Samsung CEO Talks Up Internet of Things at CES

Samsung CEO BK Yoon says the Internet of Things will play a big role in our future, eventually becoming more than just a gimmick or a convenience.

LAS VEGAS – Samsung Electronics CEO and President BK Yoon envisions an interconnected Internet of Things (IoT), in which everything from your bed to your refrigerator gathers and analyzes data that improves consumers’ lives.

One of these super-smart gizmos should even be able to smell, according to a USA TODAY report.

Yoon elaborated on that vision late Monday as the opening keynote speaker here at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Yoon sat down with USA TODAY ahead of that speech. His remarks, which were made through a translator, were edited for clarity.

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In 2015, the company will invest more than $100 million in the development community working on connected devices. And it will appeal to developers and competitors to assist in open standards so that devices from different manufacturers work together, the newspaper reports.

“In creating an [Internet of Things] market and realizing the IoT era, collaboration between all industries to enable barrier-less and seamless communication between devices is absolutely essential,” Yoon said.

Yoon stressed that new connected devices must be designed to fit into consumers’ lifestyles. “IoT must be and should be human-centric,” he said. “We don’t want to require consumers to adapt new behaviors or habits. This is something that will be naturally integrated into the everyday lives of consumers.”

Related: Will the ‘Internet of Everything’ Change Everything in Electronic Security?

Following is an edited transcript of the USA TODAY interview with Yoon:

What can consumers expect from Samsung as it advances this Internet of Things strategy?
A lot of the smart TVs and smartphones out there already can communicate. By 2017, our plan is to IoT-enable 90% of Samsung hardware, and within five years our plan is to IoT-enable all Samsung products 100%.

Our goal is to create an IoT universe so that we can provide convenience and safety to consumers and we can better their lives.

How might this change my daily life in the near future?
There is a sensor about the size of my hand, I can put it under my mattress … If I lie down on my bed the sensor will register my sleep pattern and it will work out the best time, for instance, for me to wake up. It will automatically turn on the lights. Or it will turn off the lights when it has sensed that I am completely asleep.

It can also monitor my heart rate and check my breathing and if there’s a serious anomaly and if it’s an emergency situation it can be linked to the TV or phone to sound an alert or an alarm. The alert could also go to the hospital, as well.

What other types of advances in sensors are we talking about?
Some track movement. Some can identify scent. Others monitor heart rates or health trends. At Samsung we are currently developing a sensor that can distinguish between 20 different scents or smells.

It is important for sensors to be able to accurately distinguish a scent that is a very toxic scent. In a lot of developing countries, people use coal briquettes to warm their house. A sensor can detect dangerous gases from the briquettes. The gas has no color and no smell. A lot of people die from this. So (the sensor) can sound an alert. It would be beneficial.

I think that once all the things in our life are truly connected it can bring real transformations in the way we live.

For most consumers, their smartest device is their phone or tablet. Where do those fit in as the Internet of Things expands?
I believe that wearables and TVs and other appliances will become as important as smartphones and tablets. To go back to the example of when a consumer wakes up at home, they might wake up and go on the scale and the scale might actually monitor their heart rate. Then they will probably leave for work, in which case they would take their smartphone or tablet.

So in their home, their TVs, their scales and the wearables will be more important but when they are outside their house, the smartphones and tablets will play a more important role. I think the TV in the house will work as a hub for IoT. So it will emerge as a very important device in the lives of our consumers.

It seems that the IoT market could help open up new opportunities for companies as the smartphone and tablet marketplaces get saturated.
I think the IoT market will provide a lot of business opportunities for Samsung. We produce devices, components and semiconductors. We are also manufacturing sensors, as well. So once we have the devices and we have networks and the data accumulated and, afterwards, if we can analyze the data to provide services, a company like Samsung can move beyond just producing devices and we can provide services that really benefit our consumers.

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