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[Interview] “With Samsung’s Unique Strengths, We Are Developing a User-Oriented AI Algorithm”

An interview with Jihie Kim, Head of Language Understanding Lab, Samsung Research

 

The question of how AI technologies understand human dialog and queries to suggest an optimum answer is one of the hot topics in the AI industry. Jihie Kim, Head of the Language Understanding Lab at Samsung Research AI Center, is also striving to develop the technology behind an AI algorithm that can talk with people naturally and propose solutions to a problem.

 

The Language Understanding Lab led by Dr. Kim recently grabbed global attention after placing top ranks at global machine reading comprehension competitions held by Microsoft and the University of Washington, respectively. Samsung Newsroom visited the Samsung Research AI center in Seocho-gu, Korea to interview Dr. Kim about AI performance in the machine reading comprehension competitions and a future evolution plan for AI algorithms.

 

Jihie Kim, Head of the Language Understanding Lab at Samsung Research

 

 

Q. Please tell us about the MS MARCO and TriviaQA competitions held by Microsoft and the University of Washington, respectively, where your team ranked first place.

 

Kim: There have been many global machine reading competitions recently where AI presents solutions to a problem. MS MARCO and TriviaQA are among the top five global competitions in machine reading comprehension. AI algorithms are tested on whether they can understand and analyze questions to offer answers. Those tests are designed by referring to internet users’ queries and search results.

 

 

Q. What do you think was the critical factor in excelling at the AI competitions which require such high levels of technical expertise?

 

Kim: The ConZNet algorithm developed by the Language Understanding Lab at Samsung Reseach is upgrading its intelligence by considering real user environments. The algorithm takes natural language into account such as how people deliver queries and answers online. We were able to win those competitions because the MS MARCO and TriviaQA competitions are about AI capabilities in real user environments. In truth, our algorithm was a bit behind other competitors in tests requiring a simple answer to a question after analyzing a short paragraph. But because such technologies have low relevance to real environments using AI technologies, we are focusing on the other tests such as MS MARCO in proceeding with continuous R&D.

 

 

Q. Do you apply the winning algorithms to customer services in real life?

 

Kim: An Open Lab event was held recently to introduce the labs at Samsung Research to other departments in Samsung Electronics. At the event, we had in-depth discussions with engineers in our home appliances and smartphone departments about AI algorithms. Departments dealing with customer services also showed high interest in what we do because AI-based customer services including chatbots are emerging as a hot topic. We hope that our technologies developed at Samsung Research will be naturally adopted to Samsung Electronics products and services.

 

Dr. Kim and the developers of the Language Understanding Lab at Samsung Research are participating in an ideation meeting.

 

 

Q. What is your future evolution plan for advancing AI technologies in language understanding?

 

Kim: ConZNet is an acronym for “Context Zoom-in Network.” The name implies that understanding the context of what people say is critical. We need to advance AI technologies to help them understand and analyze short sentences. AI algorithms also need to have capabilities to analyze real-time news reports rather than existing data to give answers to customer queries. We are also developing technologies where an AI algorithm can answer, “there are no proper answers to your query,” as well as search for right answers. The so-called “rejection problem” is an AI technology with a high level of technical difficulties.

 

 

Q. Please tell us your ultimate goal in developing AI technologies.

 

Kim: The strengths of Samsung in the AI industry are that we can build a knowledge system about connections between machines and applications, and customer demands in the internet of things (IoT) environment comprised of personal devices, based on Samsung Electronics’ diverse product lineup. This will help us to achieve the goal of realizing a user-oriented AI system by collaborating with global partners in the industry. Samsung Electronics recently began to launch global AI Centers and we will lead the effort of working with AI experts at the new centers abroad.

[Editorial] Will Technology be the Downfall or Saviour of Creativity?

 

Technology is dramatically changing our world. As we are in the midst of the digital transformation, mobile and smart devices have become an inextricable part of our lives.

 

As CMO of Samsung Electronics, I am often asked what technology means for the future of marketing and creativity. Behind this question I believe lies a deep-rooted concern – how will technology transform creativity? Will technology be the downfall or saviour of creativity? The rise in data engineered campaigns has the capability to remove the human connections we all need.

 

 

Embracing Change

Technology is, and always was, about change. And change brings challenges. I know this, not just because of my role, but through my personal experiences.

 

Before joining Samsung, I worked in the beauty industry. Without any background in technology, it felt like I had landed in a foreign country when I made the change from cosmetics to tech 11 years ago.

 

My role is to use what I have learned to help transform Samsung from a technology-focused, to consumer-centric company. Features and specs, of course, are important. But they only tell part of the story. No matter how fast or powerful a processor is, it only becomes meaningful when its capabilities are weaved into people’s lives.

 

 

Creative Catalyst

Samsung’s Relúmĭno is a case in point. Harnessing the capabilities of the smartphone camera and VR devices, the application helps visually impaired people see the world with clarity. With the potential to transform lives, Relúmĭno shows how technology can give voice to millions around the world to narrate their own stories.

