Len Klie

Samsung Delves Deeper into the Speech Market

Samsung Electronics quietly last week acquired Innoetics, a Greek startup offering text-to-speech and speech-to-speech technologies. Financial terms of the deal were not reported.

Though it is unclear yet what Samsung plans to do with the technology, most people in the industry expect the electronics maker to roll its capabilities into Bixby, Samsung’s artificial intelligence-based virtual assistant built with technologies it gained in its acquisition of Viv Labs in October. Bixby is expected to be the central component of a smart home speaker that Samsung is reportedly building to rival Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod, among other similar devices.

Samsung has delayed release of its Bixby product as it struggles to overcome language barriers related to its natural language processing.  Innoetics’ technology currently supports 19 languages.

Samsung’s deal involving Innoetics comes around the same time that Chinese search engine giant Baidu bought Seattle’s Kitt.ai, providers of a platform for building chatbots and voice-based applications that involve natural language understanding.