Samsung Zeroes In on AI to Meet 2020 Goal for Smart Devices

Samsung has committed to integrating artificial intelligence and Internet connectivity into all its products by 2020, even as Google and Amazon beat the South Korean company to market with their AI-powered smart speakers. Samsung’s goal is to have every device from televisions to refrigerators synch with each other and drive demand for its smartphones. Samsung eventually plans to centralize these devices with its SmartThings app, acquired in 2014. It also will include its own virtual assistant Bixby, which debuted last year on its flagship Galaxy S8 smartphone. Continue reading Samsung Zeroes In on AI to Meet 2020 Goal for Smart Devices

Google Assistant Is Connected to 5,000 Smart Home Devices

Google revealed that its AI-powered Google Assistant is now connected to more than 5,000 smart devices in the home, up from 1,500 such devices in January. Among the devices now controlled by Google Assistant are air conditioners, cameras, security systems, thermostats, vacuum cleaners and washing machines. Google faces stiff competition in the smart home arena, most notably from Amazon Alexa, Apple’s HomeKit and Siri, Microsoft Cortana and Samsung’s SmartThings and Bixby. Now the rivals must convince consumers to buy the devices. Continue reading Google Assistant Is Connected to 5,000 Smart Home Devices

Samsung Says All of Its Products Will Be Connected by 2020

Samsung wants to be everywhere. The company’s CES 2018 media briefing led by Tim Baxter, president and CEO of Samsung North America, demonstrated Samsung’s strategic focus on connecting almost every aspect of its customer’s life. When they lifted the black curtains that protected Samsung’s entire Central Hall exhibit before the floor opened, visitors could see the evolution of the tech giant’s product line from the living rooms to living spaces. An R&D investment of $14 billion has accelerated an IoT strategy and the promise that all Samsung products will also be “Smart” by 2020. Continue reading Samsung Says All of Its Products Will Be Connected by 2020

Samsung Integrates Viv Labs Tech into AI Assistant Bixby 2.0

Today, Samsung’s AI assistant Bixby can respond to a few commands and interact with a few apps and services. However, the new Bixby 2.0 will integrate technology from Viv Labs, which Samsung acquired a year ago for $215 million. Viv co-creators Adam Cheyer and Dag Kittlaus previously created Siri prior to being acquired by Apple. Bixby 2.0, which will be available on devices including Samsung Smart TVs and Family Hub refrigerators, will be able to interact with more services and in a more sophisticated manner. Continue reading Samsung Integrates Viv Labs Tech into AI Assistant Bixby 2.0

Nvidia Updates Shield TV to Offer 4K HDR Streaming and More

Nvidia’s new Shield TV features 4K HDR streaming and improved gaming capabilities — and now, many of the new hardware benefits are also available for free on the original Shield TV via an over-the-air software update. Users can access 4K HDR streaming from Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, and 4K support from Google Play offerings and additional sources. The update also features “support for upgraded GeForce Now game streaming, and the new Nvidia Games app which centralizes all the various gaming endpoints,” reports TechCrunch. To add Google Assistant interaction, users will need to purchase the new $60 Shield Controller with built-in microphone. Continue reading Nvidia Updates Shield TV to Offer 4K HDR Streaming and More

Nvidia’s New Shield TV Adds 4K HDR and Google Assistant

At CES, Nvidia introduced a new version of its Shield TV streaming box, featuring an updated design and support for 4K HDR. Available later this month, the $200 Shield TV now includes a remote and game controller. The box — which Nvidia claims offers three times the performance speed of any streaming competitor on today’s market — runs Android TV and provides support for thousands of games and access to 4K content from Google Play Movies, Netflix and Vudu. It also features Amazon Video in 4K HDR, which is unusual for Android TV boxes. With Google Assistant also built-in, Nvidia may be looking to take on Amazon Echo. Continue reading Nvidia’s New Shield TV Adds 4K HDR and Google Assistant

Comparing Newly Released Google Home with Amazon Echo

Google just released Home, a smart speaker that competes directly with the recently introduced Amazon Echo, powered by the virtual assistant Alexa. Since its release, Amazon’s Echo has been a hit, as users have relied on it for everything from a home automation tool to kitchen companion and shopping assistant. Now, the two products, from two technology behemoths, will face off in the marketplace. These devices are still early in their development, and the virtual assistants powering them offer limited abilities. Continue reading Comparing Newly Released Google Home with Amazon Echo

