Las Vegas — If the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes the most memorable topic discussed at this week’s 2015 International CES, it will be due to the detailed and passionate keynote delivered by B.K. Yoon, Samsung Electronics president and CEO of CE.
In his sincere presentation, Yoon outlined how everyday life can been helped by IoT-enabled devices. He began by saying IoT is “not something that’s in the distant future,” and that its “age” has “already started.”
He noted that IoT technology is “not about things” but is about individuals and how “the physical and digital world” are being brought together to do simple and complex human tasks, “to help us live healthier, more productive lives” by “driving the car or doing tedious jobs around the house” or at work.
But Yoon said you can’t just talk about the “Internet of Things because it sounds so impersonal, like a bedtime story for robots. We have to show consumers what is in it for them.”
He said that the IoT experience must be seamless and garnered much applause by saying, “We must not have walled IoT gardens. We can deliver the benefits of IoT only if all sensors and devices work with each other.” Yoon pledged that Samsung’s IoT devices “will be open. We will ensure that others can easily connect to our devices.”
And there will be plenty out there that will be IoT compatible very soon. Yoon predicted that by 2017, “90 percent of all Samsung products will be IoT devices, and that includes all our televisions and mobile devices.” He added, “Five years from now, every single piece of Samsung hardware will be an IoT device, whether it is an air purifier or an oven.”
Yoon also said that individual industries have to work together to make the IoT work together and make it seamless for consumers. “We have to work across industries to unlock the value of each and every ‘thing’ to strike partnerships everywhere,” such as a medical device to protect heart patients and keep them out of intensive care, products that monitor your sleeping patterns and other similar types services and ideas.
The Samsung exec had great help from his guests in outlining what an IoT future may mean. Jeremy Rifkin, president of The Foundation of Economic Trends, called IoT a great economic paradigm shift that will “change our economic life” by managing economic activity, energy use and new transportation more effectively. “This new era of super-connectivity will allow us to effortlessly manage our devices and appliances” and will “enhance every aspect of our lives.”
Alex Hawkinson, co-founder of SmartThings, which is now part of Samsung, described a new SmartThings Hub that works with home devices even if the Internet is down or if you have a power outage. To illustrate the open concept Samsung is pushing, SmartThings works on Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices; all wearables; and smart TVs from Samsung. He then related a wide variety of well-known tech names that are now SmartThings partners.
Hosain Rahman, chief executive of Jawbone, joined the discussion to outline how his wearable technology for wristbands, headbands and speakers are designed with IoT in mind “to integrate seamlessly with your life” and help you “live better, to be better.”
And finally Elmar Frickenstein, senior VP of the BMW Group, who outlined the partnership his company has had over the years with Samsung and stated bluntly, “The Internet of Things is not a trend anymore. It is already a reality … connecting devices with each other has become standard already.”
He outlined BMW advances in this area since 1997, and that due to the “Internet of Cars” the boundaries between home, office and other devices “are disappearing,” such as the Samsung Galaxy Gear which is connected to its cars today.
Frickenstein, of course, closed his contribution to the keynote with a self-driving BMW picking him up in an underground garage — just one of many innovations that may be here sooner than anyone thinks due to IoT technologies.