Samsung has announced plans to boost its digital assistant, Bixby, into all aspects of its technology as it earmarks $22 billion to spend on artificial intelligence by 2020.
At the Las Vegas shindig CES 2019, Samsung said that Bixby will be extended to their smart fridges and washing machines, TVs and into cars. The South Korean giant, like many tech companies is banking on artificial intelligence as the next big thing and Bixby will be the means which Samsung links its products together and let consumers do more with their devices.
We have a bold vision to take a half a billion devices we sell every year and make them connected and intelligent. Bixby is scalable, open platform, and it will continue to grow as more partners join the ecosystem.- HS Kim: Co-CEO, Samsung
Samsung has had a bit of a mixed record with AI over the last decade. Bixby’s predecessor S Voice was scrapped just months after it was launched. Likewise its homegrown Tizen operating system, which was eventually relegated to wearables and other products while Samsung turned to Google’s Android to power its smartphones and tablets.
As well as spending $22 billion, Samsung has opened seven AI centres across the world and plans to employ 1,000 AI specialists by 2020.
But Bixby has some way to go to make an impact. For instance, just 4% of US adults accessing voice assistants on a smartphone use Bixby. This, in contrast to 44% who use Siri, 30% using Google Assistant and 17% for Alexa.
Nevertheless, there is a huge market potential for Bixby. According to the latest research, 70% of Americans have at least one Samsung device with more than a quarter having at least three devices.
Bixby debuted on the Galaxy S8 in 2017 and last year moved into smart TVs. Samsung were also mindful of the sensitive and controversial aspects when it came to AI.
As it works to advance AI technology, Samsung is committed to ensuring the algorithms it builds are inclusive, the protection of user information and privacy are top priorities, and it’s easy for consumers to understand what the company does with their data and how it is handled.- Company press release: Samsung
Samsung said they would be actively seeking partnerships for Bixby. With companies such as Uber and Ticketmaster already using the digital assistant. And Samsung has been in talks for some time now with Google so that Google Maps, Gmail, Google Play and YouTube will work with Bixby.
Image: Maurizio Pesce