 

 

When we look at innovations through a humanistic lens, technology can become a powerful catalyst for creativity.

 

Take 5G for example. With the speed of data transfer that 5G can bring to us, I believe 5G technology could drive an exponential change to our world. 5G will fuel the fourth industrial revolution. When we speak about how 5G will change the way we live, work and play, the story suddenly becomes even more inspiring.

 

 

A Brand-New Era

As a marketer at Samsung, I see that technology is writing new rules for creativity on a micro, as well as macro, scale. Brands are changing the way they communicate as new cultural values emerge with technological innovations.

 

With the proliferation of technology, brands are no longer bystanders in society. They can now make a difference at scale. Samsung’s DYTECTIVE, an app designed to diagnose dyslexia quickly and for free, shows that a simple idea can produce profound results.

 

 

As people are better informed and entertained than ever before, they are seeking much more than material comforts, which drives brands to create experiences with a deeper meaning.

 

 

Greater connectivity and mobility has also turned consumers from viewers and bystanders, into active participants. This opens a whole new level of relationship between brands and people, in other words, a new dimension of creativity for brands and marketers.

 

 

Do What You Can’t

Technology will transform creativity, for the better, by inspiring all of us to achieve the impossible.

 

When we aspire to enact change and stand by values that seem improbable, we are compelled to find solutions that are truly transformational.

 

At Samsung, it’s part of our DNA to enact change and stand by values that seem improbable.

 

Do What You Can’t is more than a slogan. It’s a call to action.

 

 

* This editorial is based on YH Lee’s address at Cannes Lions 2018.

[Editorial] How Samsung is Ushering in a Consumer-centric AI World

In a few years time, users may not have to figure out how to operate different devices individually or make a choice between services. Instead, the new world of connected devices and services based on artificial intelligence (AI) will be able to recommend and perform, on their own, integrated and seamless functions for users in and across environments from the home to office to car.

 

For example, in the home, when a user wakes up in the morning on a rainy day, the home lights will gradually brighten, while music fit for a rainy day is selected and played in the background. A cup of coffee will be prepared as soon as the user says “coffee” while stepping into the kitchen and the refrigerator will also recommend meal ideas for the day, asking the user whether he or she would like to buy ingredients online.

 

In the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry, Samsung Electronics is uniquely positioned to bring this world of connected AI services to life, based on the almost half a billion connected devices the company sells every year. In fact, given the typical lifecycle of a device, there are more than a billion Samsung devices actively used around the world at any given time.

 

Samsung’s device portfolio also is the industry’s broadest, and includes mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and wearable devices, office devices such as PCs, signages and Samsung Flip, devices for the home such as Samsung Smart TVs, Family Hub and FlexWash and FlexDry, and much more.

 

At this year’s CES, Samsung highlighted its latest innovations in its vision to drive the Internet of Things (IoT) supported by AI. Samsung Smart TVs now integrated with Bixby, are able to play music and shows personalized for users, as well as show who is at the front door or what is inside the refrigerator. The Family Hub refrigerator, also integrated with AI, recognizes the voices of different family members and provides each of them with a personalized daily schedule.

 

Moving forward, Samsung will continue to remain focused on holistically integrating AI into a connected setting, such as the home or the office, in contrast to other players primarily pursuing implementation of AI on a few devices and services. In the following months, Samsung will integrate not only Samsung devices, but also IoT devices and sensors developed by external partners into the SmartThings eco-system, allowing a single SmartThings app to control everything. Furthermore, Samsung also plans to integrate AI into all its connected devices by 2020.

 

In the coming years, many IoT devices with AI support will generate a vast array of usage patterns and scenarios. How AI-enabled devices learn and analyze complex usage patterns and provide consumers with the most optimized options will be critical to the success of AI technology for the near future. In other words, the success of AI will boil down to how well the devices understand the users.

 

Therefore, Samsung’s perspective on AI is to build an eco-system that is user-centric rather than device-centric. To pursue that goal, we will start by building an AI platform under a common architecture that will not only scale quickly, but also provide the deepest understanding of usage context and behaviors, making AI more relevant and useful.

 

For the past decades, Samsung successfully introduced products and innovations by researching the lifestyle and behavior of global consumers. Paying respect to our heritage of user-centric product development, Samsung will begin an exciting journey open to boundless possibilities in new user experiences by integrating AI into the open IoT ecosystem it is currently developing. This journey will certainly be fascinating for us here at Samsung, but even more so for consumers, as Samsung takes major steps forward to bring consumers’ hopes and expectations to life.

[Editorial] Do Everything, Everywhere with Samsung’s New Ultraslim Notebooks

There’s no denying it – the PC industry has changed. With tablets, smartphones, and wearables, we have the ability to shape our computing experience around our lives like never before. But that doesn’t mean that the PC market is shrinking. Far from it – it’s evolving in a whole new way. Consumers who once preferred a traditional laptop are choosing slim, powerful notebooks that give them the flexibility to do everything, everywhere.

