IBM and South Korean IT services company SK Holdings C&C plan to bring IBM’s Watson cognitive services to South Korea.
The alliance, which includes training Watson to understand Korean, is designed to accelerate the adoption of cognitive computing throughout the region, giving South Korea-based developers a set of localized APIs and services they can use to help create their own applications and build new businesses.
SK Holdings C&C will run Watson and IBM Bluemix from its Pangyo Cloud Center, in support of universities, developers, and local businesses, across diverse industries including banking, telecommunications, health and government.
With the addition of Korean, IBM will increase the system’s conversational languages to eight including: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, and Arabic. Watson’s ability to understand Korean builds upon nearly five years of research and development driven by scientists at IBM Research – Tokyo. Due to a complex sentence structure, syntax and verb conjugation, Korean is widely considered one of the most challenging languages for native English speakers to learn. Like any major language, there are many unique idioms that must be fully understood for human interaction.
IBM and SK Holdings C&C will help developers work with Watson’s conversational capabilities to help improve the mobile device experience; and improve consumers’ call center interactions. SK Holdings C&C will also explore ways to embed cognitive into new form factors such as robotics.
With this deal as momentum, SK Holdings C&C plans to invest in fostering talents in the artificial intelligence (Ai) field through industrial-academic collaboration under a long-term investment plan.
Korean language Watson services are expected to become available early next year.