Sunday, November 6, 2016

Samsung digital assistant - Viv

Acquired for undisclosed amount.

Like Google Assistant, Viv is designed to answer natural language queries by integrating with a variety of web services. But where Google already has a range of in-house services -- Maps, Gmail, search -- from which to gather context, Viv aims to build an open ecosystem. Many of the useful functions will be delivered by third party developers, a model similar to the one is pursuing for its Echo devices.
Initially, the Viv team planned to sell the service to consumer electronics manufacturers and app developers as a way to give AI capabilities to the Internet of Things.
CEO Kittlaus told TechCrunch back in May that the company's goal was "ubiquity."
Samsung's agreeing to buy the company, though, is going to limit the number of vendors likely to be distributing Viv. Being in every room in the home is still a possibility, though, as in addition to smartphones Samsung also makes TVs, refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners, microwave ovens and robot vacuum cleaners.
Announcing the deal on Thursday, Samsung said it is committed to virtual personal assistants as part of the company's broader vision to deliver an AI-based open ecosystem across all of its devices and services.

That continuity is good news for developers who had invested in integrating their services with Viv, but finding themselves now tied to Samsung may not be so welcome.
Samsung already has a personal assistant on its smartphones: S Voice. Early versions of this used the Vlingo speech-to-text engine, while more recent ones rely on a speech-to-text service provided by Nuance Communications, the same one used by Viv and which also powered Siri. It hasn't said whether it will replace S Voice with Viv on future phones, or integrate Viv's capabilities into future versions of S Voice.

Samsung plans to launch an artificial intelligence digital assistant with its upcoming Galaxy S8, the company said Sunday according to Reuters.
The announcement comes a month after Samsung revealed it had agreed to acquire the artificial intelligence startup behind Viv -- a voice assistant that aims to handle everyday tasks for you all on its own. Samsung plans to incorporate the platform into its line of Galaxy phones, as well as home appliances and wearable devices, Reutersreported.
Artificial intelligence, a term used for the ability of a machine, computer or system to exhibit humanlike intelligence, is widely expected to represent the next frontier of computing. With that in mind, AI-powered voice assistants have suddenly become all the rage, offering a hands-free and more natural way to ask questions, find information and manage busy lives.
Samsung is hoping the digital assistant will help it rebound from the public relations and business nightmare created by the recalls and cancellation of the overheating Galaxy Note 7. Last month, Samsung's mobile division, the division responsible for the Note 7, reported a decline in operating profit of about 96 percent -- its lowest in nearly eight years.
Samsung did not immediately respond to a request for comment.