1 Way Samsung Plans to Take Down Apple

As if the home automation space wasn't already about to take off with Apple 's launch of HomeKit next month, Samsung went and bought home automation company SmartThings last week.

The move places Samsung firmly in the connected home space, and pits it squarely against Apple's forthcoming platform.

Source: Apple.

The Apple approach

Apple unveiled HomeKit at its developer conference in June. While it's an open platform in that developers can build apps for it and third-party automation devices will connect to it, only iOS devices can be used to control the system.

Apple is betting users will want to use its iPad and iPhone to control connected home devices, which could provide incremental sales of its high-margin devices. When iOS 8 launches next month, users will be able to pair home devices such as smart thermostats and connected lights, then use Siri voice commands to control devices individually or in groups.

With HomeKit, Apple can control the home automation space , while also giving its mobile users yet another incentive to remain within the company's ecosystem.

What everyone's fighting for

Transparency Market Research estimates the home automation market could hit $16.4 billion by 2019, up from just $3.6 billion in 2012. A Markets and Markets report says home automation will actually be worth $51.77 billion by 2020. That's a huge range, and it shows that no one knows exactly how consumers will respond to this nascent market.

It's too early to announce a home automation winner, but I think it's hard to bet against Apple. The company already has millions of developers creating apps for iOS, hundreds of millions of devices in the hands of users, and a very loyal following. Add to all that the fact that companies such as SmartThings will still play nice with Apple's HomeKit, and it's clear Cupertino has more than a few advantages.

The sheer size of Apple's mobile footprint ensures that nearly every home automation platform will have to support iOS devices. Meanwhile, Apple's HomeKit will go on being iOS exclusive, possibly driving incremental device sales.

We'll know more once iOS 8 launches and as consumers start purchasing more smarthome products. But if things do start moving in that direction, you can be sure Apple will benefit whether its devices are connecting to HomeKit, the SmartThings platform, or some other system.

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Chris Neiger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days . We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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