 

That’s important, because the way we work has changed as well. For many, the work day begins the moment they wake up, and often stretches well beyond dinner time. In 2018, true portability and productivity is knowing you have a single notebook that makes it possible to do what you can’t do with just a tablet or desktop. It’s thin enough to slip into your “go” bag. It’s light enough to carry all day, every day, and almost forget it’s there. It’s strong enough to endure the bumps in the road and the inevitable scrapes from the airport security bin.

 

At Samsung, we’re leading the evolution of the PC. Our portfolio includes 2-in-1 tablets with detachable keyboards, for those who want the ultimate in portability, along with Samsung Chromebooks, for those who want access to their favorite Google apps and services. For those who want the ultimate in power, portability, and performance, I’m excited to introduce a new series of PCs.

 

Our new ultraslim notebooks combine convenience with performance and design – establishing what it means to create a premium PC experience for the way we live and work today. Whether you’re working up an important presentation, drafting your next big plan, or playing your favorite game on the go, you need immersive graphics, processing power, and frame rate. Our new series of notebooks give you the screen, power, graphics, memory, storage, and battery life to make your old laptop seem, well, old.

 

Before we engineered our new notebooks, we listened to you. We heard what you wanted and what you needed. You told us you wanted the flexibility to do, with one notebook, more than you can do with a simple tablet or a thick laptop. So we designed a range of mobile computing experiences to meet the needs of the modern, mobile workforce—helping everyone do more at home, at the office, and on the go.

 

Versatility and performance are important – but as any frequent traveler will attest, durability is important as well. Keeping that in mind, we’ve developed an entirely new material to wrap it all up: Metal 12™. This magnesium alloy is incredibly light, yet unbelievably strong – and feels amazing in hand. And Metal 12™ is available only on Samsung devices. It’s one more way our investments in R&D are delivering next-level durability and premium design.

 

Our new series of ultrathin notebooks are designed for different people with different needs, who want to use their time in the most productive way they can:

 

Samsung Notebook 9 Pen with the built-in S pen

 

Notebook 9 Pen is the ultraslim 2-in-1 convertible for those who want the most computing power with the creative power of the S Pen. Perfected in Samsung Galaxy mobile devices, the battery-free S Pen replicates the ease, accuracy, and size of a real pen, so you can enjoy a natural writing and drawing experience – without having to ever charge it. Jot notes. Use CAD. Sketch freehand. If you want to work, create, design or draw, the Notebook 9 Pen puts no limit on how you can express yourself. It’s a whole new way to use your notebook PC.

 

Samsung Notebook 9 (2018)

 

Notebook 9 (2018) is the notebook for those who want the most powerful graphics in the slimmest package. When you’re on the go – whether on business travel, headed to class, working, taking a laptop is a still given. With this extremely light PC that weighs no more than 2.84 pounds, Samsung is actually taking weight off your back and creating more room in your pack. The Notebook 9 (2018) has all the durability with none of the weight. Powerful graphics bring movies and games to life on screen, with battery capacity that allows you to stay immersed in your favorite content throughout the day.

 

Samsung Notebook 7 Spin (2018)

 

Notebook 7 Spin (2018) is the “best of basics” 2-in-1 convertible for those who want Samsung design at an affordable price. If you’re always moving from home to office or from class to class, flexibility is the name of the game. With the Notebook 7 Spin (2018) you can flip easily from PC to tablet—and back, work anywhere—even in the dark—with the backlit keyboard, and use your Active Pen (sold separately) to express yourself in an entirely new way. The Notebook 7 Spin (2018) design gives you the flexibility to work anywhere, and the Intel 8th Generation Quad Core Process gives you the power to do it all.

 

I’m excited to show off our new ultraslim notebooks at CES this year. They’re compact, powerful, and designed to deliver a premium experience that’s all about helping you create more and enjoy more, wherever you are.

[Editorial] Delivering on the Promise of a Connected World, Today

For those of us in the tech and related industries, the start of each new year represents a period for our own personal moments of reflection, but also as professionals and those passionate about technology to share and envision together the latest in technology innovation at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

 

For the past several years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has remained the industry’s biggest buzzword for its promise of delivering seamless connectivity across the multiple devices and technologies that we interact with in our daily lives – from our smartphones to smart TVs to Family Hub refrigerator to even our cars. Yet while the vision has been alluring, with IoT and related technologies still maturing, the promise has always remained ‘a few years off’.

 

At CES 2018, our aim, at Samsung, will be to show you the work we’ve done to change that, and to begin delivering on the promise of a connected world, today.

 

Across the many and various devices consumers interact with in their places of business, homes, and while on the go, each is typically encumbered by a different setup process, password to remember, and interface to learn and manage, which has made the connected experience anything but easy.

 

At Samsung, we decided to do something about this, and at this year’s CES, we’ll be sharing our breakthroughs to make the IoT experience easy and intuitive for you, which has involved delivering seamless connectivity between any device through a single experience, backed by an integrated ecosystem to manage all the devices in close, fluid synchronization.

