Samsung has acquired a Greek tech startup called Innoetics. The financial details of the buyout deal were not disclosed, but Samsung reportedly paid under $43 million for the acquisition. Innoetics specialises in developing an advanced text-to-speech and voice-to-speech technology that among other things can mimic a person’s voice just by listening to it – making AI voices more human-like than before.
How Samsung is planning to leverage from this acquisition remains to be seen. Samsung may use this technology to improve Bixby, or integrate it in its rumoured Amazon Echo competitor. The company could also use this unique technology to introduce a completely new product category, as Samsung is not known to shy away from branching out into many fields.
Samsung confirmed the acquisition to TechCrunch. In an emailed statement, the company said, “Samsung has agreed to acquire Innoetics. Samsung is always exploring ways to deepen our relationships with companies like Innoetics whose technologies present an opportunity to strengthen Samsung’s capabilities.”
Innoetics was founded in 2006 and delves in developing character-heavy and expressive synthetic voices that can read aloud audiobooks, act in games, or even narrate fairy tales. According to TechCrunch, the technology by Innoetics is very advanced, so much so that it can “listen to a person speaking, train on what that person is saying, and then read out a piece of completely unrelated text in that same voice.”
Essentially, its tech revolves around making AI speech more human-like in future products. Up until now, Innoetics only worked on B2B services. Samsung has made many acquisitions in the past, and the recent one in the voice-based tech field includes startup Viv Labs. The expertise from this startup was used to design and launch its own assistant Bixby this year.