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LG just bought Homey to bring big interoperability to its smart home portfolio

LG is likely trying to expand its smart home ecosystem to better tackle Samsung's SmartThings platform.

Published onJuly 3, 2024

  • LG is buying Athom, the Dutch company that makes Homey products.
  • It’s doing this to quickly expand its smart home ecosystem, similar to how Samsung did the same by buying SmartThings in 2014.
  • For now, though, it’s business as usual, with Homey branding and operations continuing as normal.

Dutch company Athom is the creator of the Homey product line. The Homey Pro, as explained in the video above, is the “one hub to rule them all,” with the ability to bring your entire smart home together under one platform, regardless of the brands or connection protocols of your various devices.

Today, LG announced (h/t The Verge) that it has purchased an 80% stake in Athom, giving it a large degree of control over the future of Homey. Over the next three years, LG will buy the remaining 20%, making Athom — and Homey — an LG brand.

For now, though, it’s business as usual for Athom and the Homey product line. Athom will continue to operate as an independent company under the leadership of co-founders Emile Nijssen and Stefan Witkamp.

What does this mean for people with Homey products? For now, it appears not much. However, LG has big plans to bring the Homey ethos to its smart home products. Theoretically, this could give LG’s ThinQ smart products a significant shot in the arm when it comes to interoperability. For example, if an LG TV came with all the smart features of a Homey Pro built-in, that TV could become the center of your entire smart home. That could help create very valuable brand loyalty to LG.

Really, this isn’t too different from the strategy we saw with Samsung in 2014 when it bought SmartThings. Doing so suddenly made Samsung a significant player in the then-upcoming smart home world. Now, SmartThings is a huge platform with wide interoperability across many products from many brands. It’s very likely LG hopes to do the same thing by acquiring Athom.

One concern Homey users might have about this deal, though, is privacy. The 2023 Homey Pro can run your entire smart home offline, and Athom does not earn revenue from ads or track your data. It’s possible this focus on user privacy could slowly erode as LG takes over. Given that Athom will still be operating independently for now, we hope that won’t happen, but it’s tricky to say how things could change once LG has a 100% stake.

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