Austin Festival Showcases Korean AI Projects

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by Yeseul Oh
Creative Lab, (C-Lab) of Samsung electronics feature at SXSW 2018 to survey attendees’ opinions. [Image: Youngsamsung website]

During the South by Southwest “SXSW” 2018 Trade Show, three innovative  Creative Lab (C-Lab) projects developed by Samsung Electronics held showcases. SXSW, held annually in Austin, Texas, is more than a traditional music festival. During the festival, hundreds of thousands of attendees and companies view hundreds of IT trade show spaces set up for festival goers. For companies, including startups and entrepreneurs who hope to grow their brands, SXSW can be an opportunity to build relationships and advertise. A survey by SXSW last year found that 67percent of attendees hoped to find new business opportunities. C-Lab is a competition that encourages and incubates novel ideas from Samsung employees. This year’s projects consisted of  Toonsquare, Aurora, and GADGET. Toonsquare  is a cartoon application that automatically converts a sentence into cartoons with AI technology. Aurora is a visualized character assistant that enables users to interact with the gadget emotionally. GADGET is a real-time ad auction platform for in-game ads. Since 2015, C-Lab has introduced various projects promoting interactive technologies at SXSW to collect user opinions in order to attract to the American market. For many Korean companies, SXSW is a key opportunity to make new connections and build their businesses.

Many efforts are being made to help Korean startups enter the US market in various economic sectors. Ubergizmo, a famous California-based technology blog, participated in the Made in Korea & Made by Korea, Conference & Networking Party 2017 (MIK 2017), a tech event in Seoul, as an official partner to help promote Korean startups gain access to the US market.  Additionally, Hyundai Motor opened Hyundai Cradle in Silicon Valley to support Korean startups and discover business opportunities in the United States. For promising Korean startups, Hyundai’s initiative provides an opportunity to connect with US business partners and investors.  Hyundai announced the partnership with technology startup Smartcar in L.A. and a new program in Southern California with an Orange County mobile car startup, Washos in 2017.

Many Korean companies are also partnered with US counterparts to develop new technologies. For example, Samsung partnered with Boston-based company PTC to make an innovative platform combining PTC’s ThingWorx  and Samsung's ARTIK Smart IoT Platform.  

Yeseul Oh is a Research Intern at the East-West Center in Washington D.C. and an Asan Wahshington Young fellow with the Asan Academy in Seoul. She is a student of Kyunghee university in South Korea