 

The connected experience we will be introducing also is powered by a personalized intelligence interface, with the aim of ensuring you are able to tap into all the potential and power this connectedness provides, as easily as if you were flipping a switch. Understanding that innovation on this scale and delivering on a truly connected world can’t happen in a silo, we’ve also worked closely with industry partners as part of the largest IoT standardization body, the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF), which I will also be sharing about further at the show.

 

Until now, the promise of a world of connected devices has remained too fragmented, and as result too complex and difficult for consumers to navigate or practically take advantage of. However, a connected world, should be anything but. It should work for you, and make life easier for you. I couldn’t be more excited to share with you further on how Samsung is bringing this vision to reality now in just a few days time at CES 2018.

Quantum Dot Artisan: Dr. Eunjoo Jang, Samsung Fellow

 

Over the past few years, one of the breakthrough achievements of Samsung researchers has been the development of cadmium-free quantum dot technology, currently utilized in Samsung QLED TVs. While quantum dot had the benefit of delivering superior light expression, the technology posed harm to the environment with toxic cadmium at risk of being released through nanoparticle degradation. Samsung’s quantum dots, however, are cadmium-free, and Samsung is currently the only company that produces cadmium-free (Cd-free) quantum dot displays.

 

The architect behind development of the Cd-free quantum dot technology was Dr. Eunjoo Jang at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT). For her achievements, Dr. Jang was appointed a Samsung Fellow on November 16 – a distinct honor established at Samsung in 2002 to honor outstanding achievements in research, and also referred to as “Samsung’s Nobel Prize.”

 

Dr. Jang, who has been involved in the research of Cd-free quantum dot technology for over 15 years, recently shared with Samsung Newsroom the story behind her research into the technology, as well as her thoughts on what’s next for display innovation.

 

 

“I wanted to do something that no one else had”

 

Dr. Jang, who earlier in her career was studying catalysts at POSTECH and the University of Ottawa in Canada, had strong interest in developing quantum dot technology that could leverage catalyst technology when she started the project at SAIT in 2002:

 

“I thought nano-technology would fit well with quantum dot because it is a semiconductor material. It wasn’t so much about application at the time, but the goal was to look ahead 10 years. When I initiated my research, I was one of the few ones looking into the potential future application, but many had very limited belief as to whether the research and study were even possible.”

 

Dr. Jang recalled that developing Cd-free quantum dot technology was quite a challenge. While quantum dot was studied widely for its capabilities in absorbing and emitting light, and also used in various lighting devices, its application into other areas was seen as limited as it requires the hazardous heavy metal cadmium.

 

“At first, we could not even imagine a Cd-free quantum dot, but in Samsung’s commitment to being a globally responsible manufacturer, the vision was to make it work. I was able to relatively quickly complete a cadmium-containing quantum dot, but I wanted to do something that no one else had. So, I worked another three years on Cd-free quantum dot.”

 

Dr. Jang describes seeing her scientific research applied to a commercial product as particularly gratifying, “It was such a terrific period when I was helping in the design of a plant for production of Cd-free quantum dot products, a technology which had actually started from work in the lab. My research work was used for real-life production, and when Cd-free quantum dot was first introduced at CES 2015, it was such an amazing experience.“

 

 

Expansion of Cd-free Quantum Dot Across Samsung Products

 

Dr. Jang explained, “It has been three years since Cd-free quantum dot technology has been applied to Samsung products. The technology has proven to be stable even when we change its structures in terms of higher brightness, local dimming, 8K and other features.”

 

Dr. Jang also emphasized her belief in the environment of Samsung as key to the success in producing the technology, “The reason why Samsung Electronics was able to produce this achievement in terms of quantum dot is because the company started earlier than other competitors. We set a specific goal from an early stage, and poured our resources into it.” She added that the achievement is especially meaningful to her because it was an independent development, “I am proud that Samsung, with its own capabilities, was able to develop such advanced technology without any outsourcing. This is clear testament to the strengths of our people as well as our environment which helps drive innovation.”

 

 

The Future: Self-Lighting Quantum Dots, and More

So, what is the next evolution for Samsung TVs?

 

Dr. Jang explained the differences between QLED and OLED, “Both have strengths and weaknesses. Contemporary OLED is incomplete, and OLED TV displays have many weaknesses related to burn-in, brightness, large screen and grey-scale which are all due to lesser stability.” She especially emphasized that replacing the light emitting layer with quantum dot is essential to overcome the limit of the display, “Using organic or inorganic materials for the light emitting layer could influence the reliability of products. I would like to implement the improvement of making this layer with inorganic materials – quantum dots.”

 

Dr. Jang also said that she is currently devoting considerable research into self-lighting QLED and its application, “I am currently participating in a study of making a better display that can overcome the limit of OLED TV and be applied in many other fields. Self-lighting quantum dot technology is being specifically researched for this purpose. My ultimate goal is to develop technology that gives new value to customers and makes for a more convenient life.”

