At a show famous for new product announcements, Samsung took a different approach by focusing instead on people and places—and how these things will be transformed by the company’s solutions in the coming years.
In a keynote presentation on Monday evening, Hyun-Suk Kim, president and CEO of Samsung’s consumer electronics division, took the audience on a tour of the company’s process for “creating meaningful experiences” with technology.
“I see 2020 as the start of a new era in technology,” Kim said. “It’s not about what we possess; it’s about our individual needs. We are not looking to spend our money on things; we are looking to buy convenience, peace of mind, and enjoyment. We are looking to experience life. This must drive our innovation.”
Over the course of the 75-minute presentation, Kim welcomed a handful of guests to the stage to highlight the ways Samsung is striving to help improve us, our homes, and our cities. But first, he called upon Ballie, a tiny spheroid robot concept resembling an oversized tennis ball that Kim said was envisioned as an “all-around life companion.” After rolling out on stage to greet Kim, Ballie then continued to follow him as he paced about the large platform. Equipped with cameras, sensors, and connected to a home’s appliances, Ballie can do things like remind you to exercise, amuse your dog, or tell your robotic vacuum where to clean after the dog makes a mess. There was no word, however, on whether Ballie would become available to the public at any point.
The only other kind of device to make its way onto the stage was GEMS, or Gait Enhancing and Motivating System, a combination of wearable equipment and augmented reality glasses that assists with personal training. For a more practical and serious application of tech to the realm of personal care, Samsung highlighted HeartWise, a home-based virtual cardiac rehab program developed in collaboration with Kaiser Permanente.
Beyond the role of Ballie as the friendly little director of the smart home, Federico Casalegno, senior vice president and head of Samsung Design Innovation Center, illustrated some other intelligent living situations around food. Your fridge, powered by the company’s AI assistant Bixby, can detect what’s inside and offer suggestions for things to make for dinner; alternatively, you can generate a meal “playlist” for the week and the fridge will order all of the ingredients automatically.
Like Samsung’s treatment of the smart home, its discussion of smart city tech was also largely conceptual, apart from an announcement of a partnership with international developer Greystar to expand upon its fully connected offerings currently on the market in Seoul. Emily Becher, senior vice president and head of Samsung NEXT Global, expounded on a future in which sensors permeate the built environment and interact with vehicles over 5G networks. She also mentioned a vision in which people could move between different means of conveyance, like from a car to the subway, while paying a fixed rate using your phone.
While lacking in tangible introductions, the presentation offered a stirring glimpse into an intelligent, efficient, and fun future that might not be all too far away.
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