One of our Supply Chain Matters 2014 Predictions for Global Supply Chains published in late 2013 (available for complimentary downloading within our Research Center) predicted that interest levels in the “Internet of Things” (IoT) would accelerate this year.  That prediction is proving to be valid one, considering the increased acquisition announcements coming from larger technology providers in a frenzied interest in acquiring key IoT technologies and related applications.

Product lifecycle management technology provider PTC has already made two strategic acquisitions in this area, while Amazon Amazon is taking “on-demand’ to a new dimension with its inaugural 3D printing marketplace. Other large technology vendors such as Google, Qualcomm and Cisco have strategic initiatives underway targeting the operating systems supporting IoT.

Samsung Electronics announced this week that it intends to acquire SmartThings, which the Wall Street Journal described as “a poster child for a movement to bring intelligence to all manner of everyday devices.” SmartThings is noted as a provider of smartphone controlled software that allows homeowners to control functions within their homes.  More importantly, this provider has been working on online services and specifications that assist developers in creating designs for web controlled devices.  Financial terms were not disclosed, and according to reporting by the WSJ, the acquired company will remain independent, allowing it to work with many device partners, rather than just Samsung. 

We will have to see in the future as to how independent SmartThings remains in its efforts.

As we have noted in a previous commentary, controlling consumer devices in a home is different than controlling industrial devices, in that the latter has strong requirements for information and data security. None the less, developments in both consumer and industrial applications benefit the whole of IoT.

Bob Ferrari