Apple buys AI startup Silk Labs2018-11-22 18:20 by Daniela
Tags: Apple, AI
Apple has reportedly acquired the AI startup Silk Labs as the Cupertino-based tech giant looks to expand its artificial intelligence and smart home offerings.
Silk Labs is not a well known name in the tech industry but the company was co-founded by Mozilla's former CTO Andreas Gal. The company released a crowdfunded smart home monitoring camera back in 2016 which showed off its lightweight AI tech. Dubbed Sense, the inconspicuous device included facial and object recognition tech that could recognize multiple faces and even pets. It could also play music based on the user's taste and pair with third-party gadgets like Sonos speakers and smart light bulbs.
The acquisition would presumably help Apple fortify its existing device lineup in particular those that use AI technology. Apple is reportedly looking to improve AI-enabled products, including HomePod, which lags behind Amazon Echo devices and Google Home. Amazon and Google accounted for 70 percent share of the global smart speaker shipments in the first quarter of 2018, with Apple selling 600,000 HomePods in the period.
Silk Lab's focus on privacy may have also been a draw for Apple: the startup says its algorithm only sends "key" video moments to the cloud, instead of a constant stream, and that it anonymizes data on its Silk Intelligence platform.
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