Samsung looking to AI to reboot its devices reputation

Samsung has announced plans to incorporate an artificial intelligence personal assistant into its next major release as it attempts to rebuild its position in the market following a tough few weeks.

Paranoid sceptics might conclude following a failed attempt at blowing up customers, the execs at the smartphone manufacturer will be using subliminal messaging to take over the world. While it would be considered a long-shot, would not be taking its journalistic responsibilities seriously if it didn’t shed light on the situation. Samsung execs have not detailed the types of services which would be offered through the platform, it didn’t specifically rule out mind-control either…

“It will be significantly differentiated from the current services we see in the market now,” said EVP Rhee In-jong according to Reuters. Technology manufacturers are increasingly turning to AI and similar technologies as a means to engage with the customers lifestyle. Personalization is king in the digitally defined era, and AI is proving to be a popular route to engage customers, while also offering an opportunity to build in additional value-add and revenue services in the future.

Samsung has not said how it’s own AI-assistant will differ from those already on the market (Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s new proposition) though it will be have quite a bit of ground to make up on the competition.

Last month the company announced the acquisition of Viv Labs taking it into the hotly contested world of artificial intelligence. Although almost every organization is trying to get in on the act, the Viv acquisition may prove to be a shrewd move from Samsung, as the founders are the same individuals who created Siri, arguably the leading AI personal assistant, and then sold it to Apple in 2011. Although out in front at the moment, Apple has done little with Siri allowing the chasing pack to catch up.

The next couple of months will prove to be an important time for the Samsung team as it attempts to dust the ash off its battered reputation. The launch of the Galaxy S8 will go some way in reviving momentum in the smartphone segment, which has been rocked by exploding S7’s and a $5.4 billion dent in profits to rectify the whole saga.

As the team will be looking for the wow factor in the build up to the launch of the S8, artificial intelligence features could be an area which could attract interest. While it is a considerable distance from mass market, the AI arena has becoming increasingly normalized over the last 6-12 months, with more features factoring into our day-to-day lives without realizing.

AI is typically imagined as a Siri type assistant, or a psychotic robot sent back from the future to murder a baby, however there are already numerous AI applications in the market. For example, some GPS systems for drivers already analyse traffic data and adapt a journey in real-time to take the quickest journey. Facebook’s newsfeed also creates suggestions personalized to the individual users.

Although simplistic examples, both demonstrate AI and are now seen as normal in the eyes of the consumer. It also highlights the majority of AI applications will be unseen (or at least unappreciated) as the consumer takes for granted the technology which underpins very basic aspects of their day-to-day lives.

While the AI features could provide the wow factor to allow the S8 to storm the industry, AI is not limited to smartphones in Samsung. Following the acquisition of Viv, Samsung has stated it would be looking to incorporate AI into features of more of its products at a time where consumer technology manufacturers are increasingly looking towards software as a means to different themselves.

The Samsung team has been facing a series of tough tests over the last couple of weeks, though the AI announcement does seem to have provided a bit of breathing room. Following the news, share price for Samsung was up 2% (at time of writing), perhaps in part due to the news that the Note 7 recall is proceeding as planned.

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