Control your home from an app for £200: Samsung brings SmartThings technology to the UK


Sophie Curtis in Berlin

September 4, 2015

Samsung has launched its SmartThings platform for the connected home in the UK, including a £199 starter kit with a hub and a variety of sensors

Smartphone maker Samsung is getting ready to take over your living space, with the release of a new smart home system in the UK that promises to let you monitor, control and automate aspects of your home from wherever you are.

The system is based on technology developed by a startup called SmartThings that Samsung acquired in August 2014. It consists of a central hub that connects wirelessly to an array of sensors and appliances throughout the home, allowing the user to control them through a mobile app.

The hub contains its own power backup, so it will continue to function if the power goes out in the house. It also has its own processor, so interactions between the hub and the various things connected to it can be processed locally rather than in the cloud.

As well as the hub itself, Samsung has launched a variety of devices to help people get started creating their own smart home . These include a motion sensor, a multi sensor, a presence sensor, a power outlet and a moisture sensor.

The motion sensor can be used to trigger either an action or a notification when movement is detected within a given space. For example, you could set it up so that the nightlight turns on automatically when your child gets out of bed.

Alternatively, you could programme the hub to send a notification to your smartphone when movement is detected in areas that are off-limits, such as the wine cellar, or when movement is detected while you are away on holiday.

The multi-sensor is primarily used to detect if something is open or closed, and can be placed on doors, windows, fridges or washing machines. Users can set it up to perform tasks when things happen, such as automatically turning on the lights when a door opens.

The multi-sensor also monitors vibration, so can tell if someone has knocked on the door and send a notification, and orientation, so it will know if someone jostles or moves a valuable object, for example.

The presence sensor is essentially a fob that can be added to a key ring or attached to a child’s backpack, and sends a message to the hub when it is within a specified area.

Users can set it up so that they get a notification when their child comes home from school, or if their dog unexpectedly leaves their home while they are at work. They can also use it like the motion sensor, to prompt actions such as lights coming on in the home or unlocking the door.

The power outlet is a plug adapter that can be used to control and automate lamps, electronics and small appliances – like coffee machines, slow-cookers and blenders – directly from your smartphone.

By plugging an appliance into the outlet, users can switch it on and off, or programme it to come on at certain times, from their phone. The outlet also measures energy consumption, and can be used to restrict power to electronics or appliances.

Finally, the moisture sensor can be used for protection from water damage and flooding. Users will receive a notification on their phone if water is detected where it doesn’t belong. It can also be programmed to trigger a light or siren to immediately alert the user if there is a leak.

Samsung is pushing its starter kit in the UK, which costs £199 and includes a SmartThings hub, a motion sensor, a multi-sensor, a presence sensor and a power outlet. All of the sensors can also be purchased individually for £30, the outlet for £45, and the hub for £99.

However, Samsung claims that this is really just to help people get a feel for what could be possible in a smart home. The broader idea is to provide a platform for people to start adding their own connected home devices from other manufacturers.

“There’s a whole ecosystem of devices from third party manufacturers that we support, so this is really just the tip of the iceberg,” said Mark Younger, EU general manager at SmartThings.

“It’s a completely open platform, so we’re really about letting the user choose what they think is the best lamp, what they think is the best camera, and we’ll just be compatible with it.”

Samsung SmartThings is compatible with over 150 connected home devices from Philips Hue, Bose, Yale, Honeywell, Lifx, D-Link, Fibaro and Aeotec. It is also able to connect with with any product that uses ZigBee, Z-Wave or any IP-based protocols.

Devices made by Google’s Nest Labs – such as its smart thermostat, smoke alarm and security camera – are not supported by SmartThings at launch, but Samsung said that there is nothing to stop a third party developer from building an API to link the two.

Samsung SmartThings will be available from Currys and PC World stores across UK and Ireland from September 10.

This article was written by Sophie Curtis in Berlin from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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