Samsung to buy artificial intelligence startup Viv

samsung galaxy note 7 viv voice assistant artificial intelligence

This is big. In light of Google Assistant’s move to its new home, Apple’s Siri finding refuge on the iPhone 7 and Microsoft’s Cortana slowly breaking its PC chains, Samsung is also in the market for an intelligent voice assistant. And it seems that it has found the perfect candidate. The company has announced that it has acquired artificial intelligence platform and startup Viv, a company that has Siri’s co-creator — Dag Kittlaus — at the helm.

“Viv has developed a unique, open artificial intelligence (AI) platform that gives third-party developers the power to use and build conversational assistants and integrate a natural language-based interface into renowned applications and services,” Samsung explains in a press release.

While the Korean tech giant is currently spewing flame retardant on the battery issues of its Samsung Galaxy Note 7, its clear that AI is to become a firm part of the company’s future ambitions.

“The deal showcases Samsung’s commitment to virtual personal assistants and is part of the company’s broader vision to deliver an AI-based open ecosystem across all of its devices and services,” Samsung elaborates.

Viv will give Samsung the artificial intelligence savvy it needs to compete with Google, Apple and Microsoft in the voice assistant/closed ecosystem space

The company notes that with Viv’s expertise, it will be “able to unlock and offer new service experiences for its customers, including one that simplifies user interfaces, understands the context of the user and offers the user the most appropriate and convenient suggestions and recommendations”.

That points at Samsung’s own voice assistant to rival the likes of Assistant, Siri and Cortana.

“Viv was built with both consumers and developers in mind. This dual focus is also what attracted us to Viv as an ideal candidate to integrate with Samsung home appliances, wearables and more, as the paradigm of how we interact with technology shifts to intelligent interfaces and voice control,” explains Samsung’s CTO of mobile business, Injong Rhee.

It’s clear that Samsung is planning to fish in the same ecosystem pool as Google and Apple. Both companies now offer connected devices built by them that run their own software. That also allows the likes of Apple to advance their software and hardware simultaneously, creating a more seamless experience across all devices.

While Samsung doesn’t have much experience in the AI space — let’s not forget how awful S-Voice was — Viv will undoubtedly give the company some much needed direction as it plans to take on the tech elite.

The deal is subject to “customary closing conditions”.

Feature image: Samsung Newsroom via Flickr

Andy Walker, former editor


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