Samsung Electronics [005930:KS], a subsidiary of South Korean conglomerate Samsung Group, and Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) [015760:KS] signed an agreement on June 28 about a partnership to develop smart home energy solutions for customers, according to The Korea Herald on the same day. Samsung will use KEPCO’s utility data to upgrade its SmartThings Energy platform, which uses the internet of things (IoT) technology to connect with home appliances and manage their energy consumption. After the upgrade, SmartThings Energy will enable customers to directly access electricity use data of home appliances as well as electricity rate information through its app. For customers who had KEPCO’s advanced metering infrastructure system installed, the service will be available in the second half of this year.
The upgrade is part of a series of updates Samsung is carrying out on the SmartThings platform, in addition to a major revamp of the SmartThings app interface. Samsung initially acquired SmartThings in 2014 for USD200m. Since then, the platform has become one of the largest IoT ecosystems in the world. By the end of 2020, the platform accommodated 180 certified brands including Google Nest and Mercedes-Benz, and had more than 63m active users worldwide. In May 2019, Samsung introduced SmartThings Energy as a specialized service under the platform, which already has 6.6m monthly active users in Korea to date.
Both Samsung and KEPCO have accelerated their development in the field of energy technology and services in recent years, and this new partnership is not the first between the two. In April 2016, Samsung SDI [006400:KS], an affiliate of Samsung Group specializing in lithium-ion battery production, announced its partnership with KEPCO in the global implementation of energy storage system (ESS) projects. A year later, Samsung Electronics and KEPCO jointly launched a pilot project focusing on power peak management and smart home appliances. As a trial of the two companies’ vision on harnessing the power of IoT in energy services, the pilot only involved 100 households in Seoul. In comparison, the recent upgrade of SmartThings Energy will be available to a larger customer base and represent another step of progress on the implementation of energy IoT.