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Samsung’s SmartThings wants to make it easier to control your smart home with the help of Sims.
At CES, the company is showing off a couple of changes to its app, including a map view with digital avatars that will react to your home’s conditions. Instead of organizing your devices by category or tab, the app can display a layout of your home with your gadgets placed properly throughout.
The SmartThings app will be like your own personal Sims game with you feeling the effects of your decisions. If you see a Sim shivering, for instance, you know it’s time to up the temperature on your smart thermostat.
SmartThings will provide a few different options to create a map of your actual home. If you have an online floor plan, you can do a simple import. You can also take a picture of a physical floor plan, or even draw one. If you have a newer Samsung robot vacuum, it can make the map for you. Once the outline is in place, you can drag and drop your devices where they go, along with furniture to provide additional landmarks.
A Samsung spokesperson tells PCMag that complexity continues to pose a significant barrier to widespread smart home adoption. While the added avatars are meant to add charm, the household layout should help you quickly find and control the devices you need, even if you have a complex setup.
QR Codes for Easier Device Sharing
SmartThings is also introducing a feature that lets you quickly generate a QR code to share your devices with friends, family, or guests. Called SmartThings Together, the QR code feature lets you quickly group device types for sharing temporarily or permanently. You can give your pet sitter access to your lights and thermostat for a week, or bring your significant other into your entire setup.
The recipient will need their own SmartThings app and account for the QR code to work properly, and it’s designed primarily for an in-person handoff, with your phone displaying the code and the recipient scanning for access. SmartThings promised a way to share the code remotely as well, but it might not be as seamless.
Overall, I can’t see how a QR code would be easier than a generated link that you could text or email, but a streamlined sharing process for a complicated setup still sounds like a good idea.
SmartThings is rolling out the new map view and QR code sharing features now.
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A New TV Quick Panel for Seamless Smart Home Control
Finally, SmartThings is streamlining the process of controlling your compatible gadgets from 2024-model Samsung TVs, which will have a Quick Panel offering easy access to a customizable list of favorite devices. The panel will allow you to check a camera or turn off a light with a couple of presses via your television without interrupting your show.
Certain Samsung TVs can already operate as a SmartThings hub and act as a Wi-Fi bridge for low-powered gadgets with a preinstalled SmartThings app. The Quick Panel will give you access to devices you like to check or maintain regularly, without needing the extra button presses to open the app.
Meanwhile, SmartThings is also adding WiZ Connected’s entire portfolio of smart lights to the platform, and using the new partnership to showcase their simplified certification process to potential partners.
Altogether, the SmartThings changes are aimed in the right direction—simplifying the smart home setup process. I’m eager to try out this new map functionality to see how easy it is to use in practice, so stay tuned for more.
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The post CES 2024: SmartThings Is Making It Easier to Control Your Home With Sims first appeared on www.pcmag.com