LG buys Dutch smart home hub pioneer

LG buys Dutch smart home hub pioneer

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

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LG Electronics (LG) has acquired an 80 percent stake in Dutch smart home pioneer Athom to boost its AI and connectivity.

The deal for an undisclosed sum includes plans for LG to acquire the remaining 20 percent of Athom, based in Enschede, within the next three years.

The deal is described as strategic to integrating Athom’s connectivity, which includes over 50,000 smart home devices, with LG’s ‘Affectionate Intelligence’ ThinQ technology. THe move is part of a plan to significantly enhance the scalability required for implementing AI homes,

Athom has developed its own hub and OS to create an independent smart home ecosystem. Its flagship product, Homey Pro, can connect to more than 50,000 devices and supports various connection methods, including WiFi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, Matter and Thread. The integration aims to create an AI home that has a deeper understanding of users through generative AI to manage appliances and IoT devices. This is particularly noteworthy, as it will enable LG to incorporate third-party devices and services into its ecosystem.

First developed in 2014, Homey has expanded primarily in Europe over the past decade with a base of hundreds of thousands of users. As of 2023, Homey devices are available in Australia, Singapore, the US and Canada, in addition to Europe.

The Homey App Store, managed by Athom, offers around 1,000 applications for connecting and controlling home devices from brands such as Philips Hue and IKEA. Many of these applications are based on official partnerships, alongside a large number of apps developed by the Homey community.

This community of developers actively contributes to Athom’s open platform, continuously expanding the range of brands and devices that can be connected to the hub. Users can easily create a smart home environment by downloading apps from the store and linking their devices.
“The acquisition of Athom is a cornerstone for our AI home business,” said Jung Ki-hyun, executive vice president and head of LG’s Platform Business Center. “By leveraging the synergy between the two companies, we will expand our open ecosystem and external integration services, aiming to provide customers with more diverse and multidimensional space experiences.”

Athom will continue to operate independently after the deal, maintaining its business operations and branding to maximize its growth potential.

In 2021, LG expanded its TV business from hardware to software by entering the TV platform market with its webOS platform. To support this shift, LG acquired Alphonso, a US-based global technology company specializing in television media, machine learning and big-data analytics. Alphonso now operates as LG Ad Solutions, a core component of the webOS content and service business.
According to market research firm TechNavio, the global smart home market is projected to grow from USD 81.2 billion in 2023 to USD 260.24 billion by 2028, with an average annual growth rate of 26.23 percent.
“LG is evolving into an intelligent space solutions company that connects and expands experiences in various living spaces. We will continue to make strategic investments to shift our business paradigm, as evidenced by our successive entries into platform-based appliance services and solutions such as the webOS advertising platform and AI home,” said William Cho, CEO of LG Electronics.;


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