SK C&C has continued Korea’s efforts to increase the usage and adoption of cloud computing within the region, announcing a new strategic alliance with IBM focused on the Watson cognitive computing platform.
As part of the agreement, IBM will train Watson to understand and comprehend Korean, and South Korea-based developers will create a number of localized API’s and services to increase adoption rates of such advanced cloud computing technologies in the region. Korean will be Watson’s eighth language, lining up with English, French, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, and Arabic.
“Watson remains at the forefront of cognitive computing: advanced systems that learn at scale, understand with meaning, reason with purpose and interact with humans in natural ways,” said David Kenny, GM for IBM Watson. “The South Korean marketplace is moving quickly to embrace the disruptive opportunities from next generation technology.
“Our strategic alliance with SK Holdings C&C will put cognitive services in the hands of more businesses and developers, allowing them to apply Watson within their organizations to help transform entire industries and professions.”
Korea has been making positive strides in recent months to increase the adoption rate of cloud computing within the country, announcing a number of initiatives in March. Adoption rates are reported to be as low as 6.4% within the country currently, which could be perceived as low considering the number of tech companies which has grown out of Korea, though the government is planning to increase this to 13% over the next twelve months. Over the same period, the government also plans to increase the number of Korean cloud companies from 353 to 500.
While this announcement focused on cloud computing as a broader technology set, the government also announced plans to invest 100 billion won (approximately $87.2 million) to foster the development of supercomputers. The Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning said it would invest 10 billion won annually for the next 10 years to boost the growth of artificial intelligence, big data, the Internet-of-Things technologies and other emerging industries through supercomputers. The ambition is to create a supercomputer with a data-processing speed of 1 petaflop (PF) in five years, eventually reaching 30 PF by 2025.
As part of the partnership between IBM and SK C&C, the telco will run Watson and Bluemix from its Pangyo Cloud Centre, to foster the growth of cognitive computing and artificial intelligence. More specifically SK C&C is hoping the introduction of the technologies will improve mobile device experience, as well as consumers’ call centre interactions. SK C&C will also become IBM’s preferred distributor for cognitive solutions in South Korea.
“This alliance highlights SK’s dedication to growing our artificial intelligence-based data services business, strengthening our Ai leadership position, as well as spurring innovation and Ai adoption across Korea,” said Park Jung-ho, CEO of SK Holdings C&C.
The partnership between IBM and SK C&C is one of a number of examples of IBM’s efforts to broaden the appeal to the international audience. SK C&C will assist in developing Watson’s advanced conversational capabilities in Korean, in the same way SoftBank is aiding for Japanese, Mubadala for Arabic and GBM in South America. Each of these companies, including SK C&C, are developing local communities of developers to build, explore and create new applications in their native languages. Korean language Watson services are expected to become available early next year.