LINE CEO Idezawa Takeshi [Photo by Naver Corp.]
South Korea’s leading internet portal giant Naver Corp. and its Japan-based mobile chatting app unit Line Corp. unveiled their artificial intelligence (AI)-based assistant platform Clova at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017 in Spain in hopes to challenge their bigger rivals IBM and Amazon in the field of AI.
“Clova is a platform that incorporates various AI technologies, including voice, visual and conversational engines which allow users to interact with the platform without touching the screen,” LINE CEO Idezawa Takeshi introduced Clova during his keynote speech at the MWC on Wednesday.
Short for Cloud Virtual Assistant, Clova had been jointly developed by Naver and Line since last October under the title ‘Project J,’ which was suggested by the company`s founder and board chairman Lee Hae-jin.
As an upgraded version of Naver Labs` voice-recognizing assistant service AMICA, Clova aims to encompass all of the five human senses. For example, its camera recognizes a user and provides personalized service and information on its display.
Naver plans to introduce Clova as smartphone app to challenge Apple`s Siri and Samsung’s S-Voice. The virtual assistant service can be linked to Naver calendar and its search engine based on voice recognition.
Naver and Line will launch smart speaker Wave in April in Korea and in early summer in Japan. The cylindrical speaker - similar to Amazon Echo and Google Home - can play music and provide information such as the latest weather and traffic, and control home appliances. A smart display called Face that looks like a robot will be released within this year. It is dubbed to perform beyond a voice recognition speaker, but the company did not provide further details.
Shares of Naver closed Friday at 808,000 won ($699.26), down 0.8 percent or 7,000 won from the previous session. In Japan, Line shares rose 1.66 percent or 65 yen ($0.57) to 3,980 yen.
By Oh Chan-jong
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