Harman CEO: Samsung will outdo Google, Amazon with AI speaker

Efe Udin
Sep 5, 2017

IFA 2017 was not only for the unveiling of new products, it was also used as an opportunity to strengthen existing business relationships. Samsung Electronics has created a formidable relationship with its new affiliate, Harman International, after the chiefs of the two firms held an exclusive private meeting at the IFA 2017 conference held in Berlin, Germany some days ago. This association appears to be very vital for the manufacturing giant to launch an “unbeatable” artificial intelligence device next year. Harman is a US audio and car electronics maker which was acquired by Samsung for $8 billion in March.

The details about this private meeting are not public, but the in-house meeting, which took about 30 minutes, was set up by Harman exclusively for distributors and business partners. The president and CEO of the consumer electronics business at Samsung Electronics, Yoon Boo-keun was present as well as the CEO of Harman International, Dinesh Paliwal. After the meeting, Paliwal informed The Korea Herald that the discussions were centered around the ongoing collaboration on the development of the upcoming Samsung AI speaker.

Paliwal's statement includes:

“A significant level of joint research and development of the device is underway,”...“The Samsung speaker will have a better AI platform than Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa.”

The ultimate goal of the Samsung speaker is to build an AI ecosystem. This speaker would flawless platform that will be compatible with multiple home appliances and mobile devices Paliwal said. He has all confidence that the first product to be developed by these companies would be a ground breaker. Paliwal added:

“What we are going to launch will be a whole new ecosystem,”...“It will be a platform that will be able to connect all devices and home appliances.”

Paliwal is not the only one who has spoken about this expected "hit" device. His Samsung counterpart, Yoon held a press conference a day before the meeting with Harman in which he vouched to launch a peerless AI device next year. He got emotional when expressed “devastation” about the absence of Lee Jae-Yong, the de facto leader of the conglomerate who has been sentenced to five years in jail for bribery. On Friday, Yoon traversed the booths at the 160,000-square-meter Messe Berlin by Samsung’s partners and competitors, including Miele, Bosch, Toshiba, Sony, and Loewe, before reaching Harman’s private venue. The series of meetings preceding the release of this AI speaker continues in October when Paliwal will visit Seoul to meet with Samsung officials on the operation and management issues of Harman.

We all know that Samsung is a major player in the manufacturing industry globally. However, there is no hiding the fact that a bulk of its business hangs on the smartphone market. Samsung is known for the development of premium smartphones and there is a current dive in the growth of premium smartphones market which is probably as a result of the influx of all sorts of cheap products (some even turn out to be durable) from China and India. Thus, it is definitely the right time for Samsung to look into the car electronics market. This AI speaker will bring nearly all objects to an unprecedented level of connectivity and Samsung being already “better than Google and Microsoft” more sophisticated home appliances and wireless products and services would be simply unsurpassable once the Samsung AI ecosystem touches down.

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