InterviewsSamsung’s house of the future: a smart home in an interconnected world


“Our goal is to demonstrate the value of the product, and to study and analyze the market in order to offer an integrated solution.”
– Giovanni Locatelli

Innovative technology and interactive interfaces are the core of Samsung’s smart appliances. These are efficient, connected objects that will revolutionize our habits and create new opportunities through the internet of things, wifi connections and touch commands. Samsung Connect is a whole range of products rather than a single solution. And within this broader concept of a smart home, Samsung is offering its Family Hub line of refrigerators, equipped with a full HD touch screen. This opens up a series of reflections on the opportunities for an integrated, real-time offer. To talk about these things and find out about Samsung’s plans for the future, we met up with Giovanni Locatelli, Digital Innovation Content and Solution Manager, in the Samsung District headquarters.

Let’s talk about Samsung Connect and the world of smart objects…

If we’re analyzing the link between interconnectivity and innovation, we can’t ignore mobile, which is becoming more and more the center of the experience, and a central point in our lives. Today, you can do so many more things compared to two, three years ago. There are greater possibilities, more direct communication with devices, and sensors that can respond to more needs. Connected cars, connected roads… and at Samsung we have a whole range of products. A few years ago, you’d work on a single range, but now we’re thinking and developing in terms of interconnected solutions. From my smartphone I can control the oven in my home, if it’s hot I can remotely turn on my air conditioning, and I can start up my cleaning robot when I go out or while I’m at work. It’s all a series of actions that can respond to different needs.

If we’re talking about interconnection, we can’t skip over how Samsung devices relate to others.

A few years ago, we acquired Smart Things, a company that works on open solutions, and is able to connect multiple devices. Their cloud platform can interface with all devices, even third party ones, creating that concept of a smart house that everyone is talking about today.

Certainly for software but also for interfaces – how important is smart design for you?

User experience is fundamental for us, but we’re also aware that the user needs to understand the advantages of using the product and its interface. We have to create effective scenarios with our partners. Energy saving, entertainment and other solutions can represent a concrete ‘reason why’ for the user.

In this process of constant evolution, how important is collaboration between big companies like Samsung, and the world of startups?

Our primary focus is to bring out the best ideas, so it’s fundamental to interact with young, entrepreneurial people. To understand how their ideas can fit into our reality, and to try to give them value. But ideas are definitely not enough – it’s important to have numbers and a business model behind them.

Smart Home

Let’s talk about food and the internet of things. What are you doing in this sector?

Our project is called Family Hub, and one of its products is the first intelligent refrigerator. It originally came from Korea, and is now getting the necessary modifications for the Italian market. One noteworthy feature is the interface through a 21-inch touch display. It can be used to access web content, stream music, and use the services in the Smart Home app. Three integrated cameras inside the fridge let you see and share its contents. It’s an intelligent and interconnected fridge, but it can also have its own added value, particularly with integrated services. Several ideas have been proposed, such as a notepad, a shared calendar and things like that. And it’s clear that value can come from those very services that are integrated in the device. At the moment Samsung has teamed up with companies that provide online food shopping services (like Eataly and Supermercato24), and online recipes (All Recipes, Club des Chefs Samsung).

Putting this kind of device in the context of the Italian market, could it be interesting to connect it to the ‘Made in Italy’ movement?

The latest generation of software connected to three cameras lets you use your smartphone to check your stock and the expiration date of the food inside the fridge, even if you’re not home. Obviously knowing which products are in the fridge, and maybe their characteristics, could be a huge opportunity. We pay attention and are always listening to food startups, and their ideas for integrating technology in worthwhile ways. The world of specialty food is growing, as well as people’s interest in ingredients and where they come from, and this is definitely an interesting trend for us.

What are your goals for the future?

We really believe in the Family Hub project, which will gain even more prominence. Our goal is to demonstrate the value of the product, and to study and analyze the market in order to offer an integrated solution, and respond to the user’s needs. And not only that, but we especially want to offer an interconnected, super tech device that responds to the needs and demands of the Italian market.

Michela Di Nuzzo

« Se scrivo ciò che sento è perché così facendo abbasso la febbre di sentire». - Fernando Pessoa Giornalista e co-founder, vivo il digital come imprenditrice e appassionata. Percepisco il cambiamento come un'opportunitá mai una minaccia. Occhi spalancati e orecchie aperte, sempre pronta alla condivisione, la chiave di ogni evoluzione.

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