Amazon Alexa Skills Grow Ten-Fold via Third Party Developers

Amazon’s Echo, Dot and Tap smart speakers have started to attract the attention of developers interested in adding so-called skills to Alexa, the speakers’ voice-computing platform. Amazon reports that Alexa now has 1,000 skills, an explosion since Alexa’s skills numbered 130 apps in January. Echo debuted last June, when Amazon offered it by invite; now Amazon has brought Alexa to its Fire TV platform and third party hardware manufacturers have also brought Alexa to other connected devices. Continue reading Amazon Alexa Skills Grow Ten-Fold via Third Party Developers

Researchers Warn That Smart Home Technology is Hackable

The security research community has warned that the Internet of Things, including home security systems, is hackable. Researchers at the University of Michigan and Microsoft have published an in-depth security analysis of Samsung’s SmartThings platform that allows control of home appliances via PC or smartphone. They were able to hack the system, setting off a smoke alarm and opening a digital lock with a “backdoor” PIN. Their findings will be presented at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy later this month. Continue reading Researchers Warn That Smart Home Technology is Hackable

Samsung’s New 4K TV Features Built-In Smart Home Controls

The remote for Samsung’s new flagship television set, currently on display at CES, does much more than change the channels. This TV doubles as a central smart home hub to control the house’s smart devices. With the KS9500 model of the SUHD TV set, users can adjust the lighting, watch the baby monitor, and even create “mood schemes” with a group of smart devices. Samsung also partnered with PlayStation Now and GameFly to get video games on the TV without the need for a separate console. Continue reading Samsung’s New 4K TV Features Built-In Smart Home Controls

Sony Launches Crowdfunding Platform for Employee Projects

Sony launched First Flight, a crowdfunding platform/online store for its employees’ projects seeking outside funding. In the company’s Creative Lounge, employees and outsiders can develop pitches and construct prototype products. Some of these nascent projects have been presented to senior Sony executives, and Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai has given the Seed Acceleration Project (SAP) a relatively large amount of autonomy. Among the more developed products is the HUIS programmable universal remote. Continue reading Sony Launches Crowdfunding Platform for Employee Projects

Smart Home Push Continues, Despite Slow Consumer Adoption

Numerous tech giants, startups and telecoms have recently introduced new smart home products, hubs, sensors and apps, yet consumer adoption has been comparatively slow, as people take their time getting comfortable with the concept. However, that did not slow manufacturers such as Samsung, LG and Whirlpool from demonstrating new connected appliances at CES. And while major players including Google, Lowe’s, Apple and others continue to push various smart home solutions, progress of the digital home has so far been incremental. Continue reading Smart Home Push Continues, Despite Slow Consumer Adoption

Best Buy Plans to Offer Smart Home Hub via New Peq Service

According to videos recently posted to YouTube, Best Buy will offer a smart home hub through a $9.99-per-month service called Peq, which is provided by the newly launched SmartHome Ventures. Ted Schremp, CEO of SmartHome Ventures, suggests that Peq makes setting up and operating home automation and security very simple. Best Buy will become the fourth major retailer to join the home automation space following Lowe’s Iris, Staples Connect and Home Depot’s deal with Wink-Quirky. Continue reading Best Buy Plans to Offer Smart Home Hub via New Peq Service

Internet of Things: Samsung Purchases Startup SmartThings

ETCentric community member Lee Lanselle forwarded us news that Samsung has acquired SmartThings, maker of smart-home controllers, for around $200 million. While SmartThings will continue to operate independently under CEO Alex Hawkinson, its three facilities are expected to move to Palo Alto to become part of Samsung’s Open Innovation Center (run by former Google and AOL exec David Eun). SmartThings, which is owned by Physical Graph Corp., began in 2012 as a Kickstarter project. Continue reading Internet of Things: Samsung Purchases Startup SmartThings

Wearable Tech Innovators Have an Eye on the Smart Home

Although wearables are a relatively new category in the digital marketplace, manufacturers are already looking to expand beyond the wrist to the smart home. “The [home security] market largely didn’t move from the 1970s,” explains Michael Wolff, founder of NextMarket Insights. “It was always high-end proprietary systems, but it’s being reinvented in the last couple of years.” Wearables are a great source of data, such as biometrics, goes the argument, and therefore can interface nicely with smart home applications. Continue reading Wearable Tech Innovators Have an Eye on the Smart Home

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