How Connected Living unifies digital parallel worlds

NEXT19 was all about 'Parallelwelten' (= parallel worlds). One of the most important technology trends of 2019, 'Connected Living' - also seems to be a sort of parallel world.

With the exception of a few small sensors and devices, connected living takes place in the digital world and thus remains largely invisible. For our industry, however, connecting our digital and material lives is becoming a crucial question. The focus is no longer on individual products, but on how well these products interact with each other. This is the metric by which we want to measure all the brands that want to play a role in our lives in the future.

We all know the saying ‘I can’t split in two’. And yet we do it all the time. Our life consists of parallel worlds which we have become accustomed to. But do we have to accept them? The networked home can unify these parallel worlds that force us to divide ourselves into two. At this point, I would like to discuss four parallel worlds that Connected Living will unify:

1. The parallel world of our digital life
2. The parallel world of the self-sufficient household
3. The parallel world of perceived uncertainty
4. The parallel world of complicated technology and fenced-in gardens

The parallel world of our digital life

My impression is that we still live in parallel digital and material worlds. We have a digital life and an analogue life, and we constantly switch back-and-forth between the two. Some people can do it quite well, others are tired of it – but, in general, we have gotten used to it. What I do digitally remains digital. It can have real-life consequences – but the interaction and the experience will almost always remain separate.

Connected Living helps to unify these parallel worlds. This fusion happens when the home becomes responsive. This does not mean you have to use your voice or a device that listens all the time. No, the material world suddenly becomes able to provide information, gives status updates and can do things remotely. The home suddenly takes place in the digital world and can organize the needs of families and communities in a way that provides us relief. According to a recent Bitkom study, 31 percent of people already live in a networked home. The number of smart products is also growing at a double-digit rate (+16%) – the range is becoming larger and more diverse. Thus, the networked home becomes a team player in everyday life.

The parallel world of the self-sufficient household

What is meant by a ‘self-sufficient household’? Here’s an example: it is no problem at all to connect Samsung washing machines via our Connected Living platform ‘SmartThings’ The washing machine will notify you when the laundry is ready. I can set it so that every device in my household gets this message – the TV, tablet, smartphones, the display on the fridge, the smart speaker in the living room. But what for?

There’s currently a debate in this country about the topic of ‘mental load’. Mental load has to do with whether the tasks are fairly distributed in the household. Even when people think they are, they are usually not. Housework is usually left to women, even if the man is convinced that he will take over half of the duties. The networked home can shine light on the things that would otherwise weigh down the mental load. Maybe the man or teenage son receives a message while watching Netflix on the TV and decides to hang up the laundry voluntarily, because his favourite trousers are among them and he wants to wear them on tomorrow. At its core, we can make family life more equal – and put an end to parallel worlds that burden living together. Connected Living focuses on the freedom of the user – they determine the benefits for themselves.

The parallel world of perceived insecurity

Another parallel world is that of perceived insecurity. Germans are particularly sensitive to the issue of safety. We all have examples from our everyday lives. Did I turn the oven off, is the front door locked, are the children home from school yet, does the cat have food? In Germany, there are two million families in which both parents work full-time. The networked home as a team player means the end of the unsupervised child. Parents are given new opportunities to look after their children from a distance: feedback when the child arrives at home, support in warming up food in the networked oven, looking together at who is at the door.

With Connected Living, we can satisfy existential security needs with simple means (the Maslow pyramid). This is less about real threats than about inner peace. The ‘feedback of things’ in the networked home creates peace of mind and the feeling of having things under control. The feeling of security is just as important as the actual security itself.

Connected Living doesn’t just provide security for parents with children. Older adults can benefit from it as well. Here, the networked home can reconnect generations, dissolving parallel worlds and creating proximity, care and security in everyday life that would otherwise not be possible. This brings me to the last parallel world: that of complicated technology and ‘walled gardens’.

The parallel world of complicated technology and walled gardens

The essence of ‘walled gardens’ is quite simple: people reject technology that is too complicated or too expensive. That’s why we have to tear down the parallel worlds of complicated technology and walled gardens that exist side-by-side. Because when objects communicate with each other, Connected Living is not a parallel world anymore, but a part of our reality.

Connected Living can only be created in all areas of life if we include all types of hardware – including that of other manufacturers – and do not set up parallel worlds. These various devices can be connected to each other with additional technology such as the SmartThings Hub. SmartThings is not a self-contained system, but works with many third-party devices such as Philips Hue and Osram. In short, Samsung has never been as ‘compatible’ as it is today.

Samsung always gets asked: What comes after the smartphone? Connected Living is definitely an answer we are already giving to this question.

From 16 to 21 September, Samsung presented the Connected Living House in front of the Rindermarkthalle at Neuer Kamp. As the Connected Living House is a Tiny House, this gave us the opportunity to show many scenarios and possibilities for connected living in a small space.