Samsung: King of the IoT?

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The Internet of Things was the new buzzword in 2016 and it’s one we’ve heard a lot in the first week of 2017 thanks to Amazon selling a boatload of Echoes.

Samsung did its part last year to bring the IoT into more U.S. homes, particularly with the introduction of the “Family Hub” smart refrigerator. However, on Wednesday at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Tim Baxter, president and COO of Samsung Electronics America, made it clear that IoT is not just a buzzword for the company.

It’s a way of life.

“[The IoT] guides our overall strategy,” he said during a company press conference at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. “We’re building an expansive set of products. We have IoT capabilities in every home appliance category, and every Samsung TV in 2017 will be a smart TV.”

You can expect Samsung Pay to play a role in the company’s IoT plans, too.

Baxter described how Samsung’s software systems, which include SmartThing, Samsung Plus and Samsung Pay, will continue to merge with IoT appliances and other devices such as smartphones, televisions and wearables.

SmartThing is Samsung’s line of devices intended to turn residences into smart homes. Samsung Plus is a mobile app for the company’s Galaxy devices that connects consumers to instant live customer support.

Baxter did not reveal specifics about the role of Samsung Pay in the company’s IoT devices, but he did highlight the company’s mobile wallet for the Gear S3 smartwatch. While he did not mention it specifically, Samsung last year did introduce a version of Samsung Pay for some smart TVs.

Baxter also discussed the role that Samsung intends to play in connected cars, and he pointed to the company’s recent purchase of Harman,  a company considered to be the market leader in connected car products with a presence in some 30 million vehicles.

As for the smart refrigerator, a company press release said that the appliance is receiving a makeover with the introduction of voice technology that homeowners can use to “learn the weather and time, add products to shopping lists and order groceries online, manage to-do-lists as well as calendar schedules, in addition to controlling various other apps.”

The Groceries by MasterCard app will still play a central role for the Family Hub, which will expand to more refrigerator models this year.

And about that problem …

Baxter kicked off the press conference by addressing an embarrassing saga for the company in 2016: the Galaxy Note 7.

“Some of you were directly impacted and certainly many of you saw the media coverage surrounding the Galaxy Note 7,” Baxter said. “We continue our intensive efforts internally and with third-party experts to understand what happened and to make sure it does not happen again.”

Baxter said that Samsung soon will release its findings as to what caused problems with the device. Many industry observers believe a design flaw cause the Note’s battery to spontaneously combust.

“Despite the setbacks, we have not and will not stop innovating,” he said.

Photo courtesy of Samsung

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