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Competition Getting Severe to Secure Leadership in AI Speaker Ecosystem
Severe Competition for Dominance
Competition Getting Severe to Secure Leadership in AI Speaker Ecosystem
  • By Cho Jin-young
  • July 12, 2018, 11:32
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SK Telecom's smart speaker “Nugu Candle”
SK Telecom's smart speaker “Nugu Candle”

The smart speaker market competition has begun at home and abroad. Using an artificial intelligence (AI) platform, smart speakers recognizes the voice of users and allows them to stream music, search information and check news.


In particular, smart speaker developers are in a tough competition to preoccupy the smart speaker ecosystem. As part of their strategy, they are planning to open smart speaker AI-based platform application program interface (API) and software development kit (SDK) to the public in the second half of the year so that anyone can develop various services using their own AI platforms.

Lee Sang-ho, head of service platform business division at SK Telecom, said, on July 11, “We will open our AI-based platform ‘Nugu’ to the public in October and create our SDK at the same time so that the platform can be used in any devices or services. We were initially planning to open them in May or June this year but we ran behind schedule due to continuous reviews and modifications.”

ICT industry watchers predict that AI will lead the ICT ecosystem in the future. In short, the leader of the AI ecosystem will dominate the ICT industry in the future just like Apple and Google, which led the application ecosystem, have grown after smartphones have appeared. Currently, the AI technology is applied to only smartphones and speakers but it is expected to be extensively used to autonomous vehicles and smart cities in the future.

Samsung Electronics Co. will also introduce “Bixby 2.0,” which opens the API of the Bixby AI platform, soon. The company first used Bixby in its premium smartphone “Galaxy S8” in March 2017. Bixby is available in smartphones, such as the Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S9, at the moment. In addition, it has recently used Bixby in its TV, air conditioners and washing machines.

Kakao Corp. plans to officially disclose an “open builder,” which enables anyone to create chatbots using its AI platform “Kakao I,” in the second half of the year. The company will also release the results produced through cooperation with Hyundai Motor Co. and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors Corp., GS Engineering & Construction Corp. and POSCO Engineering & Construction Co. in order later.

Foreign companies are also making a move quickly to dominate the AI ecosystem in advance. Amazon.com Inc. launched a smart speaker for the first time in the world. The firm used its AI platform “Alexa” in its smart speaker “Echo.” Amazon opened “Alexa Skills Kit” to encourage people to create services and functions using Alexa. The number of Alexa Skills is estimated at more than 30,000. The figure increased to 15,000 in just one year from 1,000 in the second quarter of 2016, and it exceeded 30,000 at the moment.

Mercedes-Benz also announced the Alexa Skill that allows owners to lock or unlock the vehicle or to start the car. A fan of Arsenal Football Club from English Premier League created the Alexa Skill that give information that usually appeal to fans before a game starts, including players who have injuries and player lineup, as well as provide comments after the games.


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