Samsung has agreed to acquire Innoetics, a startup based in Greece that specializes in text-to-speech and voice-to-speech technology, according to TechCrunch. While it’s not yet clear what Samsung plans to do with Innoetics’ tech, it could use it to enhance Bixby, Samsung’s intelligent voice assistant.
Innoetics’ technology can understand 19 languages, including English, Greek, and a range of Hindi dialects. It can also listen to a user speaking and read completely unrelated text in the user’s voice.
Samsung could use Innoetics to boost the performance of Bixby, which has come under fire recently for its poor language performance. As voice assistant technology advances at an accelerated clip, Samsung will need to rapidly improve Bixby if it hopes to grab a stake in the market. Google and Microsoft are already pulling ahead in the voice assistant market in terms of voice understanding accuracy, leaving Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa behind, according to 360i.
But Samsung could also be looking to leverage Innoetics’ command of multiple languages to grab an early lead in emerging markets, such as India, catapulting it ahead of Apple and Google. India is the second-largest smartphone market globally, trailing only China. However, there is a dearth of voice assistants present presenting a vast opportunity for Samsung.
- Samsung can use its dominant smartphone market share in emerging markets to boost adoption. Samsung’s greatest advantage over Apple and other smartphone rivals is its position as a top smartphone vendor in developing regions. In India, for example, Samsung accounted for 28% of all smartphone shipments in Q1 2017. In contrast, Apple controls just 3% of India’s smartphone market, according to the most recent data.
- Innoetics’ command of localized languages could give Samsung’s voice assistant a head start. The company’s support of several different languages helps set it apart from other voice assistant offerings. Samsung’s gained ability to engage with a wide variety of consumers could enable it to delve even deeper into emerging markets.
As an early entrant to the Indian market, Samsung could capture mindshare and catalyze rapid adoption of Bixby and Samsung’s devices. However, this could take some time — most emerging markets are still catching up to mature markets in terms of wireless infrastructure and access to high-speed networks needed to support sophisticated voice assistants. But getting in early could provide Samsung with a windfall in the mid- to long-term as more users in developing regions gain access to 4G LTE networks.
Jessica Smith, research analyst for BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on the voice assistant landscape that:
- Identifies the major changes in technology and user behavior that have created the voice assistant market that exists today.
- Presents the major players in today’s market and discusses their major weaknesses and strengths.
- Explores the impact this nascent market poses to other key digital industries.
- Identifies the major hurdles that need to be overcome before intelligent voice assistants will see mass adoption.
You can also purchase and download the full report from our research store.