July 14, 2024

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LG Acquires Majority Stake in Athom, Maker of ‘Homey’ Smart Home Hub

3 min read

LG says it has acquired a majority stake in Athom, a Dutch smart home platform company, in a deal that helps grow LG’s smart home ecosystems and enhances LG’s connectivity within open smart home ecosystems. 

LG plans to integrate Athom’s connectivity capabilities with its own Affectionate Intelligence technology and AI-enabled LG ThingQ smart home platform, pushing LG to become a major player in the AI-driven smart home landscape. Notably, this better positions LG in the smart home market alongside major competitor Samsung, which has been continually improving its own SmartThings smart home platform.

Athom is the maker and seller of the Homey smart home hub, which connects with home appliances and IoT devices. The hub also offers cloud subscription services. Homey is primarily in European markets, but devices are also available in Australia, Singapore and North America.

Running on a purpose-built operating system, Homey Pro is Athom’s flagship product that can connect to more than 50,000 devices and supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, Matter and Thread. LG is looking to leverage that versatile and open platform.

The Homey App Store, managed by Athom, offers around 1,000 applications for connecting and controlling home devices from leading smart home brands. Many applications are based on official partnerships, but the platform allows for apps to be developed by a community of developers who actively contribute to Athom’s open platform.  

Athom Acquisition Vital to LG’s Vision of AI Home

According to LG, the company hopes to create an AI home that delivers optimal space solutions by gaining a deeper understanding of the customer. In this envisioned AI-driven home, customers will interact with generative AI, which will manage appliances and smart home devices to create a personalized environment.

After the acquisition, Athom will continue to operate independently to maximize its growth potential and unique strengths while fostering synergies in business, research and development capabilities, as well as platform utilization.

LG says it wants to expand the customer experience of AI homes to various spaces where customers spend their time, including commercial spaces and mobility environments, “ultimately realizing and advancing the concept of ‘Intelligent Space,’” echoing its prior commitment to elevating its branding to become a “smart life solutions” company.

By integrating the LG ThinQ platform with Athom’s open ecosystem and connectivity, LG says it will enhance the scalability required for implementing AI homes at the highest standard. The integration will allow LG to incorporate third-party devices and services into its ecosystem, providing LG with deeper insights into customer usage patterns to deliver personalized services.

LG says it wants to establish “continuous relationships with customers through numerous devices connected to the AI home, ultimately transforming into a ‘Smart Life Solution Company’ that provides differentiated value.”

“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.”

LG says its acquisition and integration of Athom follows similar moves the company has made to become a smart home player, including expanding its TV business by launching its webOS tv platform in 2021. That coincided with LG acquiring Alphonso, a television media, machine learning and data company, that now operates as LG Ad Solutions, which is now a core component of the webOS content and service business.

“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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