LG and Samsung will let you control home appliances from each other’s apps

 (LG Electronics)
(LG Electronics)

LG and Samsung have announced you will be able to control rival brands’ smart gadgets through their own apps.

This comes courtesy of the Home Connectivity Alliance (HCA), which was founded in 2021 and had its initial spec announced back in January 2023 at the CES tech show.

What does this mean? You will, at some point, be able to control certain LG devices through Samsung’s SmartThings platform. Or Samsung gadgets through LG’s ThinQ app.

What devices? No exact models have been announced yet, but the categories on the list have been.

They include “long-life appliances, HVAC systems and TVs,” according to the HCA. So that means TVs, major home appliances with smart features, while “HVAC” stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

The announcement does suggest partners, which include LG, Samsung and Vestel, will begin implementing this cross-manufacturer approach in “Q4 2023 and continue into 2024”.

There is hope this will apply to some existing products, because of the way HCA works.

What is the Home Connectivity Alliance (HCA)?

It is a connection between platforms, like LG ThinQ and Samsung SmartThings, rather than specific devices.

That approach has been attempted before too, with a standard called Matter. That open source connectivity standard emerged in 2019, but hasn’t had much of an impact on interoperability headaches between products.

It is clear from their statements that the lead partners here, LG and Samsung, still approach this from the idea of more people using their platform, rather than HCA allowing them to use a rival’s.

“By enabling our consumers to control multiple brands of appliances and HVAC products through SmartThings, we expect the smart home market to achieve new levels of scale,” says Samsung.

“LG ThinQ enables a seamlessly interconnected home appliance ecosystem that will provide new smart home experiences to customers around the globe,” says LG.

15 brands are currently signed up to the HCA initiative. Those with a significant footprint in the UK, aside from those mentioned already, include AEG, Beko, Electrolux, Haier and Grundig.

The UK is among eight territories set to get HCA functionality first. Others include other key markets such as the US, France and Germany.

Further plans are set to be outlined in HCA Specification 2.0, due in 2024. According to Samsung’s statement, new features will include the management of electric vehicle chargers.

Could HCA be an end to smart home device headaches? Perhaps, although it seems intuitive that it may not cover manufacturer-exclusive features that would not fit neatly into an open control standard.