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Samsung to form new IoT unit mobilizing mobile app developers

Samsung Electronics seems to be on track to reinforce its goal of realizing the “intelligence of things” -- instead of the internet of things -- by conducting a major organizational reshuffle between the company’s mobile device and home appliance divisions, according to the industry on Wednesday.

Some of approximately 1,000 software engineers -- about a third of the total workforce -- who had devoted their capabilities to developing various applications for smartphones within the IT and mobile communications division were told Tuesday they would be reassigned to a software development group under the consumer electronics division starting officially from April 16. 

Samsung officials announce the company's vision for smart home at Consumer Electronics Show 2019 in January. (Samsung Electronics)
Samsung officials announce the company's vision for smart home at Consumer Electronics Show 2019 in January. (Samsung Electronics)

The mobile software engineers were promised they would receive the same annual salaries and incentives for at least two years after moving to the consumer electronics division, which offers smaller incentives based on its profits.

“The upcoming relocation of the workforce could be part of the company’s plan for the IoT business,” said a company insider. “The current software development group under the CE division is expected to turn into a bigger IoT group.”

There have been rumors about incorporating the smartphone and home appliance divisions in the long run as the real IoT era begins with the commercialization of the fifth-generation telecommunications network. It is the first major change in the two organizations amid such rumors. 

Samsung CEO Kim Hyun-suk (Samsung Electronics)
Samsung CEO Kim Hyun-suk (Samsung Electronics)

Samsung Consumer Electronics CEO Kim Hyun-suk told The Korea Herald, “Such incorporation may not take place in the near future considering the production lines, but in terms of the IoT future, such a scenario sounds not absurd at all.”

To strengthen its voice-assistant artificial intelligence platform Bixby and make it feasible in the broader IoT market, Samsung has envisioned that the software workforces for both mobile devices and home appliances work together for seamless connectivity via the company’s set products.

Samsung has announced its goal of connecting all of its electronics products with the Bixby platform by 2020. It is planning to launch the Galaxy Home speaker to serve as the hub device for Samsung appliances at home this year, though an exact launch date has not yet been fixed.

“Regarding the workforce relocation, the company cannot confirm anything yet,” said a senior public relations official at Samsung, adding that some minor-scale relocations of the workforce can take place frequently in accordance with circumstances of individual business units.

By Song Su-hyun (