Samsung has agreed to buy leading Internet of Things start up SmartThings, signalling its intention to become a leader in the market.
Founded in 2012, SmartThings sells smart home kits which allow users to control more than 1,000 devices and 8,000 apps created by a community of device makers, inventors, and developers that use its open platform, via a smarthphone app available on both iOS and Android.
Devices such as household appliances, doors, windows, thermostats, light fittings and alarms as well as motion, temperature and location sensors connect through a central Wi-Fi hub allowing users to automate their home remotely.
Samsung said that the company will continue to operate independently under founder and CEO Alex Hawkinson, and will become part of the Samsung Open Innovation Center (OIC), which is responsible for bringing software and services innovation to Samsung Electronics by working with technology startups and entrepreneurs.
“SmartThings has created a remarkable universe of partners and developers and now has the most engagement of any smart home platform in the world,” said David Eun, Head of the OIC.
“Connected devices have long been strategically important to Samsung and, like Alex and his team, we want to improve the convenience and services in people’s lives by giving their devices and appliances a voice so they can interact more easily with them.
“We are committed to maintaining SmartThings’ open platform, fostering more explosive growth, and becoming its newest strategic partner.”
Samsung’s acquisition follows major plays in the home automation and Internet of Things by rivals Google, which recently spend £1.9bn on the company behind the Nest thermostat, and Apple, which have announced the HomeKit platform for its upcoming iOS 8 mobile operating system.
SmartThings and its 55 employees will move its headquarters from Washington, to link up with
Samsung's Open Innovation Centre in Palo Alto.
“As an open, standards-agnostic platform for the Internet of Things, our vision has always been to innovate, build, and make the world smarter, together,” said Hawkinson.
“With Samsung behind us, we will be able to attract more device makers and developers to unlock the limitless possibilities of the consumer Internet of Things. We are thrilled to become part of the Samsung family and continue our goal in making every home a smart home.”