SmartThings Edge lets smart homes work without an Internet connection

Smart home devices and appliances can do a lot of impressive things, especially when they work together with a single command or automated scenario. Almost all of these smart home products and platforms, however, have an intrinsic and almost non-negotiable dependence on the cloud and, therefore, an Internet connection. Following trends in the IoT industry, Samsung is also evolving its SmartThings platform with a new SmartThings Edge framework that, in a nutshell, will allow such smart devices to work faster, more securely, and more reliably by taking the Internet out of the equation.

The past years have seen an almost obsessive move towards the "cloud," the more buzzword-friendly term for computing resources and processes pushed to more powerful but remote computers. Recently, however, there has been a new movement that takes back some of that control and responsibility to local devices or hubs, what is now being called "Edge Computing," which is where SmartThings Edge gets its name.

Technically speaking, SmartThings Edge is a new architecture and development framework for developers of smart home products to take advantage of this new edge computing movement. Rather than go through the roundabout process of sending commands to the cloud only for actions to happen locally, all of the action happens on the SmartThings Hub. This would result in faster processing of commands for devices that sit on a local home network.

This means, in practice, that smart homes can function even when there's no Internet connection available, as all the information and processing are available locally. Developers can create Automations that work on local networks only or connect via local wireless communication protocols. At launch, SmartThings Edge will support Zigbee, Z-Wave, and LAN-based integrations, but support for Matter, previously known as Project CHIP, is on the roadmap.

This won't happen by magic, of course, and developers will have to utilize the new SmartThings Edge API to write device drivers that will make it happen. Although it does involve more work just to support it, this could be the edge that Samsung's smart home platform needs, pun totally intended.