[SR Talks] ④ Interview with an IoT Expert at Samsung Research America

Q: Please briefly introduce yourself, Samsung Research America (SRA), and the kind of work that goes on there. What projects are you working on?

I am Mark Trayer, part of the Samsung Research America’s Standards and Mobility Innovation (SMI) Team. I lead a team within SMI that focuses on two key areas: Connectivity, and the IoT.

In the realm of the IoT we collaborate with other internal research teams, both within SRA (OSG, other standards groups in SMI), and more broadly (the Standards Research Team in SR); additionally, we collaborate with product teams (SmartThings, DPC etc) on contributions to the Matter standard being developed within the CSA (Connectivity Standards Association). With respect to connectivity, we focus on short range technologies such as UWB (Ultra Wideband) and applications thereof; with target organizations being FiRa, IEEE 802.15, and CCC (Car Connectivity Consortium).

Q: Please tell me about the importance of your research field or technology.

Both the connectivity arena and the work in the IoT have direct and meaningful impacts to our lives and the lives of Samsung's customers and the ecosystems and solutions that we provide them.

The IoT is all around us, with more and more connected and (in some cases!) smart devices in our homes and part of our everyday activities. However, it is also the subject of consumer confusion, at times warring competitors (and non-interoperable ecosystems), perceived to have security and privacy concerns, and to this point has lacked a holistic approach. This is changing with Matter and the work the SMI team, others in Samsung, and collaborating companies from across the industry are doing.

The key goals of Matter are to ensure that when you acquire a product that has the Matter Logo, you know that the product has a legitimate origin, and it complies with stringent testing and practices. Hence, it will be a secure addition to your home and will interoperate with whatever Smart Home platform you are already running (or platforms if you have more than one in your home).

The initial release of the Matter specification covers fundamental device types such as lights, switches, thermostats, and the ability for these devices to securely be part of all major residential ecosystems (at the same time). Matter itself is a full protocol specification, built on IPv6, which supports device discovery, provisioning, and control, all over secured interfaces.

Additionally, there is an open-source SDK that supports all of the functions necessary to certify a Matter device, and a certification program with an automated test harness and test cases. Future work will see additional device types, improvements in user experience, and enhancements to the residential infrastructure to provide better stability.

With respect to the Connectivity work, key applications include Digital Key initiatives for both vehicular access (CCC) as well as general Access Control Use Cases (ACWG within the CSA). We are also seeing the development of fundamental technologies that will enable improved localization and indoor sensing to make the ambient home a reality.

Q: Can you tell us about the main achievement and rewarding moment in your research, or the episode?

From a personal perspective, I have been involved with connected home technologies for over a decade, but have seen many good initiatives flounder for a number of different reasons. As such, seeing a critical mass of those engaged in various Smart Home initiatives over time come together, and work collaboratively in defining technology, a certification program, and the associated open source that forms the Matter 1.0 release has been particularly gratifying.

Q: What is your vision for the future, and what goal would you want to achieve?

Quite simply in the future, we can perceive a Smart Home that is actually "smart", or perhaps more accurately, "ambient". There is some great work within Samsung and SmartThings on providing automations, and tying together the user's experience in a holistic manner. However, and we're seeing examples of this already in commercial devices, we can envision an experience that learns and adapts and automates based on how the consumer is naturally interacting with it.

The home itself is a source of a rich set of meta-information from multiple sources, the connected devices themselves, sensed data from Wi-Fi, UWB, and other inputs. These can be combined together to provide a rich set of applications and solutions that extend beyond today's device control and notifications, into energy efficiency/zero-net homes, at home care, more intelligent security and presence services and so forth.

Samsung is well positioned to lead in this space, with teams already working collaboratively on both the fundamental technology enablers, as well as the application space that leverages such technologies.