[THE INVESTOR] South Korean mobile messaging giant Kakao will introduce an artificial intelligence-powered voice assistant platform within the first half of this year, joining forerunners in the field such as Amazon, Google, Facebook and local rival Naver.
Kakao, which operates South Korea’s biggest mobile messenger KakaoTalk, announced on March 30 that it has formed a new AI division within the company to develop its AI voice assistant service platform.
The company plans to launch the platform by June, with aims to release smart devices based on the platform, including a speaker that responds to voice commands like the Amazon Echo, by year’s end.
Kakao is looking to adopt its AI-powered voice service into KakaoTalk, portal website Daum and Kakao’s widely used lifestyle apps, including its music streaming service Melon, taxi-hailing mobile app Kakao Taxi and mobile navigation Kakao Navi.
This may come in the form of a smart chatbot that can handle complex tasks, including consumer inquiries, restaurant reservations and online shopping support via KakaoTalk.
The firm will also provide its new AI platform in the form of a software development kit to partners interested in working with Kakao to expand its business landscape.
Kakao expects its new AI division will synergize with Kakao Brain, its AI research and development project that will focus on AI technology in collaboration with outside research institutions.
“With growing attention to AI, the public has been anxiously expecting a new KakaoTalk function that would allow users to exchange messages via voice as well as major improvements to music, mobility, news and online search services via AI technology,” said the head of Kakao’s AI division Kim Byung-hak.
“Equipped with strong Korean language voice recognition and processing prowess, Kakao’s AI assistant platform service, when merged with Kakao’s flagship lifestyle services, is bound to succeed,” Kim said.
By Sohn Ji-young/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org)