Samsung’s new Star Wars-like bot could become the digital hub of the connected home — and that should worry Google and Amazon

Samsung CEO BK Yoon

Mike Shields, the former advertising editor for Business Insider who is now CEO of Shields Strategic Consulting, argues that Samsung’s new robot Ballie has the potential to take on Google and Amazon’s voice assistants.
Nearly 29 million smart speakers were sold in 2019, and voice assistants played a big role in 2020’s CES.
Ballie is incredibly cute — and in trying to control the rest of your bots, terrifying at the same time.
Whichever device becomes the hub of the home could play an incredibly powerful role for the future of media and advertising.
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Could BB-8 kill the Empire by himself?

Not likely. But Samsung’s new Ballie robot, which shares — as many have noted — a striking resemblance to the BB-8 droid from Star Wars, did make me think about a potential epic battle.

Did Samsung just deliver a Death Star-like blast at the digital evil empires — Google and Amazon — in an adorable package?

Put another way, could simple home robots like Ballie take down voice assistants — and upend the battle to control the ecosystem of the home?

In just a few short years, every gadget lover in America seemed to buy a Google Assistant and or an Amazon Echo. “Google and Amazon are dominating this category,” said GroupM’s global chief product officer Jack Smith during a tour at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this week. “And Google may be just a bit ahead.”

This was highly evident at CES, where so many device manufacturers boasted about their voice assistant connectivity — and Google’s voice marketing was everywhere.

There were nearly 29 million smart speakers sold in 2019, according to the researcher Canalys.

On the surface, the stakes with voice assistants are massive. If consumers are headed toward living in fully wired smart homes in the near future, whoever builds the device that emerges as the hub of that home would be in an incredibly powerful position for the future of media and advertising. If down the road you use Alexa to talk to everything in your house — your TV, your fridge, etc. — think about all the data Amazon collects and influence it wields.

So what if Samsung steals that pole position?

“It’s a very interesting question,” Smith said.

The bots are coming, and you’ll need one to control them all

Interestingly, the idea behind Ballie is to not supply answers to all the world’s questions, but to tell other devices — including other bots — what to do.

(This assumes, of course, that we all end up with loads of digital devices that we’ll want Ballie to talk to, like a robot vacuum, a smart TV, smart dishwasher, smart fridge, digital thermostat, etc. A big “if” indeed.)

“They want to be a bridge between devices,” Smith said. “That’s simultaneously interesting and absolutely terrifying.”

Is Ballie that terrifying? It’s actually incredibly cute. In the demo I watched, a presentation gave Ballie gentle voice commands, and Ballie told another cute robot to clean up the floor.

It was awfully …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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