Japan-based messaging app Line is joining the artificial intelligence bandwagon with Clova.
Clova - short for "Cloud Virtual Assistant" - will be the centerpiece of the AI platform and will serve as a counterpart to Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana, and Google Assistant. Users will be able to talk to the AI and get information such as weather and news updates.
Aside from creating an AI that will live inside the Line chat app, the company is also planning to release a tabletop speaker hardware and to work with third-party developers that will be willing to integrate the AI into their products. Sony, LG, and toy maker Tomy have already expressed their interest in developing products that will integrate Clova.
Line's Plans For Clova
By partnering with other companies, Line hopes that the AI will become the centerpiece for a wide range of consumer products and smart home devices.
The company's goal is "to create a thriving ecosystem of contents, services and devices with a wide range of partners, allowing the Clova platform to continue to expand and develop over time."
Clova To Take On The Asian Market
Takeshi Idezawa, Line's CEO, made the announcement at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Clova will be developed with the help of Naver, South Korea's leading search engine. Collaborating with a search engine could also prove to be a plus as the service will be able to tap into the same kind of knowledge that Google Assistant is also using. The launch will also serve to address a severe lack in Asia's AI market. Currently, the majority of Line's users are based in Asian countries like Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand.
Clova will be able to provide information about the weather, play music, and offer language translation. Since it will be based in Asia, the company is hoping it will have an advantage over the bigger players in the industry such as Amazon and Google when it comes to the Asian market. "We are aiming to make Clova Asia's leading cloud AI platform," Idezawa said.
This can only be seen as a natural progression for Line. In its home turf, the company is more than just a messaging platform for its users. Line has expanded its services by offering chatbot tools that help users make mobile payments, hail cabs, and find part-time jobs.
You can expect the first device with this AI to come in the form of "Wave," a smart speaker that will be launched in Japan and South Korea later this year.