Samsung sold 665m devices last year, many of which already have internet connectivity. But Yoon promised that by 2017 90% of those devices will plug into the IoT ecosystem, and 100% in five years.
“I’ve heard people say they want to create a single operating system for IoT, but these people only work with their own devices. We can deliver the benefits of IoT only if all sensors can talk to each other,” said Yoon in his opening keynote for CES in Las Vegas where he laid out Samsung’s vision for the future of IoT. “I’m making a promise that our IoT devices and products will be open. We will ensure that others can easily connect to our devices.”
‘The IoT is not a pipe dream any more’
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a buzzword that essentially describes an environment where everything is connected to the internet creating “swarm intelligence” from individually dumb devices. Bins, toasters, roads and lights will be able to talk to each other for automatic, more efficient control and monitoring.
A bin could tell the council when it is full and needs collecting, rather than just on a set schedule, for instance. A fridge could detect when the milk is empty and order another pint. The central heating system could track its owner and only turn on when they are on their way home.
But the IoT has promised much for years and was recently identified as the most over-hyped technology in development by research firm Gartner.
One of the biggest issues for IoT is the lack of interoperable standards. Each manufacturer has its own system meaning connected lights often can’t talk to the digital door lock, or the smart electricity meter can’t talk to the connected boiler.
“The IoT is not a pipe dream any more, it’s ready to go. That’s because there are many consumer devices already out there, ready to connect to IoT,” said Yoon. “The opportunities and benefits of IoT are huge, but so are the challenges. We need an open system and to collaborate across industries, not just within technology.”
“IoT is about delivering experiences that change our lives for the better, and it’s developers that come up with the ideas that change our lives. Samsung is committed to supporting them, and will invest more than $100bn into developer community through funding for startups and our incubators, which we are taking global.”
‘Security must be baked into hardware and software at every level’
Samsung bought Smart Things, an IoT company that connects devices through an open system, in August 2014 and it is leveraging the company to attract developers and connect Samsung’s devices.
Yoon also urged caution for the emerging devices: “IoT must be secure - security must be baked into hardware and software at every level. Our whole industry must work closely together to make that happen.”
IoT promises to automate many more things based on an understanding of the environment, be that location, time of day, the needs of a user and even their sleep pattern.
But that also throws up concerns over data privacy, which Yoon describing how businesses will have more opportunity to sell services and goods through pervasive user tracking did little to dispel. The IoT seems inevitable in one form or another, whether users want it or not.
This article was written by Samuel Gibbs in Las Vegas, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 6th January 2015 04.57 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010