SKT shows smart home platform

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SKT shows smart home platform

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SK Telecom launched its smart home service, which allows users to remotely manage home applications, on Wednesday. Provided by the company

SK Telecom, the country’s largest carrier, is taking aim at the fast-growing smart home market with its home automation and monitoring platform launched Wednesday.

Connecting home devices like boilers, door locks and air conditioners, SKT’s smart home platform will allow customers to remotely control home security and automate tasks such as locking doors and adjusting humidity levels through a smartphone or tablet.

The company said that it will gradually add to the number of products compatible with the service by cooperating with electronics companies. There are currently four products available, including the boiler and door locks, but SKT plans to add more than 10 more within the year.

The move is part of the carrier’s efforts to secure a fresh revenue stream apart from wireless telecommunications services.

The carrier said that the smart home system gives users different customization options while managing diverse electronic devices in a single app.

It offers four differing modes - waking up, leaving home, returning home and going to bed. Customers can set the temperature on the boiler or manage the lights in the four categories. The app also enables users to create their own modes.

In addition to the automation feature, the service will provide users with information about patterns in their energy usage, letting them compare with other households.

The company expects such features to help people save more energy.

In the initial phase, SK Telecom will focus on providing the service at affordable prices to foster mass adoption of the smart home system.

“It’s important to note that the smart home market is still emerging,” said Cho Young-hoon, senior vice president and head of the company’s smart home task force.

“So, we are less interested in increasing our market share but more concerned with growing the entire market,” he continued, “We plan to provide our system almost for free, bundled with products made by our partners.”

The telecom company is working with more than 25 companies, including dehumidifier manufacturer Winix and boiler maker KyungDong Navien, to integrate their products into the platform. Other partners include Ace Bed, GE Lighting, Kumho Electric, iRevo, MCT, Rinnai and Yujin Robot.

The smart home market is considered an emerging business field. Strategy Analytics predicted that 26 percent of households with a broadband connection and 12 percent of households worldwide are expected to have at least one home appliance connected to the Internet by 2019.

The company anticipates the United States will lead the market, with the country’s households already accounting for almost 40 percent of the global total as of 2014. However, the consulting firm cited other regions, specifically Western Europe and China, it believed would catch up soon.

While global tech powerhouses such as Google also took interest in the industry, SKT vowed to differentiate itself by providing more sophisticated functions.

“Smart home will go beyond simply connecting products, becoming a truly intelligent service that provides features customized to each user’s situation and needs,” Cho said.


BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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