Digital transformation based on AI (Artificial Intelligence) and big data has emerged as the topic for South Korean industries. Not only is the electronics industry is going through digital transformation, but non-IT industries such as finance and distribution are also actively going through digital transformation.
The electronics industry is one of the industries that started going through digital transformation first as most of electronic products are based on digitization and the industry is seen as a high-tech industry.
Major electronics companies such as Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics already saw digital transformation as an important competitive edge for the future since many years ago and they have been actively investing in advanced technologies such as IoT (Internet of Things) and AI. They have innovated their production processes based on these technologies and have been proactive in applying the technologies.
As a result, their smart devices and home appliances have completely become different products. Rather than being home appliances that consumers use, they have become products that understand consumers.
Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics have been putting many efforts to apply digital technologies to their products and technologies as they are going to need products based on digital technologies in order to become leaders in an era based on digitalization.
In 2015, Samsung Electronics presented a blueprint regarding connecting all of its products to IoT until the end of last year. At that time, President Yoon Bu-geun announced the company’s vision during his keynote speech at “CES 2015” that the company would connect every daily necessity to IoT. In order to realize the vision, the company acquired an IoT company called “SmartThings”. Since then, it has developed its IoT technology much more and established a system that connects all of its devices to IoT just like its announcement made in 2015.
It has also been very active in securing necessary technologies as fast as possible. Its venture capital company called “Samsung Next” set up offices in Seoul, Silicon Valley, Berlin, and Tel Aviv and has been actively investing in companies in fields such as AI, IoT, software (SW), and big data. It aggressively acquired companies with exceptional technologies and applied their technologies to its technologies and created new services.

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LG Group established a venture capital company called “LG Technology Ventures” in Silicon Valley and it has been actively investing in future technologies such as AI, SW, quantum computing, and autonomous driving through LG Technology Ventures.
With these efforts, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics have applied AI technology to various products and are offering new values to consumers. In case of their AI-based washing machines that were introduced in 2020, they are able to measure the weight the soil level of laundries and recommend the appropriate amount of detergent and the mode. If they are able to figure out the types of laundries, they are able to provide an even better mode and amount of detergent needed.
Even during washing, they are able to check the soil level of laundries and adjust cycle time and number of cycles. Owners of these washing machines are able to save modes that they use often and select a desired mode just by clicking a button. The washing machines’ feature that allows them to be linked to dryers is also very useful. Washing machines are now able to understand consumers through AI and big data technologies and have become totally different products.
Importance of AI can also be seen through other products as well. 8K TVs that have recently started to receive the spotlight will not receive same amount of attention without AI technology. There is hardly any 8K content in broadcasting or the movie industry. As a result, 8K TVs are practically useless without 8K contents. However, this issue has been solved through AI technology. TV manufacturers have developed a technology that allows them to upgrade contents with standard quality, Full HD, or 4K to 8K contents and incorporated the technology into a processor and mounted their 8K TVs with the processor. As AI processor analyzes images continuously through machine learning, it has led to development of 8K upscaling technology. AI processor allows various contents to be played on 8K TVs, and 8K TVs provide a new experience in return.

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Because AI technologies go through development and improvement continuously, there are high expectations on what the future holds. LG Electronics’ presentation during CES 2019 shows steps in AI development well. LG Electronics presented efficiency (1st), personalization (2nd), reasoning (3rd), and exploration (4th) as steps to AI development. The point is that AI technology needs to aim for better lives of customers as it goes up a step.
The 1st step involves AI operating systems or products based on defined commands or conditions and raising level of convenience for users.
The 2nd step involves AI learning different patterns through interactions with users. An example is an AI-based refrigerator figuring out what kind of food that a user enjoyed in the past and recommending recipes depending on situations.
The 3rd step involves AI understanding causes of particular patterns and behaviors that are caused through use of various products and services by learning cause-and-effect relationship. Based on this learning, it is able to predict a user’s needs even in a new situation. It collects information from different products and services rather than an individual product and understands cause-and-effect relationship comprehensively.
The last step involves AI making lives more prosperous through experiment learning. Experiment learning is a process of AI finding a better solution after drawing logical inferences and making hypotheses and verifying the hypotheses. For example, AI that has learned that a user is able to sleep peacefully if the surrounding temperature is set at 17°C can make a suggestion to the user first about turning on a cooling fan while the user is sleeping as a cooling fan can circulate cool air and help with maintaining an appropriate temperature during sleep.
“What new values can be offered through digital technologies such as IoT and AI has become an important element for home appliances and TVs.” said one official from the industry. “AI and data processing capability have become important competitive edge of home appliances and TVs.”
Staff Reporter Kwon, Geonho |