Samsung could be about to splash $200m on home automation startup SmartThings
While Google has Nest Labs and Apple has HomeKit, Samsung is reportedly looking to enter the home automation space by acquiring Internet of Things company SmartThings for $200 million, according to TechCrunch.
SmartThings is a home automation platform that allows users to connect devices such as lights or doorlocks to a system controlled by their smartphone. It has previously raised over $15 million from investors.
As the TechCrunch article points out, what is interesting about the upcoming IoT battle between companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, and now (potentially) Samsung is what each will look to do with the data gathered.
While Google will likely seek to improve its services and web advertizing, Amazon will aim to sell users more products, and Apple will try to drive hardware sales, it’s unknown exactly what Samsung’s end goal would be — although driving handset sales may be a large part of it. Given that it expects handset sales to drop off considerably this year, this could be a way of helping raise high-end smartphone sales.
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to conduct an interview with SmartThings CEO/founder Alex Hawkinson for an article in the UK’s Guardian newspaper. Below are the (expanded) comments he made about the interest of tech giants in home automation:
“Within the bounds of strong privacy protections that are needed to protect consumers, the data that can be gathered by connecting everyday objects to the Internet has some amazing applications that could be used to make life better for consumers. In the case of Google, there are implications for being able to suggest to a household when they have a need for a service even before that household is aware that they have a need. For example, if you detect a leak instantly you can suggest a plumber before the user has a chance to search for one.
In the case of Apple, it is likely that these technologies will make users get even more value from their mobile devices. The average household on our platform gets more than 15 push notifications from SmartThings per day, which is representative of the value the customer sees in giving their home a voice. While I can’t comment on specific plans, in general I think it would be great if companies like Google and Apple entered the space as it would further validate the market, signal that now is the time when the smart home is going mainstream, and help to increase broad consumer awareness.
As the leading startup and open platform in the space, SmartThings stands to benefit from these trends and the overall acceleration of the market.”
We’ll let you know as we hear more news regarding this potential acquisition.