Samsung co-CEO set sights on smart appliances and a 'smart world'

Co-CEO BK Yoon said the company vowed to become the leader in innovation when it came to home appliances for 2015, and shared his vision of the smart home becoming a smart world.

Cho Mu-hyun Senior Writer, ZDNet Korea
Cho Mu-hyun is a native of South Korea living in Seoul and working for ZDNet Korea as a senior writer covering Samsung, LG, Hyundai, SK and the Korean conglomerates, or chaebols, in general.
Cho Mu-hyun
3 min read

BK Yoon at CES 2015 Cho | CNET

LAS VEGAS -- BK Yoon, co-CEO of the South Korean tech giant said that the company would focus on smart appliances and building the smart home in 2015 in a press conference at CES.

Samsung was showing off its new Tizen TVs and announced earlier that all its smart TVs will be powered by the new Tizen OS. These TVs are expected to become the "hub" of smart homes that Yoon stressed will become the starting point for the home-based Internet of Things.

"Tizen's strength is its short loading time. And for certain products, this is more important than others. I think you have to think differently on what is important for TV as to cell-phones. For phones it is the apps, and early on for Smart TVs, it was said whether it was a good or bad TV depending on how many apps it had but I think now the thinking is different.

"What is important for Tizen is how the OS operates based on consumers' wants and thoughts. How the OS operates with another OS and can communicate with any other OS. Communication between devices is crucial. This is our final goal," said Yoon. On whether Tizen will power smart automobiles, the co-CEO said they were willing to cooperate with any car makers who came to the table.

"Four things are crucial in IoT: sensing, connectivity, data analyses and services. Security is very important. We are prioritizing security in devices, chips, the hub (TV at home and smartphone outside), and the cloud. We have our technology in sensing and have [memorandums of understanding] in place with companies that are great in sensors."

Yoon said he believed that IoT "was already here," and that consumers will feel the "unimaginable changes" within two to three years. Yoon also said there was a decision-making body within Samsung on IoT strategy, with members that include JK Shin, co-CEO and head of the mobile division of Samsung.

The co-CEO vowed that by 2015, Samsung will become No.1 in home appliances, and said achieving the goal was close at hand. "In 2014, we saw double-digit growth in home appliances. But I think what is more important than how much we grew financially is innovation. Innovation in home appliances has been slow and the damage goes to the consumers."

The smart-home products of CES 2015 (pictures)

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About 35 percent of the appliance lineup will be premium models, but Samsung will continue to focus on the mass market. "Some of our products go into the thousands of dollars. It's a not an unfair price, because we want to make products that make the consumers think they aren't expensive (compared to the quality). Of course, we can't just do premium. The mass market is big so it's logical to do business in that market. Without the mass market, we can't do premium," said Yoon, vowing to focus on both sectors.

The Samsung co-CEO talked up the smart home during his keynote speech on IoT, and unveiled his vision of it continuing on to smart cities, smart nations, and ultimately, a smart universe.

"When smart home is done, we go on to the [smart] city. We are already in the process of cooperating on a city-related project with a certain country," said Yoon.

"Once we enter the smart city phase, I think the world will become a safer place. People won't be able to have malicious thoughts and causes damage, and will become good."