South Korean Internet Businesses Soon to Start Competing with Global AI Speaker Manufacturers

Jul 17, 2017

Internet businesses such as Naver and Kakao are going to join AI (Artificial Intelligence) speaker markets starting from second half of this year and compete with Google and Amazon in order to grab upper hands in global markets.
Naver recently started preorder of its AI speaker called ‘WAVE’ in Japan through its Japanese corporate called Line. Waver is a first device that is applied with Cloud-based AI platform called ‘Clova’, which is co-developed by Naver and Line. First version of WAVE is going to be a beta version and is installed with weather, alarm, music, and conversation functions. It uses Line’s music service called ‘Line Music’ through voice command. Naver is planning to release an official version of WAVE that will have other different functions during this fall.
Naver is going to be closely tied to Line, which has been solidified as the messenger that is used by most Japanese, and emphasize the fact that Naver is an AI speaker that is developed in Japan itself in order to grab upper hands in competitions with foreign AI speakers such as ‘Google Home’ and ‘Amazon Echo’ that are not being used as much in Japan as they do not support Japanese.
“We have not yet decided on when we are going to start selling WAVE in South Korea, but we are going to start selling in Japan first.” said a representative for Naver. “Because there are not businesses that have upper hands in Japanese markets for AI speakers yet, we are going to focus on securing many users as quickly as possible.”

Naver’s AI speaker ‘WAVE’ (Database from The Electronic Times)
<Naver’s AI speaker ‘WAVE’ (Database from The Electronic Times) >

Kakao is planning to release its AI speaker called ‘Kakao Mini’ during third quarter of this year. Kakao Mini, which had its name and designed introduced recently by Kakao, is the first product that is applied with Kakao’s AI voice interface. Kakao’s major services such as KakaoTalk, Melon, and Daum can be used by voice command.
Google’s AI speaker called ‘Google Home’, which was developed last year, will also be released in South Korea very shortly. In order to release Google Home in South Korea, it recently started beta-test of South Korean version of its voice-based AI assistant called ‘Google Assistant’.
Reason why variety of internet businesses are jumping into AI speaker markets is to secure upper hands in platforms during IoT (Internet of Things) generation. There is a high chance that AI speaker will be the center of home IoT that connects and controls variety of devices.
“Reason why AI speakers, which were released couple years ago, have not developed as generalized devices as Smartphones is because industries are still trying to prove their usability.” said a representative for an IT industry. “Expanding differentiated functions that are linked to other devices and securing contents will be the ones that will determine dynamics of future markets.”
Staff Reporter Oh, Daeseok | ods@etnews.com

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