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AI and automation: How SmartThings will make life easier

If there’s one thing that the smart home is in desperate need of, it’s better automation. Not only that, but it needs automation to be made simpler. It’s an issue that Samsung is looking into, using its SmartThings platform as the base. I spoke to Chanwoo Park (pictured), vice president, head of IoT Business at Samsung, to find out more.

One of the critical things that Samsung is looking at is having its home appliances become easier to use, automatically picking the best settings based on usage.

“We’re adding artificial intelligence to study usage patterns and provide better recommendations that align with your lifestyles,” explains Park. “In practice, this means your devices will remember the modes you most frequently use and have it ready for you next time you’re ready to use the appliance. This saves users time and the number of steps it takes to get to the features they want.”

As Park goes on to explain, automation is about picking the right product at the right time, leaving some choices in the hands of users: “We also understand that not all things should be automated and some decisions are best left to the consumers to make. The choice to check in on your loved one, looking up a recipe in the moment and even spontaneously setting the lights to a particular mood…. Technology can help make things easier and more efficient, but not all decisions in the home are about efficiency.”

Expanded SmartThings categories

Although SmartThings started as a more techy product, around smart home automation using sensors and user-created automations, the platform has expanded to be easier to use, encompassing new product types.

“In the past year alone, we’ve introduced multiple new service plug-ins with SmartThings so that our consumers can monitor, control and interact with their smart appliances in more meaningful ways,” explains Park.

New services include:

  • SmartThings Cooking – “SmartThings Cooking aims to end fumbling for recipes and flipping between apps by bringing all the necessary searching, planning, purchasing and preparation together in one single place. SmartThings Cooking curates your entire food preparation experience by building weekly meal plans based on your specific tastes, dietary needs and the ingredients you have on hand. Once your meals are planned out, SmartThings Cooking connects to various food and grocery retailers to order any ingredients you might be missing. When it is time to cook, SmartThings ensures your Samsung cooking devices work with your recipes and plans from preheating to reminders along the way.”
  • SmartThings Pet Care – “[Using] AI capabilities on our new robot vacuum cleaner (Bespoke Jet Bot™ AI+) we use the technology that’s used for better floor cleaning to monitor our furry family member when we’re away from home. You can use the onboard camera to see what your pet is up to in real-time and activate different appliances like air purifiers, air conditioners and lights to make the environment more comfortable for them. It can also identify your pet using its computer vision and automatically take short video clips of your pets in the monitoring mode. If you want to keep your pet entertained, you can even remotely turn on the TV to keep them entertained.”
  • SmartThings Clothing Care – “The clothes we wear every day are important mainstays of our lives, but maintaining sensitive and speciality items can prove complicated. The SmartThings Clothing Care service is designed to recommend optimal cycles for the items you’re washing based on material type, your usage patterns, the current season and more. A comprehensive smart wardrobe management system, SmartThings Clothing Care also monitors detergent levels and can even order more detergent from online retailers when you’re running low.”

Matter brings wider support

It has been relatively easy for appliance manufacturers to get their products to talk together, but there’s an increasing demand for cross-manufacturer communication. To a degree, SmartThings allows this, supporting thousands of devices from different manufacturers, but the company is also betting big on the Matter protocol.

Designed to improve interoperability between smart devices, Matter is supported by the big names in the smart home, including Samsung, Apple, Amazon and Google.

“The idea of removing walled gardens and having devices from multiple brands is one that we agree with and support,” says Park. “Having multiple smart speaker platforms, lights, sensors and a variety of IoT devices working together will help remove the complexity of making things work together for the consumers; one of the traditional barriers for smart home adoption. As Matter launches and works with SmartThings, we think it will further enhance the consumer experience.”

Improved security

With more devices connected online, there’s an increased awareness of the security threat that this can bring. Samsung takes several approaches to keep users and their data safe.

“Protecting our customers’ privacy and data security is fundamental to everything we do. We regularly conduct extensive security assessments and continuously work with third-party security research firms to improve the overall security posture of the IoT ecosystem,” explains Park. “Samsung Knox is also built directly into the device chipsets and helps to secure data stored, sent or received on a device throughout its entire lifecycle, from boot-up to runtime, and even when powered off.”

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