 

From research to commercialization, Dr. Jang is one of the many talented innovators at Samsung who are helping write the next chapter in display technology. As she continues her work in developing quantum dot’s technological leadership in the field, it will be exciting to see the innovations that arrive next into our living rooms.

 

Dr. Eunjoo Jang and researchers at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT)

[Editorial] Samsung Envisions Life Transformed by Artificial Intelligence

Just about every industry today is being transformed by Artificial Intelligence (AI). From retail and entertainment to transportation and healthcare, AI is seeping into our world in ever more profound ways, revolutionizing the way we go about our daily lives.

 

At Samsung Electronics, we share in the vision of a fully open, intelligent and connected world. A world where AI will play an integral role, where one day everything from our phones to our refrigerators will possess some sort of intelligence to help us seamlessly interact with our surroundings. To bring the company closer to realizing its vision, we are working tirelessly to develop technologies that can help us take this first leap into intelligence.

 

 

AI – Where Are We Now and Where Are We Going?

 

Since it was first envisioned in the 1950s, AI has made a palpable impact on our lives, giving us practical speech recognition, more effective web search and self-driving cars, among other innovations.

 

Earlier this month, Google’s AlphaGo AI program made news by mastering the ancient Chinese board game Go in just three days without any human assistance. This major advance comes just two decades after Deep Blue crushed chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov, illustrating that AI has not only come a long way in a short time, but is on track to creating unthinkable opportunities across all industries that will add new value to our lives.

 

The recent explosion in AI is enabled by a number of factors including a wider availability of GPUs, virtually infinite amounts of data, and more advanced machine and deep learning algorithms. Additionally, investments in AI have tripled from $26 billion in 2013 to $39 billion in 2016, further propelling the development of new intelligent technologies.

 

Despite these advancements, there are very real challenges that are hindering the development of AI technologies, including the lack of the required talent pool in the AI industry. Furthermore, many device manufacturers haven’t quite figured out how to best optimize the user data they receive from their sensor-equipped products. As a result, enterprises struggle to determine what AI is capable of and what kind of value it can bring to consumers.

 

 

Bixby – Bringing New Value into the Smart Home

 

Samsung, too, has contemplated how AI can deliver real value to its users, and in doing so have developed Bixby, a bold reinvention of its intelligent interface that’s even more ubiquitous, open and personal. Powered by the Samsung Connect, Bixby will act as the controlling platform of your connected device ecosystem, including mobile phones, TVs and even home appliances to make the smart home experience even smarter.

 

In fact, we are adding Bixby Voice to our Family Hub refrigerator. Now, you will be able to check the weather, build shopping lists and order groceries with the power of your voice. So, for example, if you were running low on milk, you would just say, “Hi Bixby, order milk” to order food directly from the screen.

 

The integration of Bixby Voice and Samsung Connect into the Family Hub refrigerator marks a big step – one that will offer developers tremendous opportunities to develop new content, applications and experiences in areas such as food, health, home management, entertainment and more.

 

We think this could be the fourth wave, where you have programmable objects dispersed throughout your entire home, seamlessly connected and communicating in a personalized and intuitive manner. In this way, we are moving beyond simply connecting devices to the Internet and are taking the next step by connecting devices to intelligence. This new era is what we are calling the “Intelligence of Things.”

 

Smarter World, Better Life

A world powered by the Intelligence of Things will open up entirely new possibilities. In this world, every machine around you is intelligence-enabled, capable of understanding and anticipating your needs. In this world, mundane tasks are a thing of the past, allowing you to spend more time doing the things you enjoy with the people you love.

 

We know that we have a long way to go to fully realize our vision. But we are wholly committed to building upon our heritage of creating meaningful innovation and driving digital transformation to advance technologies in artificial intelligence. We could not be more excited to help lead the changes that will define this new, transformative era.

[Editorial] Bixby 2.0: The Start of the Next Paradigm Shift in Devices

 

Today at the Samsung Developer Conference (SDC) 2017 in San Francisco, I was honored to share Samsung’s vision for intelligence, with the introduction of Bixby 2.0 – a powerful intelligent assistant platform that will bring a connected experience that is ubiquitous, personal, and open.  Bixby 2.0 will be a fundamental leap forward for digital assistants and represents another important milestone to transform our digital lives.

 

Today’s assistants are useful, but ultimately still play a limited role in people’s lives. People use them to set timers and reminders, answer trivial questions, etc. We see a world where digital assistant play a bigger role, an intelligent role, where one day everything from our phones, to our fridge, to our sprinkler system will have some sort of intelligence to help us seamlessly interact with all the technology we use each day.

 

To understand where we are going with devices, it is important to understand how far we’ve come. It is hard to believe, when you think back to just a decade ago, how we used our phones. It was likely a feature phone, which was primarily used to make calls and use a limited number of apps. But I knew, we at Samsung knew, that there were greater possibilities for the mobile phone. During the early and mid-2000, I led the team at Samsung in creating the Mobile Intelligent Terminal by Samsung (MITs), which was an early generation of smartphones before the Galaxy S and Note series were finally born. Powered by open API, application eco-system and innovative touch UI, smartphone market has, ever since then, exploded and became a life-essential tool for everyone. It also brought new opportunities for businesses and developers.

