Samsung late Thursday agreed to acquire home automation specialist SmartThings in a deal reportedly worth $200 million.
Founded in 2012, U.S.-based SmartThings offers a range of connected devices for the home, from light fittings and power outlets to door locks and motion sensors. They all connect to a central hub that allows customers to control them via a smartphone application.
It has also developed an open platform that enables customers to use the app to control smart home products made by other vendors. The same platform is also open to third-party developers who can use it as the basis for their own home automation apps.
"As an open, standards-agnostic platform for the Internet of Things, our vision has always been to innovate, build, and make the world smarter, together," said Alex Hawkinson, founder and CEO of SmartThings, in a statement. "With Samsung behind us, we will be able to attract more device makers and developers to unlock the limitless possibilities of the consumer Internet of Things."
SmartThings will become part of the Samsung Open Innovation Centre (OIC) but will operate independently with Hawkinson remaining at the helm.
"Connected devices have long been strategically important to Samsung and, like Alex and his team, we want to improve the convenience and services in people's lives by giving their devices and appliances a voice so they can interact more easily with them," said David Eun, head of the OIC.
"We are committed to maintaining SmartThings' open platform, fostering more explosive growth, and becoming its newest strategic partner," he said.
In a research note, Analysys Mason said the acquisition should help Samsung connect two separate core businesses: consumer electronics like smartphones and tablets, and domestic appliances like washing machines and refrigerators.
"Its competitors Apple and Google lack the appliances in the home that Samsung has, while domestic rival LG, although it also supplies domestic appliances as well as consumer electronics devices, lacks a strong presence in the smartphone and tablet markets," Analysys Mason said.