There was a time, not so long ago, that the idea of a small device as the absolute center of all your communications was a fantasy. These days, most of us cannot remember what life was like before smartphones.  When it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT), most people still see the idea of a seamlessly connected “smart” home as something well into the future; something we see in movies but beyond our reach, despite compelling industry statistics (according to the technology experts at Gartner, in a little more than two years, there will be 20.4 billion connected devices in the world).

The vision of IoT is a compelling one: With a simple command or touch of a button, you can control the lightbulbs in your living room, lock your back door and set the alarm for the garage door. And while developers and manufacturers all around the world are working hard to create their own smart IoT devices and solutions, few are compatible with each other. What this means for consumers who are keen to make their homes “smart” is a lot of work: how many different apps and what level of tech expertise will they need in order to have their devices work in sync? There are also concerns around privacy and security – surely all this technology means more risk of exposure. While there’s great appeal in the fantasy of the “smart” home, the barrier is all the work it will take to make this a reality.

Samsung believes in a future where our digital world is as ubiquitous and essential as electricity, with security so effective you almost won’t have to think about it. It will just work, on demand and just the way you want it; no need to interact with many different apps to achieve results. With our unified approach, we will deliver a truly integrated experience that touches every single “thing” around our customers.

For over 40 years, the user experience is what has driven Samsung to develop technologies that – to put it simply – make people’s lives easier. While the features and products are important, the inspiration behind our IoT offering is the same: the tangible benefits for consumers. With Samsung Connect bringing together our appliances, TVs and other everyday items (such as lightbulbs and locks) to one touch control on your smartphone, ARTIK as our secure IoT platform, and of course, with SmartThings’ open and easy integration solution , we are closer than ever in transforming the “smart” home fantasy into a reality. What’s more, with the introduction of new cellular network infrastructure that can better support IoT, we are looking to expand the IoT experience beyond the boundaries of the smart home. Most importantly, we are removing the barriers and bringing them all together in one, integrated IoT experience.

Today at the Samsung Developer Conference (SDC 2017), we are proud to announce SmartThings Cloud, which will unite all of our IoT clouds into a single powerful platform. Through this new platform and vision for more powerful intelligence through Bixby 2.0, also announced today at SDC 2017, we are working to democratize IoT with intelligence that is easy to use and accessible for everyone.

The newly united SmartThings will be an open ecosystem, ready to work with not only Samsung devices, but a wide range of connected devices. From early next year, consumers will have the freedom to choose from the world’s broadest range of IoT devices and control them using just a single app. Whether it’s price or design or functionality driving their purchase decision, consumers can now select devices that suit their budget and lifestyle with no constraints.  This spirit of simplicity is also relevant to developers, as they need to code for just one single API to give their products and services instant compatibility across over 1 billion devices. Additionally, it’s a cloud that is designed for intelligence. The end result is a seamless experience that will enhance the lives of our consumers in a way they’ve only dreamed of.

As part of the world’s largest open ecosystem of IoT devices, with products that ‘Works with SmartThings’ or even ‘Works as SmartThings Hub,’ our partners are integral in delivering this ultimate seamless experience to consumers. Many are already harnessing the power and simplicity of the SmartThings Cloud to bring next-generation solutions to their customers. We want to help them drive change through scale and have a unique opportunity to grow their IoT business.

With the new and – most importantly – open SmartThings Cloud, Samsung is connecting the fabric of the IoT experience and leading the democratization of the Internet of Things. Imagine turning on your favorite playlist, adding a few items to your shopping list and dimming the living room lights with simple voice commands, all in quick succession. Imagine devices from different manufacturers and service providers no longer jostling for supremacy – they all just simply work together. This is what meaningful changes in technology ultimately delivers: A better, more enhanced experience that exceeds consumers’ expectations and simply delivers more. For more information on SmartThings Cloud, please visit our SmartThings Developer Website