retails for £99 and the Starter Kit is £199. SmartThings also plans to expand across Europe in 2016. Smart Home Monitor is available for free through December 31, 2015 with some features transitioning into a premium offering later this year.
Well-Being with Samsung SleepSense
Samsung SleepSense helps consumers to better understand and manage their sleep. The sensor is a flat disk, and simply by placing it under a bed’s mattress, it provides contactless monitoring of a person’s heart and respiratory rate including movements during sleep.
The SleepSense is a connected device that helps create the best environment for falling and staying asleep. It connects to Samsung appliances as well as third party IoT devices; for example, when the user falls asleep, the application will automatically turn off the television, and adjust the heating or air conditioning for a perfect sleep environment.
Based on SleepSense’s daily sleep scores and reports, which can be seen on the user’s smartphone, the application provides expert advice and recommendations, taking into account each individual’s metabolism – the result of a collaboration with Dr. Christos Mantzoros from Harvard Medical School. SleepSense delivers an accuracy of up to 97% in the comfort of your own home.
Your sleep score is calculated based on seven elements; total sleep time, sleep efficiency, time it took to fall asleep, number of times you woke up, number of times you got out of bed, percentage of time in REM (rapid eye movement) and percentage of time in deep sleep.
For people concerned that their loved ones – for example elderly family members – suffer from a lack of sleep, SleepSense can help: simply put the sensor under their mattress and select the app’s 'family care' option to receive an analysis of the quality of their sleep via email.
UHD Ecosystem with Key Content and Partners
Samsung plans to expand the UHD ecosystem by partnering with companies including Amazon, Netflix, Wuaki, Chili, Strefa VoD, Videoland, and Videoload, as well as regional broadcast partners across Europe, including Canal Plus, British Telecom (BT) and HD+, who are all vital for creating and delivering UHD content to a global consumer base.
Through these partnerships in the UHD space, Samsung is bringing commercial UHD broadcasting to market.
Samsung also has partnered with Gamefly to launch Gamefly Streaming – a subscription service that brings games into peoples’ living rooms – without the need for consoles, cables or discs. Gamefly works by streaming popular titles over the Internet, with games including Batman: Arkham Origins, Lego Batman 3, GRID 2 and HITMAN Absolution – all available directly on Samsung Smart TVs.
Samsung’s SUHD TVs are capable of displaying High Dynamic Range (HDR) picture quality, which showcases greater contrast, brighter colors, intricate shadow detail and distinct highlights.
Samsung TVs support the new HDMI 2.0a specification, which enables the transmission of HDR metadata across external HDR-compatible sources. Samsung will release a software update that provides SUHD TV owners with a more lifelike picture quality. This firmware update is set to broaden the spectrum of HDR content available for consumers.
HDMI 2.0a will be supported on all 2015 SUHD and UHD TV models via the firmware update and does not require new HDMI cables.
Samsung also showcased at IFA its range of 28 Curved SUHD TVs – ranging in size from 48-inch to 105-inch.
Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Samsung also introduced the new Ultra HD Blu-ray Player (UBD-K8500) which supports UHD Blu-ray disc playback. The player, which is capable of providing four times the resolution and 64 times higher color expression compared to standard Blu-ray, is capable of upscaling content to provide UHD resolution for any disc. Additionally the 4K streaming services are available.
Samsung didn't specify any pricing, but said it would cost "less than $500. It said the device will launch in the US and Europe early next year.
The 4K picture format , is the next optical disc format that will succeed Blu-ray. Netflix, Amazon and others support 4K streaming over the Internet, but the quality of streamed movies likely won't be as high as that of an Ultra HD Blu-ray. Still, disc-based formats like Blu-ray continue to decline in sales while streaming video, with quality that's perfectly good enough for most viewers, surges in popularity.
Samsung WW8500 AddWash is the first washing machine that allows consumers to add laundry at any point of the wash cycle, thanks to its 'Add Door'. A press of the pause button stops the spinning drum, and makes it possible to add laundry to the wash, whether it’s a uniform that needs to be ready for soccer practice tomorrow or a sweater or even a jeans that did not make it to the laundry pile. AddWash also provides a new level of care for delicate hand-wash only fabrics because they can now be added right at the start of the rinse cycle.
AddWash is also a connected washing machine that works with both Android and iOS devices, enabling consumers to remotely monitor and operate the machine as well as receive a range of notifications straight to their smartphone.
Collaborations with car makers
Samsung sees cars as an important part of the emerging IoT ecosystem, and is working with several car makers to innovate in the automotive space.
Samsung SmartThings will soon integrate with BMW cars by displaying notifications from the SmartThings Hub directly on the dashboard. In turn, the SmartThings app makes it possible to check the technical status of your BMW, and even lock and unlock it remotely.
Samsung also announced details of its partnership with Volkswagen, which will offer drivers a seamlessly connected car experience, through Car Mode for Galaxy, an app that adds value to the driving experience powered by MirrorLink, a standard for car connectivity.Car Mode for Galaxy, controlled by both touch and voice powered by S-Voice, lets you take calls easily and safely, listen to your favorite playlist, or get directions to your destination ; it even reads you incoming text messages out loud. Users can enjoy all the features through Car Mode for Galaxy mobile app even in a car without mirroring functionality.
The Volkswagen partnership also integrates the Volkswagen Car-Net e-Remote app. The app connects the new Samsung Gear S2 with a range of Volkswagen vehicles, enabling seamless interaction right from your wrist. Whether locating where you parked your car, turning on the air conditioning before you return to your car on a hot day, or managing the battery levels of your electric Volkswagen car, Samsung and Volkswagen take the link between automobiles and wearables to a new level.
No press conference for LG
Samsung's chief rival, LG Electronics, decided not to hold a press conference; however, it remains positive that its largest-ever booth featuring a stunning OLED TV lineup will appeal to customers and consumers.
With a slogan of "Innovation for a Better Life," LG showed mobile devices including a luxurious smart watch, drum washers and applications to be activated within IoT.
"LG seeks to visibly differentiate its new range with the new OLED TVs and consumer-friendly smart technology, which will be of greater benefit to more consumers," said Park Seok-won, head of LG's global sales business unit.
LG promoters will demonstrate the usability of its WebOS 2.0 application, which helps customers enjoy multi-tasking with two separate screens. LG said it partnered with NetFlix and Amazon to address content scarcity issues for OLED TVs and mobile devices. Amazon's high-definition content will be available on LG OLED TVs later this year.
While the company is seeking to improve its ability for IoT-customized systems, officials say it will be more difficult for LG to claim itself as a leader in IoT as its smartphone business is in trouble.