Samsung is buying A.I.-powered virtual assistant Viv -- here's why

viv app demo

No one likes it when everyone else has something they don't have.

It appears Samsung is no different. All its counterparts have an A.I.-powered virtual assistant, so why shouldn't it? Well, now it does. Samsung is buying Viv, the company started by the people behind Apple's Siri.  They built another virtual assistant, also named Viv. So when will we start seeing Viv show up on Samsung devices? And why is Samsung buying the it?

In IT Blogwatch, our virtual assistant has the answers.

What exactly is Viv? And the details of the deal? Mikey Campbell has some background:

Samsung...announced the acquisition of Viv, a next-generation artificial intelligence firm created by Siri co-founders and former Apple employees Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham.
Viv will function as a separate entity from Samsung, but...all Viv employees, around 30 in total, will be assimilated into Samsung's apparatus...In any case, Samsung has purchased Viv, and is therefore de facto owner of any technological breakthroughs the team might produce.

So what makes Viv stand out? JC Torres is in the know:

Siri...Cortana and...Google Assistant...are a dime a dozen these days, but even the most advanced of them are still a few yards short of the ideal virtual secretary. One of the biggest hurdles is...understanding...complex queries...made up of multiple phrases and conditions.
That is where Viv tries to be different. It aims to offer...sophisticated natural language processing that allows it to understand more natural...questions and make sense of it. It is, in theory, also more embracing of third-party developers that want to take advantage of Viv’s supposedly smarter brains.

And how is Samsung planning on using Viv? Philip Michael has an idea:

Samsung says Viv will help it simplify user interfaces and offer up appropriate suggestions and recommendations based on context...Samsung also talked about Viv's potential to integrate with its other products, including wearables and home appliances.
... still in development. But it's clear Samsung has big plans...Injong Rhee, Samsung's chief technology officer, promised that Samsung's investments in A.I. would be evident in next year's flagship Galaxy phones...[and] Samsung hopes to add the technology into television and other connected devices.

But what exactly is Samsung's motivation for buying Viv? We hear the reasoning direct from Samsung:

With the rise of A.I., consumers...desire an interaction with technology that is conversational, personalized and contextual...that fits seamlessly within their everyday lives. To achieve this, Viv has developed a new and proprietary platform that allows this interaction to scale.
Viv’s platform also allows developers to teach the system how to create new applications or to use existing applications, building an open ecosystem of intelligence that is greater than the sum of its parts...Viv’s superior platform combined with Samsung’s leading devices, services and global resources will help drive the next generation of A.I. solutions.

Anything else? Anshu Sharma has one very important question:

Hey Siri, ask Alexa if Google is OK with Viv as default on Samsung Android phones?

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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