Samsung just perfected the way you access your smart home devices at CES 2024 — and Apple, Google, and Amazon needs to copy it

Samsung Smart Things Map View app
(Image credit: Samsung)

Of all the smart home announcements revealed during CES 2024, it's Samsung's new SmartThings Map View feature that has me most excited. This ingenious upgrade lets you create an interactive floor plan of your home. You can use it to place your smart home gadgets exactly where they are set up in your rooms so that you can easily monitor and control your devices with a single tap. 

SmartThings has served as Samsung's home automation platform for the last decade. Map View freshens up its list-based interface with an overhead 3D view of your room's floor plan. A quick glance at this visual lets you see the live status of all your devices or control them instantly with a tap. You simply drag and drop each connected gadget to the exact location where it sits in the room. For example, you can tap directly on a bulb to turn it on or off from your mobile app or smart home device. This streamlines your controls since you don't need to scroll through a list of devices to operate a specific one.

Amazon's Alexa Map View feature was released late last year and I've found it increasingly helpful over time. Samsung improves upon Amazon's version in two major ways. You can create a map of your home from multiple sources like online databases, physical scans of a floorplan, or even draw it in. And if you own Samsung's LiDAR-enabled JetBot robot vacuum or Ballie AI robot, these gadgets can automatically generate a floor plan. Amazon Map View solely works with LiDAR-equipped Apple devices which is limiting. On top of that, Samsung's Map View is accessible from other devices like your TV or even a smart fridge — not just a phone app which is Alexa's greatest shortcoming at this moment in time.

Samsung Smart TV

(Image credit: Samsung)

I'd touched on this pain point while using Amazon's Map View because the company's Echo lineup features some of the best smart displays you can buy. Fire TVs are also especially popular and would be the perfect place to see a layout of your home. Amazon Map View feels wasted since it can't be used on these two types of screens. Samsung recognizes the TV as a central command center and shows your home's status on it. This includes real-time monitoring of cameras, temperature, remaining laundry time, and other essential information. It also provides energy usage data so you can manage your energy consumption from a birds eye view.

Another exclusive feature is Samsung's new AI characters that you can create specifically for Map View. These characters mimic your home's family members and even pets to relay your home's current conditions in a more fun and intuitive way. For example, if your home is too warm, then your AI characters will appear to be sweating.

This update comes alongside SmartThings Together which lets you share smart home devices and automations with anyone using a QR code. You can restrict access, control privileges, and routines indefinitely or for a set amount of time. This is helpful if you have roommates, kids, or even just guests visiting for a week so that they can adjust room temperatures and lights without any hassle.

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Hunter Fenollol
Senior Editor, Smart Home

Hunter Fenollol is a Senior Editor for Tom’s Guide. He specializes in smart home gadgets and appliances. Prior to joining the team, Hunter reviewed computers, wearables, and mixed reality gear for publications that include CNN Underscored, Popular Mechanics, and Laptop Magazine. When he’s not testing out the latest cooking gadgets, you can likely find him playing a round of golf or out with friends feeding his paycheck to a QuickHit slot machine.

Hunter started his career as an intern at Tom’s Guide back in 2019 while in college. He graduated from Long Island University Post with a degree in Communications and minor in Advertising. He has been vlogging ever since the iPhone 4 took front-facing cameras mainstream.