 

I believe that we are now on the cusp of the next major tectonic shift. With our long legacy as the global smartphone leader, we’ve been bringing meaningful innovation and driving digital transformation for the industry, and we are excited to help lead the change during another revolutionary moment. Personally, I am excited to be part of this next great era and this shift is one of the reasons why we are motivated to continue to develop our intelligent assistant, Bixby.

 

We introduced Bixby to the world earlier this year with the launch of our flagship mobile devices, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ and the Note 8. Bixby is now available in over 200 different countries, with more than 10 million registered users. But this is just a start. When we launched Bixby, we focused on how it could help people with getting the most out of their smartphones and apps to make their life easier. We integrated a few close partner applications on the device to make those devices more intelligent. We created multi-step, and cross-app capabilities that have allowed more than millions of Bixby users get things done faster and easier, but it is just a stepping stone for us.

 

Now, we are ready to take Bixby to the next level. Bixby 2.0 is a bold reinvention of the platform. A reinvention aimed at transforming basic digital assistants from a novelty to an intelligence tool that is a key part of everyone’s daily life.

 

Bixby 2.0 will be ubiquitous, available on any and all devices. This means having the intelligence of Bixby, powered by the cloud, act as the control hub of your device ecosystem, including mobile phones, TVs, refrigerators, home speakers, or any other connected technology you can imagine. Soon, developers will be able to put their services on any and all devices and will not have to reinvent their services each time they support a new device.

 

It will be more personal, with enhanced natural language capabilities for more natural commands and complex processing, so it can really get to know and understand not only who you are, but who members of your family are, and tailor its response and actions appropriately.

 

And finally, and most importantly, Bixby 2.0 will be open. We know Samsung cannot deliver on this paradigm shift by ourselves – it can only happen if we all, across all industries, work together, in partnership. With Bixby 2.0, the doors will be wide open for developers to choose and model how users interact with Bixby in their services across all application domains e.g., sports, food, entertainment, or travel – the opportunities are truly endless.

 

Starting today, we’re announcing our first private beta program with Bixby SDK, which will be available for select developers. We will work as one team, innovating, collaborating, and bringing Bixby 2.0 to life. Over time, we will increase the number of participants in the beta, and ultimately make the Bixby SDK available to all developers.

 

Bixby 2.0 will ultimately be a marketplace, for intelligence. A new channel for developers to reach users with their service, not just on mobile devices, but through all devices. Over time, we will rollout variety of revenue models to maximize our partners’ business opportunities in this new paradigm. Hopefully making it as fruitful as the move from feature to smartphones was for our partners.

 

The future is yours. Whatever your technology platform, device category or industry sector: we call on all developers to unleash their creativity and help us to democratize intelligence, so that we can move beyond devices and into an open, connected ecosystem to simplify the lives of everyone.

A Brighter Molenbeek Thanks to ‘MolenGeek’

On the sidelines of this year’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), representatives from Samsung, Belgian government officials, and a team of young entrepreneurs presented the success story of MolenGeek, an initiative designed to create opportunities for youth in the Brussels municipality of Molenbeek, as a best practice of public-private partnership that can change the future of a community.

 

 

The initiative is a good example of how Samsung’s technology and Global Corporate Citizenship Goals, which seek to promote education, employment and health, are contributing to creating a more inclusive society. And with technology a key part of so many industries today, the MolenGeek initiative demonstrates how Samsung is working to foster the technical entrepreneurship of young people as part of its citizenship aims.

 

 

Cultivating Change in Molenbeek

To support MolenGeek, Samsung has joined forces with the initiative’s dynamic team of founders as well as the Belgian government, to provide young aspiring entrepreneurs in Molenbeek with the space and resources to launch their own innovative startups. As a community previously linked to radicalism and disenfranchised youth, the initiative, seeks to provide a positive answer to the past negative outlook of the neighborhood.

 

In addition to providing technical and financial support to MolenGeek, Samsung has helped to establish a professional coding school to train young programmers. Samsung employees also actively participate in organizing events such as Hackathons and an Internet of Things (IoT) Challenge to provide mentorship for Molenbeek’s future digital entrepreneurs.

 

“In a logic of co-creation, Samsung’s support helps MolenGeek and its participants by making accessible a whole new world of technologies. Participants can now have access to the latest technologies for free. They also have access to a new way of skills acquisition based on learning by doing,” said Julie Foulon, who is one of the co-founders of MolenGeek.

