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LG acquires 80 percent stake in Athom smart home platform

This move allows LG to enhance the scalability required for implementing AI by integrating the LG ThinQ platform’s smart home tech with Athom’s open ecosystem and IoT device connectivity  

LG Electronics (LG) has acquired an 80 percent stake in Athom, a smart home platform company based in Enschede, Netherlands. The agreement includes plans to acquire the remaining 20 percent within the next three years. This strategic move aims to enhance LG’s connectivity within open smart home ecosystems. By integrating Athom’s capabilities with LG’s Affectionate Intelligence technology, LG aspires to lead the AI-driven home innovation era.

LG plans to integrate Athom’s extensive connectivity – which links thousands of appliances, sensors and lighting devices – with the generative AI-enabled LG ThinQ platform. This integration aims to create an AI home that delivers optimal space solutions by gaining a deeper understanding of the customer. In LG’s AI home, customers will engage with generative AI, which will manage appliances and IoT devices to create a personalised environment tailored to their preferences.

The acquisition of Athom will enable LG to incorporate third-party devices and services into its ecosystem. This integration will provide LG with deeper insights into customer usage patterns and expedite the delivery of personalised services.

LG envisions expanding the differentiated customer experience of AI homes to various spaces where customers spend their time, such as commercial spaces and mobility environments, ultimately realising and advancing the concept of ‘Intelligent Space.’

Athom is a technology company that sells the smart home hub ‘Homey,’ which connects with home appliances and IoT devices, and also offers cloud subscription services. Founded in 2014, ‘Homey’ has expanded primarily in Europe over the past decade, gaining a customer 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.

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 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, Matter and Thread.

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 create a smart home environment by downloading apps from the store and linking their devices.

Jung Ki-hyun, executive vice president and head of LG’s Platform Business Centre, said: “The acquisition of Athom is a cornerstone for our AI home business. 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.”

Even after the acquisition, Athom will continue to operate independently, maintaining its business operations and branding. This strategy is designed to maximize Athom’s growth potential and unique strengths while fostering synergies in business, research and development capabilities, and platform utilisation.

According to market research firm TechNavio, the global smart home market is projected to grow from $81.2bn in 2023 to $260.24bn by 2028, with an average annual growth rate of 26.23 percent.

William Cho, CEO of LG Electronics, concluded: “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.