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South Korean Telecommunications Company to Open AI Hotels in SE Asia

10/15/2018
Lee Pil-Jai (fourth from left), head of KT’s Marketing Group, HBC Chairman Le Viet Hai (fifth from right) and other representatives of the two companies, are photographed during a signing ceremony at KT’s headquarters in central Seoul, South Korea.

KT Corp., a South Korean telecommunications company, said it will introduce its home-developed artificial intelligence (AI) technology to hotels, apartments, building and cities overseas, starting with Vietnam and the neighboring region.

KT signed an agreement with Hoa Binh Construction Group (HBC) JVC, a Vietnamese construction company, in September to bring AI-powered hotel and apartment services to Southeast Asia. The two partners also agreed to later cooperate on smart buildings and cities in major metropolitan areas throughout the region.

By innovating technology in the hospitality industry, KT opened the first hotel in South Korea offering AI-assisted room services, Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences, in July. The company plans to open three more similar hotels across the capital city by 2020 in partnership with major global hotel chains such as Accor, Hyatt and Marriott.

KT's AI service platform, GiGA Genie Hotel, is a special customization of GiGA Genie, an AI-powered smart home media hub launched in 2017. With more than 1 million subscribers in South Korea, KT's voice-activated AI platform allows users to see what they command on touch screens or TV screens.

GiGA Genie Hotel is a multi-functional, voice-recognizing infotainment system. The hotel rooms' lights, temperature controls and TV respond to voice commands such as "Genie, please set the room temperature to 20 degrees." Toiletries and other supplies may also be requested with voice.

Voice commands are currently available in Korean and English, and additional languages, including Chinese and Japanese, will be added. KT also plans to provide more concierge services for the Genie Hotel Platform, such as checking hotel bills, checking out and paying for the mini bar and room service.

To diversify its future business portfolio, KT plans to provide other hotels with its AI platform, including Marriott. One of the first hotels to adopt the platform was L'Escape, a boutique hotel opened by South Korean retail group Shinsegae Inc. in downtown Seoul in July. The Genie platform can also be used in apartments, resorts and hospitals.

KT is also applying its AI-based smart building management at the Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences. GiGAeyes, an intelligent video security and image analysis service, detects intrusions in real time, both inside and outside of the hotel. It also serves as an around-the-clock fire monitor. The company is also using KT-MEG, which optimizes energy management by analyzing big data to predict and control energy demands during peak hours.

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