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The Internet of Things (IoT) – connected living that enhances lifestyle choices

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 August, 2016, 10:35am
UPDATED : Monday, 29 August, 2016, 10:35am

From refrigerators that order groceries, security sensors, app controlled lighting and air-conditioning and home entertainment hubs; the Internet of Things (IoT) is opening new up new frontiers of convenience and lifestyle choices.

As the growing number of IoT connected devices, including "entry-level" devices fit into the patterns of daily Hong Kong life, Ellen Fu, Director of Consumer Electronics at Samsung Electronics HK believes consumer enthusiasm for connected devices that make home life more convenient and personalised will continue to develop. ''As connected devices become more functional and commonplace, people are focusing less on the technology and more on the way technology can make their lives more comfortable,'' says Fu.

Describing the trend as an ''era of changing devices'', Fu says the focus on the television as a hub for home entertainment is a good example. ''We have seen a shift from the television being used as a passive device to becoming more of an interactive device used to view on-demand programmes, share family photographs, videos, music and used as web browser to access and share a wide variety of entertainment content,'' Fu notes. Meanwhile, she says Hong Kong's high-speed fibre-optic network and internet bandwidth infrastructure which supports 3D and 4-K High Dynamic Range (HDR) provides the ideal platform for consumers to enjoy true-to-life picture quality, offered by a new generation of Quantum dot display televisions, including Samsung's groundbreaking SUHD series. SUHD TVs are connected with the company's interactive platform that allows users to connect, manage and control smart devices and IoT services.

''Consumers are realising and appreciating that watching and listening to their favourite program content on a SUHD television is a very different experience to the content they view on their mobile devices,'' Fu says. Quantum dot technology delivers picture quality that is so lifelike; viewers are able to see the subtle hues in bright sunlight to the hidden details in the night. For sports fans, features include highlight recording and automatic replay of game highlights, slow-motion replay, zoom in, and the ability to watch live TV at the same time as other program content. ''With the television at the centre of the 'smart entertainment home', the goal is to strip away the unnecessary elements of technology, allowing viewers to interact and personalise the program content they choose to watch,'' says Fu.

Built on the Samsung's Tizen operating system and featuring an intuitive menu which allows quick access to favourite shows, movies, apps and games, Fu says Samsung's Smart TV experience is designed to ensure family members get the most out of their home entertainment systems. Using a single control to configure multiple devices, viewers can switch seamlessly between over-the- top (OTT) content, live TV, as well as other Wi-Fi connected devices including video consoles, Blu-ray and set-top-boxes which are auto detected and connect to the TV. ''Our aim is to use technology to provide a viewing experience which is rich in features and designed to maximise the quality of the content,'' explains Fu who adds that Samsung has formed strategic partnerships, which includes Netflix to provide content suited to the Hong Kong market.

As the world’s largest manufacturer of consumer electronics, Samsung has pledged to work collaboratively with industry partners to bring IoT to scale so that people everywhere can benefit from connectivity platforms. Fu says to infuse innovation, convenience and simplicity that keep pace with the modern lifestyle; Samsung is incorporating technology into household devices that make it easier for everyone to experience the benefits of a smart home.  For instance, in the US the company's Family Hub refrigerator, which features a Wi-Fi enabled touch screen facilitates online grocery shopping plus the option of managing recipes. To efficiently manage grocery shopping and storage, three built-in cameras take a picture of the inside of the fridge every time the door closes, which can be accessed anytime using a smartphone.

With information technology research company Gartner, Inc, forecasting that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020, Fu says Samsung is prepared to take human-centered connected technology to the next level.