Google has Nest, Apple has HomeKit, and now Samsung (allegedly) have SmartThings. Jumping on the home automation bandwagon, the reports going through the rumour mill follow the current trend of former Kickstarter campaigns becoming acquired by Internet Kings. After Google bought Nest for $3.2 billion earlier this year and Apple announced its HomeKit at WWDC last month, Samsung seems to be following suit with an estimated $200 million deal with SmartThings. Whatever happened to innovation?
The Washington-based home automation company allows you to connect everything in your house to the internet through its device and control them using your mobile. Current SmartThings kits include a large array of cloud devices such as lighting control, security systems, leak detectors and appliance control; their mature home automation platform giving them a head start over Apple and Google on the Internet of Things market.
And they certainly need it. Their smartphone sales continue to deteriorate with an estimated annual 22-26% drop in smartphone profits, so Samsung are undoubtedly keen to cash in on a more prosperous project: The almost inevitable future of complete home connection. And with SmartThings system already flourishing, all they need is some major marketing help. Cue Samsung, whose marketing budget last year was an estimated $14 billion. Samsung’s marketing could go hand in hand with SmartThings established home automation system, to secure them top position of the in-house technology battle. And soon consumers will have to choose between which competitor’s unique network they want to buy in to.
But with access to all of our data, including when we’re at home and what our wifi password is, home automation companies only add more concern to the ongoing personal security debate. So which technology behemoth do we want handling our intimate data? While Apple will use your information to no doubt sell you even more products, Google will use it to enhance its services (and to choose which ads to show you) - its recent acquisition of DropCam has already set off some alarm bells. Although neither company has responded to reports, Samsung’s declining profits and the rise of home automation systems suggest this rumour could definitely be a reality. So who would you choose to take control of your life? Larry Page, Tim Cook or erm, the other one?
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