The purchase of SmartThings is a sign that Samsung understands why it's failing and has a plan to remake the market in a way that plays to its strengths - size and speed.
The Korean company is rarely seen as an innovator - even though in the original Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note it created the mini-tablet and large phone market, where everyone (including, ironically Apple) is now going. Instead its ability to fast follow the leader with competitive devices that have allowed it to take large slices of different markets.
The best iPhone competitor? The original Galaxy S. The best iPad competitor? The Galaxy Tab 10".
With the Internet of Things there hasn't been a leader to give Samsung a direction to focus its energies and as a result it has been churning out all kinds of appliances which don't meet the market. At all.
The real power of the IoT is how devices, automation services and notifications hang together to make life easier. Nobody wants a fridge that allows you to browse the web. A fridge that keeps track of what you put in and take out would be better. One that uses rules and intelligence to interact with an on-line shopping service and re-order items you deem to be essential? That's the holy grail.
SmartThings manages to fill the gaps that Samsung can't currently plug. It's open and compatible with much of what's on the market already today. It integrates with the powerful IFTTT service and it has a strong user community.
Using the strengths of SmartThings with the psuedo-intelligence of IFTTT plus Samsung's amazing capacity for delivering devices in volume and choice promises to be the tipping point for the IoT, especially with both Google and Apple already making plans in this area.