LG ramps up AI acquisition to grow smart home business

LG ramps up AI acquisition to grow smart home business
A disclosure from LG at IFA 2017 in Berlin revealed the company’s increasing focus on smart home business, as the company plans to double the venture’s annual investment budget by 2020.

“LG officially seeks to acquire some AI companies,” said Song Dae-Hyun, head of home appliance and air solutions at LG, according to a report by The Korea Herald.

Song said LG aims to grow its smart home business by continuing to invest in artificial intelligence and Internet of Things technologies, through acquisitions. “As for the AI business, inorganic growth would be more effective… However so far, many acquisition projects fell apart due to market conditions.”

While finding a proper AI firm to purchase, LG is also strengthening its collaboration with Google and Amazon on home voice control technologies.

LG does have its own voice technology and smart home AI platform called DeepThinQ. Compared to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa platforms, however, its voice technology only speaks Korean and the platform is less accepted in terms of supported devices.

Making the smart home platform less exclusive gives LG’s customers more freedom on choosing what they prefer to use, Song said.

The company has showcased smart TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines with Alexa voice control; while seven of its home appliance products support Google Assistant. Furthermore, all of its home appliance lineups this year are equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity.

Samsung, LG’s greatest competitor, has also announced its future plan for the smart home sector – making all of its home appliance products connected and making available a united control platform by 2020. The company’s current platform, Samsung Connect, should be the united platform that’s specified in the statement.

Similar to LG’s products, Samsung’s smart home appliances also support both Alexa and Google Assistant. The company already has its own AI assistant called Bixby, which was developed through the acquisition of Viv, an AI startup founded by Siri’s creator.

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