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Collaboration is crucial for IoT innovation, tips Samsung CEO

08 Jan 2015  | Junko Yoshida

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At this year's CES, keynote speaker Samsung Electronics CEO Boo-Keun Yoon called for the industry to "unlock the infinite possibilities of the Internet of Things," while suggesting that other companies follow what Samsung has set in place. He emphasised the importance of an "open ecosystem" for IoT, noting that "cross-industry collaboration is the key."

Yoon was less than subtle in reminding the audience of Samsung's unequivocal dominance in the global consumer electronics market today, and the company's commitment to the IoT market of tomorrow.

Yoon noted that Samsung put 665 million products in the hands of consumers last year. "That's 20 devices a second," he said, before pausing for a second. "We just made 20."

The implication of his joke was obvious. Samsung is the 800-pound gorilla of consumer electronics.

IoT

IoT looms large as Samsung CEO Boo-Keun Yoon gives his keynote address at the International CES in Las Vegas. (Source: Samsung's keynote video, YouTube)

Backed by its prowess in mass production, marketing and technology, Samsung will call the tune in the IoT market. He promised that by 2017, 90 per cent of Samsung devices will be IoT devices. Yoon said he hopes to make that 100 per cent within the next five years.

The Samsung CEO described the challenges of IoT today as the lack of an "open ecosystem" and a need for "cross-industry collaboration." On that note, Yoon declared, "Our IoT components and devices will be open." Further, he promised to the thundering applause of the audience: "Samsung will be open!"

But hang on.

If Samsung is to make so many IoT devices in volume (and Samsung hopes to sweep the IoT market), Yoon appears to be suggesting that the best way to achieve an open ecosystem for IoT is to concede Samsung's leadership.

Yoon in his speech made no mentioning of competing IoT ecosystems promoted by Samsung's rivals, including Qualcomm, Intel and Apple. Instead, he talked about a number of partnerships (or acquisitions) Samsung has made to promote its open ecosystem.

SmartThings

First, Yoon trotted onto the stage SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. SmartThings, a startup that has developed technologies to control connected devices using a mobile app, was acquired by Samsung in August for a reported $200 million.

Prodded by Yoon to talk about the progress SmartThings has made since the acquisition, Hawkinson said that all SmartThings gadgets work with all of Samsung's connected devices. He rattled off some of his company's new partners including Netgear, Chamberlain, Philips Hue and Honeywell.

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