Google taps Samsung Mobile CTO to lead IoT efforts

Google hired Injong Rhee for its IoT efforts. (Image: Samsung)

Samsung Mobile CTO Injong Rhee has been named a Google entrepreneur in residence, where he’ll lead the company’s internet of things (IoT) efforts. The move signals a new era for the internet giant’s efforts in the IoT space, which have been somewhat confined to Google Home and other smart-residence products that can leverage the company’s prodigious search capabilities.

During his almost seven years at Samsung (the last two as CTO of the mobile division), he was responsible for a range of IoT-friendly development, including the hypersecure mobile OS known as Samsung Knox, along with the Samsung Pay mobile payments service and the Bixby voice assistant.

Rhee will report to Diane Greene, CEO of Google Cloud and board member of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

“IoT is a new and exciting space with tremendous potential to transform how we use and deploy technology in our everyday lives,” Rhee said in a LinkedIn post announcing the move. “Google and Alphabet have many IoT related products and assets. One of the first things I would like to do with my Google colleagues is to get these efforts coordinated and aligned toward a concerted IoT story of Googlein the process, create distinct consumer and enterprise product lines. With support from Diane and the other members of the leadership team, I hope to grow Google IoT into a sustainable and profitable business line.”

As purpose-built 5G for IoT looms on the horizon (widely seen as the key for IoT to reach its true potential), being able to gain insights from sensors and enormous footprints of embedded operating systems will be a market imperative for those investing in those projects. But Google until now has been largely associated with the Google Home voice-assistant line of gadgets and the Nest smart thermometerboth of which occupy a place in consumer hearts and mindsnot business.

Going forward, Rhee’s emphasis on more clearly defining Google’s enterprise IoT strategy dovetails with the company’s efforts to build out its Cloud IoT Core service. The platform, launched earlier this year, is for enabling information-gathering and analytics from globally dispersed devices at a large scale, with integrated services like Google Data Studio, for visualizing data with reports and dashboards; the Cloud Machine Learning Engine; Cloud Functions workflows for triggering real-time device changes and automatic loading balancing based on conditions; and the self-explanatory BigQuery, for running ad-hoc analysis on Big Data. As a cloud-based platform, the idea is to drive out IoT project costs for enterprises and municipalities; and a partnership with NXP Semiconductors is aimed at addressing edge computing and how to deal with the latency that cloud can bring.