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Samsung Infusing AI into its Virtual Assistant Bixby

Samsung Research Institute in India preparing Bixby for IoT home devices

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Samsung Smartphone, Pixabay
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As tech giants like Google, Amazon and Apple integrate their voice-enabled digital assistants into more devices, Samsung, led by its R&D Institute in India, is busy infusing Artificial Intelligence (AI) into its virtual assistant Bixby for a harmonised Internet of Things (IoT) experience at home.

After smartphones, Samsung aims to make all its home appliance products “smart” by 2020 — a year which, according to Gartner, will see nearly 20 billion connected devices.

Bixby is the next frontier in AI that will help users speak to their refrigerators, TVs, washing machines, dishwashers, ovens and what not.

“We are already doing 30-40 per cent of AI-based activities — training deep neural networks for vision, voice and text — at our place.

“Voice is the next enabler. Bixby is the voice interface and our whole intelligence journey into devices. We already have IoT devices other than smartphones that are Bixby-enabled,” Aloknath De, Chief Technical Officer, Samsung Research Institute (SRI)-Bangalore, told IANS.

Samsung
Samsung. Pixabay

Bixby is now available with customised voice capabilities in India that understand local accents and is helping consumers interact better with their smartphones.

A huge part of the Bixby development was done at SRI-Bangalore — the company’s largest Research and Developement facility outside South Korea. The company has two more R&D centres in Noida.

“Bixby-enabled smartphones are here and the technology will naturally metamorphose into other home devices. Bixby is the next ‘intelligent interface’ and we are right on the job,” De emphasised.

Samsung is busy creating an industry-leading ecosystem of IoT offerings that connect smart devices and simplify daily life. In 2017, Samsung spent more than $14 billion on R&D.

In its next-generation Smart 4K QLED TVs that were unveiled in March are coming to India soon, voice commands to ‘Bixby’ can help you find favourite movies or songs — along with controlling compatible IoT home devices like a robotic vacuum cleaner or cameras inside home.

Similarly, Bixby-enabled “Family Hub” refrigerators offer a wide range of smart features like syncing food storage with meal preparation, and keeping family members better connected and organised.

Also Read: Samsung Wants to be World’s No. 1 Camera Sensor Maker

The refrigerators are able to recognise individual voices of family members and give personalised information such as news, weather and calendar updates.

Samsung Smart TVs and “Family Hub” refrigerators are tuned to operate on a single connected Cloud platform — the “SmartThings Cloud” — serving as a smart dashboard to monitor and control connected devices.

Amid such big plans, the South Korean giant’s India R&D centre has become one of the leading venues for innovations.

There are over 8,000 people working in R&D and SRI-Bangalore takes pride in unveiling several India-first products like Bixby Voice, Samsung Pay, Social Camera and many more.

Samsung Research Institute in India preparing Bixby for IoT home devices
Samsung Research Institute in India preparing Bixby for IoT home devices. (Wikimedia commons)

“We have many firsts to our credit. Going forward, Bixby is maturing over time for Cloud adoption. Building functionalities for IoT-enabled devices are top on our mind,” De noted.

The South Korean tech giant is working towards combining its IoT Cloud platform with its entire line-up of products.

“We believe IoT should be as easy as flipping a switch. We’re making IoT easier and more seamless,” Hyunsuk (HS) Kim, President, Head of Samsung’s Consumer Electronics Division and Samsung Research, said recently.

Samsung is working with partners such as the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) to set common industry standards.

Also Read: Samsung’s New Galaxy ‘A’,’J’ Series in India Soon

OCF is the largest IoT standardisation body in the world and Samsung’s “ARTIK” chip, air conditioner and “Family Hub” refrigerator have already been certified by the association for interoperability criteria needed for IoT.

Samsung has introduced its first Internet of Things-enabled washer-dryer “FlexWash” in India and plans to commence mass production in the coming years.

“Integrating Bixby into more devices, and exploring ways to make more objects intelligent, will eventually allow more households to experience the benefits of a seamlessly-connected IoT ecosystem,” De emphasised. (IANS)

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Apple, Samsung Settle US Patent Dispute

Terms of the settlement, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, were not available

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In a verdict reached May, 24, 2018, a jury said Samsung must pay Apple $539 million in damages for illegally copying some of the features of the iPhone. The Samsung and Apple logos are seen in this illustration.
In a verdict reached May, 24, 2018, a jury said Samsung must pay Apple $539 million in damages for illegally copying some of the features of the iPhone. The Samsung and Apple logos are seen in this illustration. (VOA)

Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Wednesday settled a seven-year patent dispute over Apple’s allegations that Samsung violated its patents by “slavishly” copying the design of the iPhone.

Terms of the settlement, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, were not available.

In May, a U.S. jury awarded Apple $539 million, after Samsung had previously paid Apple $399 million to compensate for patent infringement. Samsung would need to make an additional payment to Apple of nearly $140 million if the verdict was upheld.

How much, if anything, Samsung must now pay Apple under Wednesday’s settlement could not immediately be learned. An Apple spokesman declined to comment on the terms of the settlement but said Apple “cares deeply about design” and that “this case has always been about more than money.” A Samsung spokeswoman declined to comment.

Apple
Representational image. Pixabay

Apple and Samsung are rivals for the title of world’s largest smartphone maker, and the dollar sums involved in the decision are unlikely to have an impact on either’s bottom line. But the case has had a lasting impact on U.S. patent law.

After a loss at trial, Samsung appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In December 2016, the court sided unanimously with Samsung’s argument that a patent violator does not have to hand over the entire profit it made from stolen designs if those designs covered only certain portions of a product but not the entire object.

But when the case went back to lower court for trial this year, the jury sided with Apple’s argument that, in this specific case, Samsung’s profits were attributable to the design elements that violated Apple’s patents.

Also Read: Samsung India Unveils ‘Galaxy On6’ on Flipkart

Michael Risch, a professor of patent law at Villanova University, said that because of the recent verdict the settlement likely called for Samsung to make an additional payment to Apple.

But he said there was no clear winner in the dispute, which involved hefty legal fees for both companies. While Apple scored a major public relations victory with an initial $1 billion verdict in 2012, Samsung also obtained rulings in its favor and avoided an injunction that would have blocked it from selling phones in the U.S. market, Risch said. (VOA)