Viv AI platform likely commercialized in 2017: Samsung CTO

Samsung will integrate its own technology with Viv's AI platform to realize 'conversational interfaces' in its devices, likely applied by the second half of 2017.
Written by Cho Mu-Hyun, Contributing Writer

Samsung Electronics will likely start applying Viv's AI technology to its own products and services by the second half of 2017, the company's CTO has said, following Samsung's acquisition of the platform.

"The big direction in the industry is using interfaces that utilize AI," said Injoing Rhee, CTO of Samsung's mobile business. "And maturity of AI technology has improved dramatically over the years."

Viv was rumored to have been approached by Facebook and Google prior to Samsung's announcement. The South Korean tech giant was in talks with the AI platform developer for two years, according to Rhee, and the US firm found Samsung to be the best partner.

The South Korean tech giant is the world's largest electronics maker based on revenue, as well as the leader in smartphones and TVs, and controls a significant stake in home appliances.

"Virtual assistant had focused on executing single functionality, but is evolving towards becoming a conversational interface," said Rhee. "Viv has the best technology that can contextualize natural language."

Viv's technology, which is an open platform that allows third-party developers to pitch in, is also the best to make services that can integrate different domains. For example, right now virtual assistants can only help in one domain -- whether it's weather, traffic, or airline reservations -- at a time, but Viv's platform increases applicability.

"There is an interface revolution on the way from smartphones, TV, and the home," he added. "Viv's platform can be easily applied on these exiting ecosystems."

The company has serviced its own voice assistant, S Voice app, for its smartphones. Rhee said Samsung could launch a completely new brand that uses Viv's technology.

Samsung usually displays new technology on its flagship phone, having recently applied iris-scanning technology to phones for the first time, on the Galaxy Note 7. Rhee declined to comment on whether the next Note will new get Viv-powered services.

In June, Samsung acquired cloud vendor Joyent. The acquisition provided the South Korean tech giant with the "infrastructure" to deploy and expand services and it will add more going forward, as the Viv acquisition shows, said the CTO.

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