Samsung Developers Conference 2016: A More Connected Future

After a whirlwind day at Modern CX, I hurried my way back up to San Francisco for the last day of the Samsung Developers Conference 2016. The morning started out exciting with a giveaway gift of the Samsung Gear 360 Camera.

Raymond (@yuhuaxie) took a bunch of photos with it and found it very convenient to get a stitched 360 photo with one click of a button. Previously in the making of our virtual gadget lab, he had to use an Android phone camera to capture 20+ shots before stitching the photos together to produce one spherical photo.

The automatic stitching is seamless at a glance, but you can still tell where the stitching happened by looking more closely.

The quality of photos taken with Gear 360 still has things left to be desired. The door frame and structure beam of my house all appear to be curvy, the depth of photo looks very shallow, etc. Maybe it is the fish-eye lenses that lead to a lack of depth distance, and distortion of view outside of focus center. This distortion can be avoided with subjects and objects that are a few meters from the camera or if more cameras are used in high-end gig, such as Project Beyond.

A Secure & Connected Future

The topics this year focused on:
  • SecurityKnox, which delivers mobile enterprise security, and Samsung Pay. Samsung Pay uses MST and NFC, makes mobile payment “simple, secure, virtually anywhere.” A group of panelist from MasterCard, Visa and American Express expressed that mobile payments need to be as easy (or easier) than pulling out your credit card, and Samsung Pay MST and NFC enables a “frictionless” experience.
  • The internet of things – Currently there is a fragmented ecosystem of connected devices and manufacturers needed to be democratized. In a keynote, Curtis Sasaki pushed the idea of making connections, not silos. The ARTIK chip is one way to exchange open data amongst devices that originally were not designed to work together.

The ARTIK mascot is a derpy polar bear.

  • Sensors can be used to provide a variety of information/status and start actions. With ARTIK, we were able to meet Otto, Samsung’s adorable smart home robotic personal assistant who was methodically turning off lights and taking pictures. Otto is not a consumer ready product, but it functions very much like Amazon’s Alexa but hosts an HD camera and display. This offers an opportunity to test image and face recognition in home environments.

    Otto, your smart home assistant. It was made using the ARTIK development board, a Raspberry Pi-like computer that can be used with wearables, robots and gadgets.


  • The connected car is launching at the end of this year. A new dongle gives owners of old cars LTE connection. Samsung Connect Auto uses real-time alerts to help consumers improve their driving behavior while offering a Wi-Fi hotspot to create a multimedia center for the car.

Samsung Connect Auto dongle plugs directly into the on-board diagnostics connector.

  • There is also a smart TV and a connected fridge allows you to identify missing ingredients, compose a grocery list and order groceries using the doors of the fridge.

  • Smart healthcare – This is about empowerment, connectivity and health data security. There was local intelligence for health monitoring with the Samsung Simband and a virtual reality relaxation pod provided by Cigna Healthcare. Simband is a cloud-based health analytics service can collect health data from wearables and health monitors.
  • Virtual reality – The 4D experience was highlighted by Escape Rroom VR is an amazing virtual experience where you can touch and move real objects in virtual reality!

  • And of course, there was the obligatory roller coaster experience.

Innovating Ideas

I managed to catch the tail-end of the inspiration keynote which featured a panel of 4 women change-makers from Baobab Studios, Cisco, Intel and Summit Public Schools chatting about how we can change the world and make history.

One of the common themes with innovation was it comes from anywhere in the organization and users, whether that be from the lab or another person’s scratchpad.

Innovation is questioning the status quo. You have to reject “what is,” and THAT is hard. Your moral obligation to make a better quality world should be your guiding principle. You have to make IT happen by putting in the time. Challenge the way the world is now and bring people into the dialogue, even if they do not want to be there.

There will always be a constant steady heartbeat of new technology. To build meaningful tools, we need to ask new questions:

  • What would people do with our technology vs. not what we are doing.
  • What do people care about? Passionate about?
  • What do people find frustrating?
  • What role could technology play in their lives?

We need to bringing sensibility to our future tech. Our future objects will not make sense if they don’t make us happy or more efficient. We need to focus on how to tell a future story that not about how we are seduced by technology; instead, we tell a story about what it will mean for all of us if we do use it.

Overall, we had a lot of fun and learned a lot about what technologies are currently available, where the industry is headed and what emerging technologies are around the corner. Our ideas flourish being surrounded by fellow developers, designers, thinkers and makers.

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