Home automation and connected appliances are both markets that big companies are trying to break into, including Google (which scooped up Nest not too long ago), LG, and Apple. To stay competitive, Samsung has announced that they have bought SmartThings, a relatively new company founded on KickStarter, for $200 million. Samsung says that SmartThings will continue to run independently, but some employees are going to shift around to Palo Alto where Samsung’s Open Innovation Center is located.
Since they will continue to operate as a separate business, SmartThings seems to be happy about the purchase since they will benefit from Samsung’s large portfolio of of home appliances, plus their development expertise and deep pockets. The company has managed to rack up about $15 million in funding from backers, but Samsung will be able to push that much higher.
SmartThings creates home kits that allow users to connect things like lights and locks and other home devices to a WiFi network, which can then be manipulated by a mobile phone app. They have tried to keep their platform extremely open so anyone can create an app to take advantage of their connected devices, and they want their software to be available on as many operating systems and platforms as possible. So far, it’s worked out, so hopefully Samsung doesn’t force a change in direction.
Have you experiemented with any smart home devices yet? Is an acquisition like this enough to make you want to?