Samsung pushes forward in mobility with Internet of Things

Samsung's mobile business continues to remain front of mind for the company, despite results earlier this year, which showed the business was dragging the company's overall financial results.

Earlier this year, Samsung Electronics' fourth quarter results showed that its mobile business continued to drag down the rest of the company's yearly profit down by nearly one third.

These results was after the company reported in the third quarter net profit tumbled by 49 percent, again impacted by company's mobile business, which at the time saw quarter-on-quarter sales revenue tumble 15 percent to 23.52 trillion won ($22.3 billion).

But according to Todd Lynton, Samsung Electronics Australia business solutions director, Samsung still believes that the company's mobility business is still core to its operations, and there are no plans of slowing down in the area.

"In Australia, we've been very successful with our mobility launches. Our most recent was the S6 and the S6 Edge; the demand here particularly for the S6 Edge has been very high, by enterprises as well," he said.

The company is also seeing success in the tablet space, said Lynton, particularly as the company looks at adding additional applications to make it increasingly applicable for enterprise usage. He said, for instance, Samsung recently designed a GPS system so that its tablets can be installed in golf carts.

"A central person can see the golf course and see where the carts are. You can even touch it and you can bring the drinks cart along. It can even show you where the hole is, if you can't find where to hit it to," he said.

Lynton highlighted recently winning the contract with the NSW Police Force to deploy 500 Samsung Galaxy Note 4 as proof of the local market's continued demand for Samsung's products. The police will be using it to perform background checks on vehicles and persons of interest.

In the case of further expanding its mobile business, Lynton said wearable technologies such as its Gear smartwatches and virtual reality headsets are growing categories. Recently, Samsung partnered with Qantas to trial its VR technology in selected lounges and flights to bring a 360-degree interactive format to inflight entertainment.

Lynton said the company's continued push of its mobility business falls under its broader strategy of focusing around the Internet of Things (IoT), activity-based working (ABW), and having its devices working on an open architecture.

Last August, the company sealed a deal to acquire smarthome automation startup, SmartThings, which Lynton said is slowly being integrated into Samsung's existing products. As a result, Samsung is seeing the uptake of its smarthome devices by building developers, who are using it as a competitive edge to outfit new homes.

"It's an emerging direction. I think in conversations that we're having with the building industry, some are very interested because they're looking for differentiation. Like we have seen in the past, if you're building a home...people might expect it to be wired with cat 5 or ask how many internet ports it has, so this is kind of the next stage.

"Some are on top of it and are building it right into new homes, while some are looking it as an add-on option, so buy this apartment for $500,000, and for $520,000 you get this added on package."

Other market areas, Lynton said there are potential for growth in the IoT space is education. He said as part of "schools of the future", teachers and students will be able to connect their tablets to go through homework together, and view it on an electronic large format display, such as a smartboard.

The focus on the Internet of Things aligns with Samsung's president and CEO Boo-Keun Yoon comments earlier this year when he said that IoT will "engage every facet of our daily lives, reducing the time, cost, and resources we would normally spend throughout a day."

From an ABW front, Samsung has developed several mobile solutions in anticipation that two-third of Australians organisations will have an activity-based strategy by 2020, according to Lynton. He said the company is already working with customers such as Westpac to deliver mobile devices that can be scaled up and down to suit an ABW environment.

"To some consumers [activity-based working] means an open plan office, but really beyond that it means you can do much more of your work wherever you need to, whether that's working from home or on the go, and still be able to draw on the full resources of what is at your enterprise or business," he said.

"So what's important for that is to be able to scale it. If you're really mobile you might just have the phone, if you want to dock that and turn that into a table, if you then want to expand that to a desktop, because you want type something very detailed, then you want a full keyboard."