SKT to Collaborate with Tech Companies for AI Advancement

SK Telecom CEO Park Jung-ho in a press conference during the CES 2020. / photo courtesy of SK Telecom

SK Telecom’s Chief executive officer Park Jung-ho called for hyper-cooperation from other Korean companies in the development of the artificial intelligence (AI) sector and to also aggressively advance the smart mobility industry.

The CEO announced during a press conference held Thursday at the Consumers Electronics Show (CES) 2020 that the South Korean mobile carrier aims to expand its collaboration in the field of artificial intelligence with tech and communications companies such as Samsung and Kakao.

Park pointed out that global tech giants such as Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon (GAFA) are currently the leaders in the race for the development of AI technology, and South Korean tech companies cannot compete with them singlehandedly.

According to Park, each partner company should conduct its business-specifics services on a shared AI engine that would require a massive amount of capital injection for its advancement. He explained that SK Telecom’s over-the-top (OTT) platform service ‘Wavve,’ which launched last year in collaboration with South Korea’s three significant broadcasters, is an excellent example of hyper-cooperation.

Park stated that the telecommunications company would work closely with Samsung Electronics on developing AI technology, jointly investing resources in its advancement while retaining their platforms.

The increasing influence and integration of AI voice assistants from Google and Amazon inspired the Park’s suggestion.

Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa have been present in everyday life, from home appliances to autonomous cars. However, SK Telecom’s NUGU and Samsung Electronics’ Bixby still seem to lag behind performance and popularity. Park said Korean tech companies should collaborate and create a global standard to better compete.

Park also hinted on the possibility of a company name change of the mobile carrier to better create an identity as a comprehensive ICT service provider, and not as a telecommunication company.

He added that the company is also targeting initial public offerings (IPO) for some of its subsidiaries very soon. The company’s affiliates can grow further, separately from SK Telecom.

SKT will function as a holding company of the SK Group if several IPOs are completed soon. At the earliest, the IPOs could be launched by the end of this year or could take another year or two.

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