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[IFA 2018] Tech titans highlight AI-driven lifestyles

Samsung, LG pledge to change people’s lives with AI

By Song Su-hyun

Published : Aug. 30, 2018 - 13:10

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BERLIN -- How can artificial intelligence change people’s daily lives and how close is it to doing so? These are the two major questions that leading technology companies seek to answer at the IFA 2018, which kicks off in the German capital on Friday. 

“You will think wisely and be free with AI,” Jo Seong-jin, CEO and vice chairman of LG Electronics, said in an advance copy of his speech to be delivered at the opening ceremony of the IFA 2018.

The LG CEO was to elaborate on how the company is trying to apply AI to its home appliance products and the benefits this will bring consumers. 

Around 1,800 tech firms, including manufacturers of home appliances, consumer electronics and mobile devices, and research institutes with future technologies are participating in the biggest electronics trade show in Europe, which takes place for six days in late August every year. 

For Korean electronics makers like Samsung and LG, the IFA is a significant opportunity to introduce new flagship products to the European market, showcase technologies, and boost sales in the region for the remaining months of the year. 

Samsung allocated the largest portion of its exclusive exhibition hall at City Cube Berlin for the exhibition of AI-powered home appliances. 

CEO Kim Hyun-suk presents Samsung’s vision for artificial intelligence and the internet of things, during a press conference at City Cube Berlin on Thursday. (Samsung Electronics) CEO Kim Hyun-suk presents Samsung’s vision for artificial intelligence and the internet of things, during a press conference at City Cube Berlin on Thursday. (Samsung Electronics)

“People’s daily lives will be totally different from now in the era of super connectivity with AI, IoT (internet of things) and 5G technologies,” said Kim Hyun-suk, CEO of the consumer electronics unit at Samsung. 

Targeting millennials in Europe, Samsung introduced the voice assistant Bixby-controlled Family Hub refrigerator, the Dual Cook Flex oven and the Quick Drive washing machine with AI Q-rator. 

The Dual Cook Flex oven is popular in Europe among young consumers who tend to cook two dishes at a time, according to the company. 

“More than 70 percent of European millennial consumers spend a lot of time at home, having parties with acquaintances and working from home,” said Daniel Harvie, a marketing official at Samsung’s Europe branch.

“Samsung is making the role of the kitchen more important, and home appliances work as if they are personal assistants as part of applying AI and IoT technologies to all of its products that change lifestyles.” 

Samsung has pledged approximately 25 trillion won ($22.6 billion) of investments in AI, the internet of things and the fifth-generation mobile network by 2020.

“In order for such technologies to actually create value, they should be as simple as talking to a person next to (you),” Kim said. “To make it possible, Samsung is working together with outside developers and partners to expand the ecosystem for the AI assistant Bixby and IoT platform SmartThings.” 

LG is highlighting its AI ThinQ solutions at the IFA. 

More than one-third of the company’s IFA exhibition space centers on AI, with a range of LG ThinQ products displayed in three different lifestyle zones: ThinQ Travel, ThinQ Gourmet and ThinQ Style. 

Each zone is designed to reflect the diverse lifestyles of modern consumers, incorporating AI products into a natural yet futuristic home environment. 

The distinct zones illustrate how the LG ThinQ offers benefits for every aspect of life including style, cuisine, home comfort, mobility and entertainment.

For example, the ThinQ Travel zone demonstrates how easy it is to search for the perfect holiday destination via LG AI TVs, and then book flights and accommodation using the LG G7 ThinQ smartphone. 

LG's robot CLOi is displayed at IFA 2018 in Berlin. (LG Electronics) LG's robot CLOi is displayed at IFA 2018 in Berlin. (LG Electronics)

The ThinQ is operated by Google Assistant, which now supports up to five languages as part of LG’s global strategy to raise the bar for voice control solutions. 

With the Google Assistant built in, LG’s AI TVs will offer a streamlined experience that allows users to manage daily tasks, find answers to questions and control compatible smart home devices, the company said. 

The IoT living room zone designed in collaboration with Italian luxury furniture company Natuzzi showcases how LG’s newest XBOOM AI ThinQ speakers can be used to alter the settings of connected sofas and lighting installations. 

At the gourmet zone, visitors can experience firsthand the advanced capabilities of the intelligent InstaView ThinQ refrigerator, which is able to recommend recipes and adjust the cooking conditions of the connected oven and other kitchen appliances. 

In addition, the company is presenting its voice-controlled Styler ThinQ for the first time to European buyers and consumers. The flagship steam closet is designed to enhance user convenience. It helps to keep clothes clean, hygienic and stylish -- all of which can now be achieved through voice commands. 

“LG will deliver differentiated value by applying absolutely capable AI solutions to a number of home appliances in order to improve customers’ life quality,” said Han Chang-hee, head of global marketing at LG. 

By Song Su-hyun, Korea Herald correspondent (