Samsung acquires AI startup to enhance virtual assistant experience

Seoul, Oct 7 (IANS) With the aim to bolster its virtual personal assistants to deliver an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based ecosystem across its devices and services, Samsung Electronics has acquired Viv Labs, an AI start-up.

Viv was founded by Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham who were part of the original virtual assistant Siri team that Apple bought in 2010.

Viv has developed a unique, open 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 said in a statement on friday.

“Unlike other existing AI-based services, Viv has a sophisticated natural language understanding, machine learning capabilities and strategic partnerships that will enrich a broader service ecosystem,” said Injong Rhee, Chief Technical Officer of the Mobile Communications business at Samsung Electronics.

“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,” Rhee added.

With Viv, Samsung 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.

As part of the acquisition, the Viv founding team will work closely with Samsung’s Mobile Communications business but continue to operate independently under its existing leadership.

With the rise of AI, consumers now desire an interaction with technology that is conversational, personalised and contextual.

To achieve this, Viv has developed a new and proprietary platform that allows this interaction to scale.

“At Viv, we’re building the simplest way for anyone to talk to devices and services everywhere. Samsung offers us a unique opportunity to deliver a single conversational interface to the world’s apps and services across a diverse range of products, at global scale,” said Viv co-founder and CEO Kittlaus.

The financial details were yet to be disclosed.



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