|Dag Kittlaus, CEO of Viv Labs, speaks on stage during the Samsung Developers Conference in San Francisco,Wednesday. / REUTERS-Yonhap|
By Nam Hyun-woo
SAN FRANCISO -- Samsung Electronics is putting enhanced emphasis on the scalability of its ecosystem, in recognition of the growing necessity to have developers ready before throwing new hardware and devices onto the market.
This recognition could be seen during the Samsung Developer Conference (SDC) 2018 in San Francisco, which began its two-day session Wednesday (local time).
"One of the most meaningful changes in Samsung Electronics is that it has a greater understanding of the developer ecosystem," a senior official at the tech giant said on the sidelines of the show.
"It is in line with the recognition that a new form factor (hardware design aspects) requires optimized services and content before it makes an entrance to the market. Developers are interested in how the new form factor can create new experiences and how they can prepare for that."
During the show, Samsung Electronics IT & Mobile Communications President Koh Dong-jin also stressed, "We know we can't change people's lives alone …. It will take partners who share our commitment to innovation inspired by people."
Such remarks were followed by an announcement that Samsung Electronics will open up its digital assistant Bixby to developers with a program called the Bixby Developer Studio, so they can better use the artificial intelligence (AI) platform for their services.
"This means you will be using the same exact tools we use. You will have full access to every deep set of functionality we use to build Bixby today," Samsung Electronics Mobile R&D Vice President and Viv Labs CEO Dag Kittlaus said. Samsung acquired Viv Labs, an AI platform firm, in 2016.
"And this opening up of AI to anybody will result in a Cambrian moment with massive expansion of new assistant capabilities that will make Bixby a much more powerful and meaningful part of your day."
By using Bixby Developing Studio, Viv Labs Chief Technology Officer Adam Cheyer demonstrated how fast and easily developers can create Bixby Capsules, which is Samsung Electronics' term for a set of skills and actions the AI can practice, by making one within five minutes.
Along with the new developer tool, the company also announced the release of a series of application programming interfaces (APIs) for Bixby on multiple Samsung devices, which include not only smartphones but also its smart TVs.
For its internet of things SmartThings platform it also unveiled a new suite of tools in the redesigned SmartThings Developer Workspace. These tools include SmartThings Cloud Connector, SmartThings Device Kit and SmartThings Hub Connector. Developers can build and launch the platform, as well as easily integrate various devices.
"Samsung Electronics already has strong fundamentals in developing hardware. What's left and important is how to empower them and our answer is Bixby which will be scaled up by developers," said the Samsung official who requested anonymity.
"More devices, more languages and an open and scalable AI ecosystem will lay the groundwork for Bixby to be our singular commitment to AI," Samsung Electronics Mobile Communications Business Executive Vice President Chung Ui-suk said.
"Today represents a new era in intelligence, an era of truly open AI where billions of devices can be infused with intelligence by developers for the benefit of consumers."