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House-grown innovation driving South Korea’s voice assistant market | by Asia AI Information

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Picture credit score: SK Telecom

In response to a latest report by Canalys, South Korea’s sensible speaker development price is second solely to China with Canalys predicting 132% development throughout 2019. It’s now nicely publicised that China’s personal sensible speaker producers are driving China’s 166% market development. So, what’s the catalyst for South Korea’s development? It might nicely be home-grown innovation.

SK Telecom, South Korea’s largest wi-fi operator, launched NUGU in 2016 — the primary AI-virtual assistant for the Korean language (so, two years after the U.S. Amazon Alexa launch).

The operator launched its first NUGU Wi-Fi sensible speaker in September 2016 and offered a reported 150,000 models throughout its first yr. Since then, SK Telecom has launched various new units together with a transportable out of doors model of the gadget in 2017 (the NOGU Mini), a retail retailer resolution, the in-car digital assistant (T Map X NUGU) and, this yr, the brand new NUGU Nemo AI speaker, which features a 7-inch color show.

One yr after the primary NUGU was offered, the nation’s largest telco, KT, launched GiGA Genie. Positioned because the world’s first AI TV set-top field service, GIGA Genie permits customers to make use of voice instructions to decide on programmes music, voice calls, residence cameras and site visitors data.

Korean Web teams KaKao Corp and Naver additionally launched their first sensible audio system in 2017. Naver unveiled its WAVE sensible speaker throughout 2017 primarily based on its Clova AI platform. Shortly after LG introduced that — though it had its personal SmartThinQ Hub — it was additionally going to fabricate Clova sensible audio system. This yr, Naver will make the “Clova Auto” app out there, which is linked to Toyota’s Good Gadget Hyperlink (SDL). Naver unveiled its Clova AI platform to a world viewers for the primary time in January’s CES in Las Vegas.

Two years after NUGU’s launch, Google House was launched to South Korea, in sync with the roll-out of Google’s digital assistant providers within the Korean language. Nevertheless, while Google House, Apple’s Siri and Samsung’s Bixby now all assist the Korean language, Amazon’s Alexa nonetheless lags, with no assist for Korean.

South Korea’s put in base of sensible audio system reached 1 million in 2017, three million in 2018 and is predicted to high eight million models by the tip of 2019. A the tip of final yr roughly one in seven properties had a wise speaker and so, family penetration is ready to greater than double this yr.

As a consequence of their early funding within the AI voice assistant market, many of the utility growth for digital assistants is being pushed by the Korean digital and telecom sectors. SK Telecom’s newest NUGU voice service is a cooking assistant that may advise on step-by-step preparation of some 2,200 recipes. The service was developed in partnership with a South Korean cooking journal.

South Korean corporations have actually grabbed the rising AI voice assistant alternative with each arms. They’ve developed subtle AI platforms, proceed so as to add OEM agreements with electronics and car producers, plus partnerships with international know-how firms. Korea additionally appears to have assembled all of the components for quick rising marketplace for AI voice providers and content material at residence. As a consequence of continued innovation throughout totally different Korean AI assistant platforms, the nation’s aggressive surroundings can also be richer and extra numerous than the two-horse race within the US.

China’s sensible speaker producers are presently having fun with stellar development and now appear to have already taken the lion’s share of the worldwide market. Nevertheless, it could be short-sighted to rule out the South Koreans. In spite of everything, Samsung has led international cell phone gross sales undisputed for the previous eight years, so why not a world Korean sensible speaker model?

A brief model of this text was initially printed by Carrington Malin in Asia AI Information every day e mail publication on four July 2019.

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