 

As result of events like the Hackathons, brilliant startups have been created such as CitizenMap in April 2016. This was right after the terrorist attack in Brussels, which was thought to have been connected to radicalized youngsters in the district of Molenbeek. To contribute to the improvement of the emergency services, the creators of CitizenMap interviewed first aid and emergency services in Brussels to understand the IT challenges of the city, next collecting and mapping all the defibrillators in Belgium. A year later, in May 2017, CitizenMap was launched for a trial run with the Red Cross prior to its official release.

 

 

Incubating Startups

To date, the MolenGeek initiative has incubated 25 startups such as T-IL and QuickLyric. T-IL is an alternative tourism app based on the interests of its users. According to users’ tastes and preferences, T-IL recommends tourist spots when users travel in a specific country. QuickLyric allows users to download instantly the lyrics of the songs they are listening to, no matter what source they are using: Spotify, MP3, Deezer, Google Music or even radio. After almost six months, QuickLyric has registered over 500,000 downloads and is used in over 20 countries in more than 20 languages.

 

“MolenGeek is a best practice on how we can give young people a positive perspective for their future in a world that is increasingly digital and fast-evolving. This is a success story that the world needs to know,” said Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation of Belgium in his opening remarks during the presentation to the UNGA.

 

For Samsung and the partners behind MolenGeek, the success so far is only the beginning. More exciting results and innovations are expected ahead which will hopefully bring further positive impact to the lives of Molenbeek’s young people.

[Interview] How Samsung “Unpacked” the Galaxy Note8

At Galaxy Unpacked 2017, Samsung Electronics demonstrated – on a very big stage with even bigger effects – how the Galaxy Note8, its newest flagship smartphone, is designed for people who have big dreams. Held in New York on August 23, the event was well received by both the media who were in attendance as well as viewers who tuned into the event livestream all around the world.

 

 

Josh Kim, Daeun Alison Han and Heesung Lee, members of the Global Brand Marketing Group of Samsung Electronics’ Mobile Communications Business, discuss what it took to put the large-scale event together, as well as some of their favorite Unpacked moments.

 

 

Q. What was the main focus of the Galaxy Note8 Unpacked event?

 

Kim: This Unpacked event was all about celebrating the return of the Note and showing our appreciation for Note fans. In fact, we invited 100 Note fans to the event. DJ Koh began his opening keynote address by expressing his gratitude for Note fans and their continued support during the past year. One fan was brought up on stage during the Galaxy Note8 camera demonstration, while others were featured in a video at the end of the event. Being able to make our fans a central part of the event made it all the more special.

 

 

 

Q. The fan video played at the beginning of the show was especially moving. Can you tell us a little more about it?

 

Han : We learned a lot from the Galaxy Note7 incident, including how loyal our Note users are. The faith that our Note fans demonstrated for our product was what kept us going in this journey.

 

We wanted to express our gratitude to these fans, and after receiving their permission, compiled many of their comments to create our Note fan video to convey that message. The process of gaining permission from each and every one of them was not easy, but after posting the video, we received a lot of positive feedback regarding Samsung’s sincere attitude. This was a great source of encouragement for myself and the team. 

 

 

 

Q. Both the media and viewers who tuned into the Unpacked livestream were particularly impressed by the stage. What was the idea behind its design?

 

Kim: We wanted to present a launch event that was just as innovative as the Galaxy Note8 itself. So, we installed two floor-to-ceiling screens and one that stretched across the floor to create a box-like stage. Utilizing special 3D effects, we were able to create the illusion that the stage was “unpacked” at the moment of the product unveiling. In a similar way, we were able to make a number of giant S Pens appear as if they were standing three-dimensional objects. It was our first time attempting this.

 

 

For spectators to get the full effect, the location of the livestreaming cameras had to be just right, and this took a bit of trial and error. Those who watched the livestream gave us great feedback – it was even better than I expected!

 

 

Q. What elements do you consider when deciding on an Unpacked venue? Why did you choose the Park Avenue Armory for this event?

 

Kim: The two most important factors to consider when selecting a venue for an event like Unpacked are seat capacity and space for a stage. It should also be iconic. The Park Avenue Armory ticks all the boxes. It’s a beautiful venue. It’s widely known. And it had enough open space for us to realize the design that we wanted. Conversely, other venues with fixed stages would have limited us in terms of stage design.

 

 

Q. The venue’s entrance hall was decorated with a number of Samsung’s The Frame TVs, which displayed stunning S Pen-created artworks. Is there a reason why you incorporated another Samsung product into the event?

 

Kim: When deciding on the décor for the event, we contemplated how we could cultivate a refined atmosphere that harmonized with the Armory’s classic ambience. We determined that The Frame TV would be the most suitable medium for displaying our content, which is why we collaborated with Samsung’s Visual Display Business. It turns out it was a fantastic choice!

 

 

 

Q. Are there any particularly memorable moments that stick out from this year’s Galaxy Note8 launch?

 

Kim: At the end of the main event, the Galaxy Note8 and New York cityscape remained displayed on the stage screens. We had anticipated that attendees would immediately head to the experience zone after leaving their seats, so it was a great surprise to watch many of them walk directly to the stage to snap a few selfies. It was completely unexpected and because I had personally been involved with the stage design, I was particularly touched by this.

