Imagine tapping on the phone to activate a Darth Vader-themed robotic vacuum cleaner and change the house lights to a red hue to match the mood, and then watch "Vader" scurry around doing cleaning chores while making that iconic, sinister breathing noise. Or being alerted on the phone whenever the fridge door is opened. Or lights turning themselves off the moment one opens the door to leave the room or house.
This is the smart home that Samsung has built with its Connect Home mesh router, which is also a smart hub for the company's SmartThings platform and part of Samsung's Internet of Things (IOT) vision. At CES 2018, the world's largest consumer electronics show, the company announced that all Samsung products will be IOT-ready in 2020.
At an Orchard Scotts Residences' apartment that has been outfitted by Samsung with its various SmartThings products, The Straits Times got a first-hand look at how it all works.
The SmartThings platform consists of software, as well as support hardware that includes Samsung's Star Wars Special Edition VR7000 robot vacuum cleaner, Samsung Door Lock SHP-728, Samsung SmartThings Multipurpose Sensor and Philips Hue lights.
Using the Samsung Connect app with the Connect Home router, one can easily add and manage SmartThings hardware. For example, to be notified when the front door is opened, place the sensor at the door and add it to the Connect app.
The user can also set the door opening as a prompt for other actions, such as automatically switching on the room lights.The Connect app also allows one to automate tasks by using its voice assistant Bixby. For instance, power up the kettle and toaster by saying "Good Morning".
And the user does not need a smart kettle or toaster - just plug the home appliances into the SmartThings Outlet. This smart pass-through power outlet can turned on or off via the Connect app.
One can add Samsung home appliances, such as its Smart TVs, to the Connect app. And instead of using the remote control, use the app to turn on the TV, control volume and navigate the menu interface.
Currently, it might be difficult to envision a future where every device and appliance is connected and controlled by a single app.
But having the Samsung Connect Home is certainly a step towards that future.