Interview with Samsung Nordics VP, Marko Nurmela

Interview, Thought Leaders

Marko Nurmela is the VP of Marketing and Communications at Samsung Nordic.  We had a chance to get to know him and learn about the role IoT plays at Samsung.


How has Samsung gotten involved with IoT?

We believe that Human-centric innovation, openness and cross-industry collaboration is the key to success in the IoT. Samsung has been advocating and supporting open platforms that will remove the barriers to interoperability, thereby allowing billions of devices, regardless of brand or manufacturer, to connect and communicate seamlessly. Furthermore we are leveraging our leadership in devices, components, software, and networking to address a spectrum of needs across the building blocks, or layers, of technology required to further develop the IoT space.

I’ve read a lot about your SmartThings platform. What is it, exactly?

The SmartThings platform is at the heart of Samsung’s drive to build IoT. It is the easiest way to turn a home into a smart home. SmartThings is a truly open platform with an open API that helps Samsung’s partners and developer communities to create smart home solutions. The SmartThings platform is composed by the SmartThings Hub that provides connectivity to other SmartThings, third party devices, and the SmartThings cloud via an Ethernet cable. SmartThings announced a new SmartThings Hub at IFA 2015. The new Hub will allow Samsung’s smart devices, such as smart appliances and smart TVs, to connect to the SmartThings platform soon in order to build an engaging smart home and IoT environment.

In order to open new paths for developers and device manufacturers in shaping the next big innovation in the IoT space, Samsung is pursuing a range of open platform initiatives that address a spectrum of needs across the IoT space, including those driven by Samsung, such as the Digital Health Platform and SmartThings.

What growth potential do you see in IoT?

An immense ammount. According to Gartner, there will be 5 billion connected “things” by the end of 2015 and 25 billion by the end of 2020, which roughly averages out to three IoT-ready devices for every person on the planet. The growth opportunities are there for many companies, including those outside the technology industry. We have already seen other industries venture into the IoT space, just look at the healthcare and automotive industries in the various IoT platform consortia, such as the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) and the Thread Group.

What are barriers to introducing connectivity, smart devices, and IoT within the workplace?

We like to focus more on the opportunities than on the barriers. The greatest technological impediment to IoT has to do with interoperability and whether companies interested in IoT can find ways to engage in open collaboration. Doing so will benefit consumers by allowing billions of smart connected devices to connect and communicate with each other seamlessly, regardless of manufacturer or brand, across open platforms.

From a marketing perspective, how has IoT encouraged (or discouraged) the shift from selling products to selling services?

Samsung intends not only to focus on products but also to address a spectrum of needs across the layers of technology required to nurture the IoT space.

Firstly, we have been advocating and supporting open platforms that will remove the barriers to interoperability. As part of this, Samsung is pursuing a range of open platform initiatives that address a spectrum of needs across the IoT space, including those driven by Samsung, such as SmartThings and those consortia, of which Samsung is a founding member, namely the OIC and the Thread Group.

Secondly, we are leveraging our leadership in devices, components, software and networking. Based on the formula and expertise that have enabled continued success across a diverse range of product categories, Samsung will introduce a new generation of devices optimized for IoT.

Thirdly, we are taking our leadership in components, such as semiconductors and sensors, to new heights by introducing components optimized for IoT, such as ePOP, bio-processor and SimBand, all of which are open for other device manufacturers and brands to leverage in their own devices.

Fourthly, we are addressing a number of requirements in the software space. Generating value and benefits for consumers in the IoT space requires data processing that is fast and efficient, not just for data sorting, but also for identifying and implementing data that is relevant. As evidenced in our industry-leading DeepSort sorting engine and SAMIIO, Samsung will continue to expand its software innovation to make the consumer IoT experience convenient and meaningful.

Finally, we are leveraging our strength in delivering innovative technologies and translating promising human-centric ideas into proven solutions in the IoT space through our expansive R&D capabilities. R&D for IoT has been taking place across numerous R&D organizations throughout Samsung.

What do you think is the most exciting development coming out of IoT?

IoT will bring new value to consumers’ lives by turning everyday objects into smart connected devices that sense, generate and share information, thereby allowing devices to understand consumers and deliver benefits and services optimized for each consumer’s needs and wants.

While companies across multiple industries will collaborate to grow the IoT space, those who generate information, namely consumers, are at the center of the data-intensive IoT space—more so than devices or solutions—as they will shape and dictate how the IoT space evolves.

With IoT the world has the potential to improve the lives of billions of consumers and create a more efficient, democratic, and sustainable place.