Back in May of this year, Adam Cheyer and Dag Kittlaus showed off their new attempt at building a breakthrough artificial intelligence-based assistant.
They called it Viv, and they showed it off to the world earlier this year. Viv is an AI-based assistant, by default, but it’s one that’s built on bringing together as many third-party resources as possible. In the demo earlier this year, Kittlaus showed how easy it is to pay a friend, simply by telling Viv to execute the action. He just had to tap a pay confirmation and the $20 was sent.
These ideas have been adopted by other assistants, of course, but Viv’s strengths have always been the open platform, in which any company can be tapped, and their platform or resources mined, for the best possible results for the user. It’s been billed as a more powerful version of Siri, which makes sense, as Viv was put together by the creators of Siri.
And now Samsung has acquired it.
As for why Viv was a perfect match for Samsung, Kittlaus had this to say:
“They ship 500 million devices a year. You asked me onstage about what our real goal is, and I said ubiquity.
“If you take a look around what’s going on in the market these days, and our readiness to really expand on our distribution, it made perfect sense when we discovered that our visions are so completely aligned, and our assets using the core technology in this huge distribution, the opportunity that now is the right time, and Samsung’s the right partner.”
Samsung’s acquisition of Viv is being handled by the mobile arm of the company, but, according to Samsung Senior Vice President Jacopo Lenzi, the reaches of Viv are being considered for other areas the company has covered. Essentially, it sounds like while Samsung will put a focus on mobile for Viv moving forward, Samsung’s other platforms and markets might see the assistant adopted in the future:
“This is an acquisition that is being done by the mobile team, but we clearly see the interest across our devices,” says Samsung SVP Jacopo Lenzi in an interview. “From our perspective and from the client’s perspective, the interest and the power of this really comes from taking advantage of the Samsung scale overall, as well as the richness of the touch points we have with consumers.”
Google is pushing forward with Assistant, an AI- and machine learning-based platform that will be available on its new Pixel smartphones, but also roll out to support other platforms in the future. Siri, Apple’s digital personal assistant, is available on iOS and now macOS as well, making it possible to access the platform from a variety of devices.
Samsung’s goal is obviously to compete with companies that are making a big push into AI, and it sounds like Viv might be a big step in that direction.