SAN FRANCISCO — Four months ago, Samsung Electronics vowed to make the Internet of Things a staple of its $211 billion business. Today, it delivered a key piece.
Flanked onstage by developers of smart shoes (Boogio), farming-data sensors (Weenat) and an IoT programming (Temboo), Young Sohn, president and chief strategy officer of Samsung Electronics, unboxed Artik, new chip technology for Internet-connected devices.
The splashy announcement kicked off the Internet of Things World conference here, one of several devoted to the fast-growing field expected to top $3 trillion by 2020, according to IDC. Market researcher Gartner predicts Internet-connected devices will reach 26 billion units by 2020, compared with 900 million in 2009.
“These (Artik) are powerful building blocks” that are small, low in power and secure, Sohn said in a 45-minute keynote presentation. Artik is designed to work with Samsung appliances and products that run on Samsung-made chips.
Sohn. who helped launch a $100 million investment fund in the USA for Samsung in early 2013, noted the consumer-electronics behemoth is uniquely positioned for the fledgling IoT market. It makes about 1 million products a day, and ships some 660 million devices annually — everything from smartphones, watches and TVs to refrigerators, washing machines and tablets.
In January, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Samsung CEO BK Yoon laid out the company’s ambitious plans to touch every facet of consumers’ lives, reducing their time, cost and resources on most daily tasks.
“It’s not science fiction anymore — it is science fact,” Yoon said at the same. “I would argue that the age of the Internet of Things has already started,” he said.
The South Korean electronics giant’s strategic gambit is a natural course for a company that makes nearly every conceivable electronic device in a home and is lauded for its hardware design.
Its goal is audacious: 90% of Samsung’s devices — everything from smartphones to refrigerators – will be able to connect to the Web by 2017. By 2020, all of them will be connected.
In its pursuit of the Internet of Things, Samsung – like tech rivals Apple and Google — sees a rich opportunity to leverage its expertise in consumer electronics into the enterprise market, says Bob O’Donnell, chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, a technology and market research firm.
Samsung last year acquired SmartThings, a smart-home start-up that is essential to Samsung’s Internet of Things push.
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