Tech firms double down on AI-powered home appliances

By Shin Ji-hye

In latest move, LG announces plan to adopt ThinQ into home appliances

  • Published : Dec 20, 2017 - 14:53
  • Updated : Dec 20, 2017 - 15:53

Korean tech firms Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are betting on home appliances powered by artificial intelligence.

In its latest move, LG Electronics announced Wednesday it would adopt its artificial intelligence brand ThinQ into all of its home appliances, consumer electronics and services unveiled next year.

ThinQ-powered products and services are able to employ deep learning and communicate with one another, using a variety of AI technologies from other partners as well as LG’s own AI technology, the company said.

For instance, users can control home appliances outside via their smartphones; a washing machine recommends a washing method based on users’ past patterns; and an air-conditioner sends wind to a space where residents are concentrated, LG said. 

“AI is the next frontier in technology and as a leader in home appliances and consumer electronics, we have a responsibility to make AI more approachable and less intimidating,” said Han Chang-hee, head of LG’s Global Marketing Center.

In June, LG opened the Artificial Intelligence Lab in Seoul under the company’s chief technology officer to tie together all its diverse AI research in technologies that recognize, deduce and learn from voice, video and sensors. LG’s AI Lab has contributed to the development of the world’s first space-learning air conditioner as well as intelligent refrigerators, washing machines and robot vacuum cleaners.

LG’s rival Samsung Electronics is also stepping up its efforts to integrate its AI technologies and voice assistant Bixby into all of its home appliances.

Samsung said Bixby 1.0 is designed for Galaxy smartphone users and Bixby 2.0 is intended for home appliances. It launched the upgraded Bixby during the Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco in October. All of its smart TVs launched next year will have Bixby 2.0, it added.

Last month, Samsung set up its first artificial intelligence center under Samsung Research, which was set up by integrating the DMC Research Center and Software Center. The AI center aims to strengthen advanced research related to artificial intelligence, which is the base technology for the “fourth industrial revolution,” according to the tech firm.

“Future home appliances will all be powered by artificial intelligence and voice recognition technologies that will understand consumer behavior and lifestyles to provide more customized services,” said Chang Joon-hyuk, a professor at Hanyang University’s engineering college.

The two tech firms are slated to showcase their new home appliances integrated with artificial intelligence technologies at the upcoming CES in Las Vegas.

By Shin Ji-hye (