 

 

 

Q. Walk us through the process of planning an Unpacked event.

 

Kim: We start planning each Unpacked event months before it actually happens. As soon as the schedule is confirmed, we make a list of potential venues. In fact, while we were preparing for this past event, we were simultaneously looking for a space for the next Unpacked.

 

Two to three months prior to the event, we draw up general plans covering everything from the event theme and stage design to show effects and demonstrations. We begin setting things up onsite about a week before the product launch and work in earnest until the big day.

 

 

Q. How do you come up with new event concepts?

 

Kim: Typically, we refer to other large-scale events and see how they incorporate different effects such as hologram lasers and 3D effects into their presentations. Sometimes we meet with companies that develop these technologies. But we always try to innovate even further to deliver the wow factor and truly differentiate our events.

 

 

Q. What’s the most challenging part in making sure each event goes smoothly?

 

Lee: When scripts are confirmed, we start creating presentation slides. However, finalizing the slides takes a long time since we have to accommodate different requests from multiple departments. Because this isn’t always feasible, changes are often made right up until the last minute.

 

From time to time, we also have to deal with unexpected complications. During the Galaxy Note8 launch, for example, we experienced a number of power outages prior to the event because we were using so many devices to achieve the best possible effects. Fortunately enough, the event went off without a hitch.

 

We also did not anticipate how much interest there would be in Unpacked. We were really surprised at the sheer number of people who showed up to participate, including many who hadn’t even pre-registered.

 

 

 

Q. How does it feel to be a part of a team that organizes a globally recognized event?

 

Kim: It can be a bit stressful, as months of work essentially all boil down to a one-hour event. We work tirelessly day in and day out to ensure that no mistakes are made, but in the end, there are always a few unexpected situations that require quick thinking and creative solutions. Nevertheless, nothing is more rewarding than watching an Unpacked event successfully unfold and getting positive feedback from the audience.

 

Check out the highlights of Galaxy Unpacked 2017 in the video below.

 

 

[Interview] Samsung Electronics CEO BK Yoon: “We Will Lead the Hyper Connected World”

 

“All Samsung Electronics products will be connected and form an IoT (Internet of Things) ecosystem with external partners. We will lead the hyper connectivity of the future,” said BK Yoon, CEO of the Consumer Electronics (CE) Business at Samsung Electronics at a press meeting at IFA 2017.

 

Samsung Electronics is one of the few global companies that covers everything from IT and home appliances to integral abilities and components including an IoT platform, cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), voice recognition, wireless communication, semi-conductor chips, sensors and security solutions. The company also offers the best B2B solutions for vehicles, communication, electricity, distribution, content and other areas of interest to the company’s global partners.

 

CEO Yoon revealed his business vision and said “Samsung will draw out synergies from all product lines. By connecting them to the external IoT ecosystem, we will be able to provide added value to the customers along with enhancements to their everyday life experiences.”

 

The company’s plan is to first connect all Samsung products by 2020. The products will be connected based on Samsung Connect, a cloud computing based integral platform and application, and also controlled by it. The smartphone intelligent interface Bixby will allow easy control over IoT services. In order to increase the synergy effects from the company, Samsung is currently running an IoT committee in which each department is participating. Furthermore, a task force team is in operation to provide comprehensive IoT and AI services.

 

Samsung also leads the establishment and spread of IoT standards as a board member of the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF), the biggest IoT standardization group in the world. The company plans to work collaboratively with Google Home, Alexa and other services through the open platform strategy. At the same time, the company will enhance external IoT product connectivity using its own SmartThings platform with great scalability. Additionally, Samsung is going to reveal its IoT-related cloud computing source code to expand the ecosystem at the Samsung Developers Conference (SDC) in San Francisco, U.S. in October.

 

“An easy to use IoT service for everyone is impossible without cooperation between businesses,” Yoon emphasized. “By making open cooperation between Harman, SmartThings and internal groups with external IoT businesses, we will realize a user-oriented IoT service at home, in the office, in vehicles and other areas.”

 

Samsung continues its efforts to suggest a “New Normal” to consumers in their everyday lives by developing unprecedented products in its CE business. The company is drawing attention with brilliant new products at IFA 2017 such as The Frame Lifestyle TV, which includes the Art Store that offers art pieces to display in its picture frame mode. The QuickDriveTM washing machine is also breaking new ground by reducing the washing time by half* with no compromise on washing performance.

 

“IoT and B2B will be our main focus of investment to continue innovation in the CE business,” Yoon commented. “We will enter the North American built-in home appliances market as one of the top-tier companies in three years by building the best lineup with Dacor who we acquired last year,” he added.

 

 

*Tested on WW8800M compared with Samsung WW8500K. Saves 50% time on Cotton (40℃, half load) and eCotton cycle with washing performance within ± 2%. Saves 20% energy on Cotton (40℃, half load) and Super Speed cycle (40℃, 5kg load), based on Intertek data.

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