Samsung will invest $1.2bn (£816m) in the US over the next four years to boost research, development and start-ups related to the growing Internet of Things (IoT) market, the company announced. Unveiling its four-year research and development (R&D) plan at the "Internet of Things: Transforming the Future" conference in Washington DC, the company said the investment in "human-centred" IoT applications will be split evenly between its own internal R&D work and related startups.

"At Samsung, putting people at the centre of everything we do is our highest value," Samsung vice chairman and CEO Oh-Hyun Kwon said in a statement. "The same must be true for IoT if we want to realize its full transformative power."

"Today, IoT is changing individual lives – helping people to age in their own homes. But tomorrow, using IoT, we can give the same independence to millions of Americans. We can keep people out of hospitals and nursing homes. As our populations live longer, these benefits and cost savings for society cannot be ignored."

Samsung is no stranger to the lucrative IoT market. In 2015, the company announced its Artik series, a new line of chips developed specifically for smaller, low-powered IoT devices. It said that every Samsung device sold would be IoT-enabled by 2020. In April, the company announced Artik Cloud, a cloud service designed to connect IoT devices.

Half of the investment will go directly to Samsung's two US research facilities in Silicon Valley to focus on and develop technologies that power IoT devices including products and chips. Samsung is currently the second largest chip-maker in the world.

The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that the global IoT market will be worth $1.7tn by 2020. According to a recent global survey by technology research firm Gartner, the number of organisations adopting IoT is expected to grow 50% in 2016 and reach 43% of enterprises by the end of the year.

Samsung has also announced a partnership with Intel to form the National IoT Strategy Dialogue, an initiative composed of industry members, organisations and academics, to discuss and develop recommendations for US policymakers on IoT-related issues and regulation.

According to Kwon, the announcement "is not about the first steps – that's because IoT is already happening all around us. It's time to imagine the transformative potential of IoT for our societies – and learn how to achieve its human, social benefits at scale".