Gartner, the authority in IT research and advisory, recently released a report entitled “Cool Vendors in Conversational AI in APAC”, which analyzed the commercial application of conversational AI across the Asia-Pacific region. Notably, the report mentioned two tech companies based in mainland China – cloud smart robot operators CloudMinds and Emotibot Technologies.
Gartner selected the Cool Vendors on the basis of their disruptive technologies and innovative business models which have the capacity to reshape the IT sector as well as the ways in which commerce is conducted. The multiple languages and the complex business environment within APAC challenge the commercialization of conversational AI applications. Yet, despite the challenge, the region’s conversational AI applications are already roiling the waters and have extensive prospects for commercial applications.
In the report, which considered the commercialization potential of a product as a key indicator, Gartner examined the market strategy being deployed by each key player and their product achievements in the APAC market. Gartner also studied the originality of each product, and passed judgement based on the product experience AI offers users in different scenarios. In terms of technologies, Gartner pointed out in the report that NLP plays an important role in the sector. The selected companies have made significant progress in the iteration of NLP technology.
Notably, the two selected companies – CloudMinds and Emotibot Technologies – both focus on robotics research. Robotics-based products are one important direction being taken by firms adopting AI technology. Through robots, AI can directly serve merchants and businesses that act as middlemen in a transaction. For example, CloudMinds, the robotics sector’s unicorn, places its AI functionality on the cloud and connects it to the robot via a dedicated data network.
CloudMinds’ Human Augmented Robotics Intelligence (HARI) platform which is in the cloud and integrates an artificial assistant with machine learning, offers intelligent voice support for robots. In addition, the platform has combined several applications, including smart vision and smart voice, powering the robot in different scenarios. Supported by the cloud intelligent architecture, CloudMinds’ products, including the META blind robot as well as the security robot, are widely used in various market segments, among them security, healthcare and education.
Conversational AI-enabled robot products are proving themselves highly popular in the financial, healthcare and educational sectors. In the world of finance, Pepper, a robot that is becoming quite well-known around China, has been used in the lobbies of banks and consumers have been willing to ask the robot for assistance with various issues. Pepper can automatically verify the identity of the banking customer with whom it is conversing by using built-in visual faculties, guide the customer based on the issues raised during the conversation and access the matching service provided by the financial institution.
Gartner believes that robots can now complete a wide variety of basic tasks and notes that they have become the important engine that will serve to bring the service sector to the next level. In the long term, APAC’s conversational AI capabilities are expected to maintain strong market competitiveness and even become the major supplier for the world’s developed markets. Instagram, VMware and Nutanix had, in earlier reports, been selected as Cool Vendors. China-based AI companies mentioned in this edition of the Gartner report, including CloudMinds, now stand at the vanguard and have a great opportunity to become the next giant in the conversational AI sector.