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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 in May launched Galaxy A6+ smartphone for Rs 25,990 with a 6-inch 18.5:9 display.
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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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Multi-camera Phones by Samsung May Spoil Diwali of Chinese Players

It is a good move from Samsung to tap into the camera territory

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Samsung multi-camera phones set to spoil Chinese players' Diwali. Flickr

In February, DJ Koh, President and CEO of IT and Mobile Communications Division, Samsung Electronics, changed his strategy for the Indian market once he saw Chinese players getting the upper hand on innovations in some smartphone components — and camera was one of those.

Geared up to alter the course of the mid-price segment market in India — a space that is currently flooded with Chinese variants — Koh on Thursday announced the Samsung “Galaxy A7” with three-rear camera system.

What is more, the next Samsung smartphone, the “Galaxy A9”, will bear a monster four-rear camera system.

The Galaxy A7 will be strategically priced below the Rs 30,000 price segment for India — a space currently dominated by the likes of Xiaomi.

The triple camera system in “Galaxy A7” has a 24MP AF lens, an 8MP “Ultra Wide” lens (F2.4) and a 5MP “Depth” lens. With the 24MP lens and Depth Lens, the Galaxy A7’s “Live Focus” feature lets users control the depth of field by allowing them to adjust the “bokeh” effect for better photos.

Samsung
Koh started working on the new game plan for India earlier in 2018.

“This is a good move by Samsung. Being a vertically-integrated company, it will look forward to leverage its strength in semi-conductor segment by bringing in new features to its consumer products, including smartphones,” Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research, told IANS.

“As Chinese players continue to be aggressive, Samsung needs to reduce the time within which it packs features in smartphones and bring those to the end users,” he suggested.

Koh started working on the new game plan for India earlier in 2018.

“Since February this year, I have changed my strategy for the Indian market as the competition got tough and terrain harsh. We dominated in some areas while struggle in some during the course.

“You will see devices coming from us in the mid-segment space with flagship features and functionalities that will delight our customers in India,” he said on the sidelines of Samsung’s premium Note 9 smartphone launch in Gurugram in August.

According to Jaipal Singh, Associate Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India, entering the smartphone camera war is a strategic move on Samsung’s part.

Samsung
DJ Koh, President and CEO of IT and Mobile Communications Division, Samsung Electronics. (IANS)

“This is important especially when camera is deciding a level-playing field for most of the players. Camera is now the focus for building Artificial Intelligence (AI) use cases and players are doing a lot around camera, like Huawei that brought P20 Pro with triple rear camera system this year and received rave reviews,” Singh told IANS.

On October 11, Samsung will launch their first four-rear camera system device A9 in the premium segment (above Rs 30,000).

Samsung dominated the premium smartphone segment in India in the first half of 2018 with almost half the market share, said a CyberMedia Research (CMR) report last week.

Samsung (48 per cent) was followed by Chinese smartphone player OnePlus, which grabbed the second spot with 25 per cent share, and Apple with 22 per cent share. One in two premium smartphones shipped in the first half of 2018 was a Samsung device.

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Koh has now doubled down on his efforts to dominate the smartphone camera war in India.

“Samsung has been doing well in the premium segment with respect to bringing innovative features in India. With a new triple camera smartphone, it has signalled that these features can be brought faster into the mid-price segment than the competitors,” Pathak noted.

“It is a good move from Samsung to tap into the camera territory,” added Singh. (IANS)