Samsung unveiled new features and upgrades for Bixby at its developer conference this week. The move from voice assistant to on-device processing and the new Bixby Home Platform cement Bixby’s place within Samsung, despite persistent rumors of its sale or closure.
Samsung Bixby is currently at the heart of more than 300 million devices, according to the company. Samsung highlighted how it increased Bixby’s speed by 35% by moving its processing from the cloud to the device, a change first showcased at the Samsung Unpacked event earlier this year. State-of-the-art processing combines with new and improved deep neural networks to increase the efficiency of task management and enable AI to transcribe audio to text without the cloud. The biggest news for Bixby developers has come in the form of the new Bixby Home platform. The platform acts as a sort of language processing filter for the voice assistant, allowing it to take into account the context of connected devices when executing a query.
“What previously required multiple voice commands is now possible with a single command that the device understands and executes accordingly,” said Joohwan Kim, senior engineer at AI Client Development Group. “The announced update will allow developers to leverage multiple contexts when adding devices. Smarter device control has been made possible by Bixby Home Platform, an intelligent layer that sits between Bixby Voice – which provides natural language understanding and issues commands – and the Internet of Things (IoT) layer of SmartThings – which provides connection and operation between devices. Orders that previously had to be done individually for separate devices can now be completed more efficiently using the Bixby Home platform.
These improvements and updates should put an end to rumors that Samsung is ditching Bixby in favor of Google Assistant. Earlier this year, the company rolled out a major upgrade to the voice assistant and adjusted it so that it no longer requires training to understand its wake word. The AI is also now more personalized in its suggestions. While concern about Bixby’s future raised by Samsung’s shutdown of Bixby Vision and the reassignment of Bixby’s developer marketing team, not to mention the departure of Viv co-founder Adam Cheyer, made sense. These updates provide a solid foundation for the future of Bixby. “Bixby is at the center of connected digital experiences,” said Samsung CEO and President DJ Koh, adding that Bixby remains key to the company’s future strategy. That said, there is still an anticipation of a virtual human Sam replacing or joining Bixby.
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