LG Electronics Vice Chairman & CEO Jo Seong-jin and President & CTO Dr I.P. Park set out their vision for integrating AI into the company’s evolving strategy
Your keynote Think Wise, Be Free: Living Freer with AI will outline LG’s ThinQ strategy for AI. How important is AI as part of LG’s overall strategy moving into the future?
Jo Seong-jin: We believe that AI technology in the consumer electronics industry is becoming very important to understand user needs and enable them to live a better life. LG strives to deliver the increased availability of freer and smarter choices in everyday living through LG ThinQ.
Our focus is on AI that thinks and acts from the user’s perspective rather than simply promoting the technology while seeking to deliver practical values to them. To play a leading role in AI industry, LG maintains its Open Strategy; Open Connectivity, Open Platform, and Open Partnership.
What is different about your AI strategy and philosophy?
Dr. I.P. Park: LG ThinQ was born out of the philosophy of LG; People, Sincerity and Basics. As LG puts emphasis on important values of consumers, LG ThinQ focuses on maximising the user experience based on its three key pillars: Evolve, Connect and Open.
The first is the ability to evolve with time based on continually increasing communication with users.
The second is the ability to connect seamlessly through LG’s diverse product portfolio eliminating the traditional constraints of space and time.
And the third is the ability to offer better solutions through openness for users with diverse needs and tech preferences in their homes, whether it comes from our own or from an external partner’s solution.
Why go for an “open platform, open partnership and open connectivity”?
Jo Seong-jin: Simply put, our strategy is to provide the best AI experience for LG customers, leveraging the complementary capabilities of leading partners across the ecosystem. It’s not just about us. So, in terms of “Open Connectivity” we want to expand connectivity with other devices outside the smart home. Given our new membership in OCF, we’re actively participating in and leading the standardisation of the AI market. For “Open Platform”, we’re continuously expanding connectivity with external companies by setting up platforms designed with our partners in mind and for “Open Partnership” we’re diversifying our smart home services through partnerships with businesses in other sectors.
How does this translate into everyday use?
Dr. I.P. Park: Well, with LG ThinQ, we’re aiming to reinforce every facet of life for users to make daily routines simpler and enable them to do more of what they love, which means giving them the freedom for a better life.
Specifically, LG ThinQ is to present bene ts for every aspect of life in vital areas: clothing care, food, living spaces, travel, and entertainment. For instance, your home will know what kind of day you had in the office and prepare just the right evening when you get home, while your kitchen will learn from what you see on TV, order what you need and message your car to pick up your order on the way home. There are so many examples in ways LG ThinQ really bene ts and improves users’ everyday lives.
Your belief in AI dates back a long way. Please tell us more about the path that has led you to this point.
Jo Seong-jin: We’re a lifestyle company. LG’s mission is Innovation for a Better Life and for this reason, we’ve believed that AI could be best harnessed for the consumer market through household appliances. From early on we realised that because appliances were associated with ‘chores’, this was one area that was ripe for innovation, creating a technology that could provide greater convenience to its users than ever before.
We made many attempts to incorporate AI technology into our products, one of our first being a voice control feature in LG mobile phones back in the 90s. Afterwards in 2010s, with the re-emergence of the hype for AI technology, air- conditioners with voice-recognition capabilities were launched.
Finally, with our launch of LG ThinQ, our AI brand, in January 2018, our efforts to combine AI and appliances accelerated rapidly. Aligned with our mantra of “Innovation for a Better Life”, we will work continuously to create user-centric AI products that provide consumers with greater convenience.
WE WANT TO EXPAND CONNECTIVITY WITH OTHER DEVICES OUTSIDE THE SMART HOME.
Your AI lab in Seoul has already brought some impressive innovations. Please tell us about these.
Dr. I.P. Park: LG opened an AI Lab in Seoul to tie together all its diverse AI research in technologies that recognise, deduce and learn from voice, video and sensors. It has contributed to the development of the world’s first space-learning air- conditioner as well as intelligent refrigerators, washing machines and robot vacuum cleaners.
These products incorporate voice, image, biometric recognition features as well as deep learning algorithms crucial to AI products. With our ever-expanding global R&D network, we will continuously invest in AI research to provide our customers with practical values and bene ts.
Following on from the opening of your R&D labs in Korea, you have just announced the opening of a new partnership in Toronto. What does the partnership entail, and how will it bring even further innovations to the fore?
Jo Seong-jin: LG Electronics recently established an AI Lab in Toronto in collaboration with leaders in academia and start-ups. As an extension of the newly expanded LG Silicon Valley AI Lab in Santa Clara, the addition of the Toronto AI Lab will enhance LG’s global research capabilities and support LG’s vision of AI as a key future growth engine.
In addition, we entered a five- year research partnership with the University of Toronto, an institution recognised worldwide for its AI and machine learning expertise, particularly in the area of deep learning. Through this, we will cooperate to build on our “Open platform, Open Partnership, Open Connectivity” strategy to expand the AI ecosystem.
We believe these partnerships will play a crucial role in developing source technologies that define the future. The new lab will capitalise on the expertise of researchers at the University, who will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with LG’s growing global R&D network, and thus create maximum synergy.
How important is IFA as a platform for LG to explain strategies and innovations like these?
Dr. I.P. Park: IFA acts as an important gateway to Europe, an extremely important market for LG Electronics. With the high number of leading technological companies and enthusiastic visitors and participators, IFA is the perfect platform for LG to engage both our customers and partners.
As the ideal environment for us to showcase our innovative technology and products, participating in IFA is definitely more than worthwhile. Our performance at the event is also a significant indicator of the success of our businesses, continuously used as a base in preparing and planning for the future
Photo: Jo Seong-jin, Vice Chairman & CEO, LG Electronics; Dr I.P. Park, President & CTO, LG Electronics