The Power of Simplicity: Meet the Innovators Who Brought SmartThings Station to Life
The world is on the brink of a new era of smart living – however, a few barriers remain in the way of a truly integrated and seamless experience. As the number of smart home appliances continues to grow, there is a rising need for a smart home platform that seamlessly connects the IoT devices within our homes. At CES 2023 in January this year, Samsung Electronics unveiled the SmartThings Station, a revolutionary new smart home hub supporting Matter, the new open home IoT compatibility standard. This advancement enables a wider range of interoperability, allowing users to connect smart home products regardless of their manufacturer. This powerful new capability, combined with its ability to trigger smart home automations from its built-in Smart Button or even wireless charging, garnered the, SmartThings Station significant media attention for breaking down the entry barriers to IoT for users.
Since more than 100 days have passed since its release, Samsung Newsroom sat down with SmartThings Station developer Eugene Park and product planner Kiyoung Kwon to learn more about the behind-the-scenes of the smart home hub’s development.
What Does Smart Living Look Like?
Imagine arriving home after a long day only to find that your home is already working for you. As you step through the door, the curtains automatically close, and the lights in your bathroom turn on, helping you wash your hands immediately. After washing your hands, your favorite lounge music softly plays in the background. While you prepare your dinner, the air purifier turns on automatically. When you open the windows for ventilation, the air conditioner switches off automatically.
Is it possible for a home to take care of your entire daily routine?
This kind of home that anyone would’ve dreamed of is no longer a dream. With SmartThings Station, you can turn your home into a smart home that perfectly caters to your and your family’s routine. SmartThings Station not only connects Samsung products: it’s a smart home hub that adds support for the latest IoT compatibility standards, Matter and Thread, to SmartThings’ existing support of Wi-Fi and Zigbee devices, connecting and controlling various products simultaneously. “When developing SmartThings Station, we focused on enabling more users to enjoy connecting various devices and experience a smart home without experiencing barriers to entry,” said product planner Kiyoung Kwon.
“When we initially planned the SmartThings Station, our goal was to create a product that would take center stage in your home rather than becoming a hassle that ends up in a corner,” explained Kwon. According to Kwon, most hub products are typically set up out of the way and quickly forgotten about. “Our challenge was to design a product that not only served as a hub but also became a sought-after device for users,” he added. This goal remained a significant focus for his team throughout the product planning phase.
By adding the well-loved wireless charging feature as well as the Find My Mobile feature, Kwon increased product usability and encouraged users to incorporate the hub as a natural element in their day-to-day routine.
“Developers have put a lot of thought into how IoT barriers to entry can be eliminated. That’s how the Smart Button came to be,” said Eugene Park, who developed the technology for SmartThings Station. “All users need to do is simply touch the Smart Button to quickly activate the automated routines that are already set up.”
The SmartThings Station development team overcame this hurdle with a “Calm Onboarding” strategy. “We’ve removed the inconvenience and hassle that users may encounter by simplifying the onboarding process. Users can register the product on the cloud and control it with a mobile device, in less than three steps,” said Kwon. “On top of that, we’ve enabled users to activate the routines through three different touch methods – tap shortly, tap twice and tap for longer – so that they don’t have to open an app. Since users can activate various hub features while wireless charging, they can use the product for multiple purposes.”
What Are the Security Features of SmartThings Station?
According to Park, the security features of SmartThings Station show enhanced security in two aspects: the product key feature equipped in the product itself and the encryption feature for cloud communication data security. “When enabling a smart home, security is important in terms of access and communication data security. SmartThings Station comes with a unique product key. So, when users connect the product to the cloud, they have to go through identity verification to access it,” said Park. “This is where the more important part, the cloud communication data security, comes in. All data transferred between the cloud and Station is encrypted through the embedded Secure Element (eSE) to ensure data is secure and does not taken during communication.”
Many new home IoT products – whether big or small or from Samsung or a competitor – can be connected to SmartThings, thanks to the home IoT compatibility standard called Matter. This is because Samsung is a member company of the Matter Working Group within the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), an effort trying to unify the different communication languages IoT manufacturers use since 2019. After three years of work with more than 350 member companies, the Matter v1.0 standard was released.
Developing Matter began with this question: How can we enable users to install IoT devices regardless of their manufacturer? Against this backdrop, SmartThings Station became the catalyst for expanding the smart home ecosystem. “Current IoT users are very happy with the news that SmartThings Station supports Matter,” said Kwon. “To meet consumers’ needs and improve product usability, we’re considering selling hub products and IoT devices that support Matter as a bundle”
How Has the Market Responded to the Release of SmartThings Station?
The development team didn’t have high expectations for initial sales of SmartThings Station, since smart home products are not yet universally seen as essential home appliances. However, after more than 100 days since its release, feedback in the market has been extremely positive.
“Compared to the quantity of all hub units (V3 Hub, etc.) sold by Samsung until now, the quantity of SmartThings Station units sold is over four times higher,” said Kwon.
Recently, Kwon had the opportunity to introduce the product to IT influencers at a Galaxy S23 event. “The influencers are very interested in IoT devices, in particular. They expressed high interest in SmartThings Station and gave positive feedback,” he said. “Their reviews had a strong influence on consumers as well.”
SmartThings Station: Simplifying the World of Home IoT for All
The expansion of the smart home ecosystem is just getting started. The SmartThings Station development team is determined to remember where it started and consider the 100th day of the product release as a new starting point. “Utilizing SmartThings Station will enable more capabilities and convenience for users,” said Park and Kwon.
“I really appreciate the positive feedback our users shared with us, starting from the product release up until now,” said Kwon. “The release of SmartThings Station is just the starting point in making smart home ecosystems mainstream. Our next goal is to develop and present various IoT products that meet the Matter standard so that users can fully utilize their smart home hub.”
Many global companies, including Samsung, envision a world where users can enjoy a seamless home IoT experience. Stay tuned to Samsung US Newsroom to see what’s next for SmartThings Station and the development team spearheading technology exchange to make it easy for anyone to set up a smart home.