Samsung’s Acquisition Of Harman Will Have Us Talking To Our Cars … – Forbes

Posted: Saturday, December 03, 2016

(Photo: JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

Did Samsung acquire Harman for $8bn to bring Viv Voice First technology to cars? originally appeared on Quora: the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Brian Roemmele, Alchemist & Metaphysician, on Quora:

Did Samsung acquire Harman for $8 Billion to bring Viv Voice First technology to cars? Indeed, they have.

Automobiles, Self Driving Or Otherwise, Will Be, By Definition, Voice First Devices

On November 14th, 2016, Samsung acquired Harman, a car electronics and audio systems company for $8 billion dollars. There were no other material bidders.

I have said that all future automobiles, self driving or otherwise will be, by definition, Voice First devices. It seems Samsung agrees. Hot off the surprising acquisition of Viv, created by the folks that brought us Siri, Samsung’s acquisition of Harman will gain valuable relationships with dozens of high end luxury automobile manufactures. From Bentley and Rolls Royce to Audi and Harley Davidson, Harman technology can be found in hundreds of models of automobiles.

Specimen of partnerships between Harman and Auto manufacturers.

Harman has long term relationships with the above mentioned auto manufacturers through these brand names they own or acquired naming licenses:

  • JBL
  • Harman Kardon
  • Mark Levinson
  • AKG
  • Lexicon
  • Infinity
  • Revel
  • Bowers & Wilkins- through licensing of the brand in autos.
  • Bang & Olufsen- through licensing of the brand in autos.

This is really as big news for the automobile industry as it is for the computer industry. Both are on a convergent path. From electric cars to self driving cars, auto manufacturers will become far more like tech companies than they have ever been. So much so, at some point the differences will become difficult to discern as Apple and Google become actively involved in manufacturing autos.

Specimen of a Harman licensed Bang & Olufsen auto speaker system.

No Better Company To Acquire For Entry Into The Voice First Car Interfaces

Harman is in the best possible position to help these auto manufacturers move to a fully customized Voice First interaction. It would be a monumental task for all of these brands to build a Voice First system from the ground up. Samsung is leveraging the decades long relationships they have built to custom tailor a “Voice Brand” for each company. Each will have a personality and a unique experience overlaid upon the Viv technology engine. Samsung acquired Viv earlier this year [2]. Viv was established by some of the founders of Siri Inc, later sold to Apple, and they have been working on far more advanced Voice AI systems.

The technology Viv will bring to these auto manufactures is orders of magnitude ahead of the rudimentary systems we have seen in autos over the last decade. Many of these systems are nothing more than an automobile version of the IVR (interactive Voice Response) systems that everyone hates when calling major corporations. Viv will be proactive and anticipate the intent of the user while continually learning how each driver uses the system and continuing to optimize for that driver and all other drivers with similar needs. This self learning technology literally allows Viv to write its own programming.

Samsung Wants Viv On More Platforms Than Smartphone

Samsung’s vision for acquiring Viv technology (now called Bixby in some use cases) is far beyond smartphones. The company manufactures many products, from washing machines to X-ray systems. They are looking at removing complex menus and commands and moving to a AI assisted voice interactions to short cut to product features.

Specimen of a Samsung dishwasher.

Specimen of a Samsung photocopier.

Specimen of a Samsung Xray machine.

Viv Is One Of The Most Advanced Voice AI Systems Available

Viv operates on a much more complex system than Siri, Alexa and other Voice First systems [3]. Samsung is creating a universal platform across a wide array of products. There is no doubt the company will produce a Voice First device like Echo and Google Home. However Samsung is on its way to moving to the Voice First revolution I predicted. This will bring 50% of all human to computer interactions to voice. Today Samsung is including automobiles.

There is no doubt you will be talking to your car in ways that today we can not imagine. At some point we will wonder how we got by without them.

[1] There is A Revolution Ahead and It Has A Voice

[2] Brian Roemmele’s answer to Was it a mistake for Apple to let Samsung acquire Viv?

[3] Brian Roemmele’s answer to What is the technology of Viv?

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