Samsung’s getting into the smart home game in a bigger way, with the introduction of a new smart home hub called the Samsung Connect Home and a smart home app called Samsung Connect.
The Wi-Fi hub is said to have built-in Zigbee, Z-Wave and Bluetooth 4.1 and is compatible with hundreds of third-party smart homes devices from the likes of Ring and Philips.
If it sounds similar to a Google Wifi or Eero mesh router system, that’s no surprise, but it also ties into SmartThings, the startup that Samsung acquired in 2014, and according to CNET, represents the first time Samsung has united its own connected large appliances with SmartThings-compatible products in the same hub hardware.
Ultimately, Samsung’s vision is for its Bixby service to use Samsung Connect to control all the devices in the home with one’s voice. The company says Samsung Connect can automatically identify and connect to a variety of Samsung and SmartThings Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
There’s actually two versions of Samsung’s hub, one that is a 2x2 MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) Wi-Fi router, and a more powerful 4x4 MIMO Connect Home Pro, according to Mashable, which notes that any SmartThings-compatible device can connect to the Connect Home, including Philips Hue light bulbs and internet-connected Samsung devices such as the company's smart refrigerators and robot vacuums.
Pricing and product availability weren’t part of the announcement that Samsung made during the Unpacked event Wednesday.
Samsung Electronics purchased home automation platform SmartThings in 2014, enabling the startup to expand its platform and work with more partners and devices. Founded in 2012, SmartThings lets people monitor, control, and automate their homes from wherever they are through a single mobile app.
While the Internet of Things (IoT) has its share of fragmentation, the fact that Samsung is supporting several technologies is worth noting.
Z-Wave started to establish itself in the smart home space quite a while ago, claiming 70 percent of the smart home market. It’s used by the likes of AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink and others – in fact, more than 375 global smart home device manufacturers, IoT platform suppliers and all types of service providers are using it. Z-Wave was founded by Zensys, which was purchased in 2008 by Sigma Designs.
Established more than a dozen years ago, ZigBee technology has already been deployed in hundreds of millions of devices worldwide. Its brand isn’t all that well known outside the industry, however, with its member companies, such as The Kroger Co., Comcast and Philips, advertising under their own labels.