South Korean electronics giant Samsung confirmed plans this week to invest $1.2 billion in the U.S. over the next four years in research and development (R&D) efforts and in start-up ventures that aim to boost the Internet of Things (IoT). At a Washington, D.C. event on Tuesday, Samsung CEO and Vice Chairman Oh-Hyun Kwon outlined his company’s IoT plan, which will be administered jointly by Samsung’s Strategy and Innovation Center, Global Innovation Center and Samsung Research America. Consulting firm Gartner has forecasted that the number of IoT connected devices will reach 20.8 billion by 2020, and research firm IDC estimates the value of the global IoT market will surpass $1.7 trillion during the same year.

Although Samsung continues to rank as the world’s leading manufacturer of smart phones, Tuesday’s announcement provides further evidence of a shift in the company’s strategy toward IoT software and applications of the future. In April, Samsung launched ARTIK Cloud, a back-end service to handle IoT device data, and the company announced last week that it had acquired Joyent, a San Francisco-based provider of cloud infrastructure services. Kwon also informed his audience in Washington of the launch of the National IoT Strategy Dialogue, an initiative spearheaded by Samsung and Intel that acts as a forum for industry stakeholders and federal policy experts on the development of a national IoT strategy.

The $1.2 billion investment will be divided equally among Samsung’s R&D facilities in Silicon Valley and the funding of IoT-dedicated start-ups in the U.S. Declaring that IoT “is changing individual lives” and that IoT “means bringing the  physical and digital world together to improve the quality of life,” Kwon proclaimed: “I am excited to show how we are moving IoT to the center of our strategy.”