Samsung Electronics is promoting a multi-IoT hub strategy to differentiate itself from such companies as Amazon and Google that use their artificial intelligence (AI) speakers as a home IoT hub.
Samsung’s multi-IoT hub strategy is based on its strength as the global No. 1 supplier of smartphones and consumer appliances such as TVs and refrigerators. The company’s strategy is to make these devices home IoT hubs by applying its IoT platform SmartThings and voice-recognition AI Bixby to them.
Samsung Electronics plans to apply its “multi-device wakeup” technology to most Bixby-based home appliances. When a user makes a voice command, the new technology makes the electronic device that lies closest to him respond first.
Samsung introduced the multi-IoT hub strategy in the second half of last year when it launched air conditioners or TVs loaded with the multi-device wakeup functions. When a user says, for instance, "Hey Bixby, play the latest BTS song," the device closest to the user, be it a refrigerator, an air conditioner or a TV, recognizes the command and plays the music. Samsung Electronics installed new Bixby in a wall-mounted air conditioner released this year.
In March last year, Samsung Electronics brought global speaker maker Sonos into the SmartThings ecosystem. In this manner, it plans to expand the ecosystem in cooperation with global consumer electronics and information technology (IT) leaders.
As more and more neural processing unit (NPU) semiconductors are installed in TVs and air conditioners, home appliances process complex data, advancing the advent of the era of edge computing and multi-IoT hubs. The commercialization of 5G services that can connect 10 times more IoT devices over 20 times faster than Long Term Evolution (LTE) services may lead to the development of new IoT products such as home robots that are different from those in use now.
This partly explains the delay in Samsung Electronics' launch of AI speakers, some experts say. Samsung Electronics originally planned to launch AI speakers based on Amazon's Alexa or Google's Google Assistant in 2017, but finally decided to launch an AI speaker loaded with Bixby due to concerns about becoming too dependent on Alexa and Google Assistant.
Samsung is not hurrying to release an AI speaker. It is reportedly focusing on making its AI speaker differentiated from those of other companies. The Galaxy Home Mini, a Samsung AI speaker that will be launched in the first half of this year, is capable of controlling all products that can be driven by infrared remote controllers, a feature that differentiate it from other products. In the second half of this year, the company plans to launch the Galaxy Home to speed up its multi-IoT hub strategy.
As Samsung Electronics is the number one player in home appliances and smartphones, some company officials say that Samsung really does not need to care about an IoT hub. Yet the company cannot enjoy its strengths fully in the IoT market without improving the voice recognition capability of Bixby.