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Google Play Audiobook Korea Release Demonstration Session

On January 24, 2018, Google held ‘Google Play Audiobook Korea Release Demonstration Session‘ in its office in Gangnam-gu, Seoul. The session was held to announce the outline and characteristics of Google Play's audiobook service, which was released on January 24th in Korea time, with Jae-hui Kwon, manager of Google Play Global Product Partnership Team, and Oh-jun Kwon, leader of Contents Business at Audiensori. According to the announcement, Google unveiled the Google Play Audiobook service, which can be enjoyed in the Google Playbook app. The service was first launched in 45 countries, including Korea, and supports a total of nine languages including Korean. ▲ The demonstration session of Audiobook service Korea release was held. ▲ Korea is included among the first-releasing 45 countries, and Korean is supported. The Google Play Audiobook service is a sound book service that allows you to listen to the contents of a book, and provides various categories of audiobooks and bestsellers based on the global library provided by publishers worldwide through Google Play Books. Through this service, domestic users can enjoy books produced in Korea as well as overseas books as audio books, and some of overseas books are provided free of charge. In particular, Google Play Audiobook service utilizes machine learning technology to automatically generate and provide a detailed table of contents that facilitates navigation underneath the main table of contents. Machine learning technology divides the text of an eBook and the words of an audiobook into syntactic units and automatically generates a detailed table of contents considering the flow of natural contents and a table of contents by detailed table of contents. By applying an individual book purchasing model, users can purchase an audiobook that they want at a 10% discount without any burden of subscription service. In addition, they can listen to a part of the audiobook through free pre-listening before purchasing and decide to make a purchase, and the purchased book is stored in the Google Playbook app, so users can easily check the list of purchased books. Google Play Audiobook service can be used on a variety of devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops using platforms such as Android, iOS, and Chrome Web. It also provides functions that are optimized for user’s lifestyle such as sleep timer settings, playback speed settings, skip forward button, listening to each table of contents, checking remaining time, background playback, and offline playback. In addition, through interworking with Google Assistant, which is Google’s artificial intelligence voice secretary system, a number of ‘hands-free’ functions such as voice commands will be provided to Google Play Audiobook service in sequence. Jae-hui Kwon, who introduced Google Play Audiobook service, said, ”Google Play, which has provided a variety of digital content such as games, movies, and books, is launching an audiobook service in the book sector followed by e-book. In particular, this is an innovative service with machine learning that users can use more conveniently in daily life. As interests and demands for audiobooks grow, we will provide richer audiobook contents.” ▲ The Google Play Books app lets you use the Google Play Audiobook service. ▲ It automatically generates and provides a detailed table of contents under the basic table of contents using machine learning technology. After the introduction of Google Play Audiobook Service, the introduction of the features and usage of audiobooks was followed. The audiobook, which means a book listened by ear, is a content produced for users to read more happily. It is produced by a method in which a plurality of voice actors who fit the characters read directly without mixing the TTS, and live sound effects and background music are added. In the past, audiobooks were produced mainly for the blind, but now they are getting the spotlight as a new way of reading. As for the process of producing an audiobook, after selecting the works and proceeding with the script work, the recording is carried out in the state where the music and effects are prepared. After the editing process and quality verification, it is then provided to users in a way of distributing the finished data. For listening purposes of audiobooks, users answered that they mainly use the audiobook contents to enjoy their own contents or to take advantage of free time while moving. Self-development, poetry, essay, genre literature are ranked as preferred genres. Oh-jun Kwon, leader of Contents Business at Audiensori, who introduced about an audiobook, said, ”Audiobooks are gaining attention from people who prefer to use free time, as well as from voice actors and students, and the number of users is rapidly increasing. I look forward to expanding the basics of audiobook users through our partnership with Google Play, and Audiensori will try to provide better content.”

Epic Games Korea 'Fortnite' Media Showcase

Epic Games Korea, the Korean subsidiary of Epic Games, held a media showcase at Grand Intercontinental Seoul Parnas in Gangnam-gu, Seoul on the morning of 19th January, 2018. The event was organized to introduce features and service schedule of Epic Games' action building game 'Fortnite' in advance of domestic service with some officials of Epic Games Korea including Country Manager Sung-chul Park, Won-se Lee, in charge of domestic business, and Hee-uk Yoon, in charge of marketing, in attendance. Sung-chul Park, Country Manager of Epic Games Korea said, “After Epic Games Korea launched its Korean subsidiary in 2009 for the Unreal Engine business, we feel new since it is the first time to provide service of both the game and engine, which are the main businesses of Epic Games, in Korea through releasing ‘Fortnite’. In order to enable Korean gamers to enjoy games in an optimal environment, we made our best effort to the domestic service of ‘Fortnite’ through Korean localization, real-time global one build contents, and various Korean exclusive benefits. In addition, as we have introduced the game to be rated for over 12 years old so that teenage gamers can also enjoy a Battle Royal game, I would like to ask you a lot of attention to the service of ‘Fortnite’ in Korea.” ▲ Epic Games Korea's "Fortnite" media showcase was held. ▲ Sung-chul Park, Country Manager of Epic Games Korea said, “We made our best effort to the domestic service of ‘Fortnite’. I would like to ask you a lot of attention to the service of ‘Fortnite’ in Korea.” According to the announcement, 'Fortnite' is an Action-Building game that combines elements of battle, construction and action. Its biggest advantage is that users can enjoy creative new concept of battle play with unique skins and emotions over a normal shooting game that users simply shoot down enemies. Especially by dissolving easy play and in-depth game elements into the game, it has been loved by gamers from all over the world right from its release. In July 2017, 'Fortnite' was released ‘Save the World’, a new concept of action building system that four players cooperate with each other through role division into battle and construction as an early access version through Epic Game’s platform ‘Epic Games Launcher’. In September 2017, ‘Fortnite Battle Royal’, a PvP mode separate from ‘Save the World’ was released free of charge. Epic Games has recorded 10 million users in two weeks after launching the 'Fortnite Battle Royal' mode, followed by 20 million users in 72 days, 40 million users in 100 days, and 1.75 million concurrent connected users (CCU). With more than 2 million CCU, it has been recorded as one of the fastest growing games. ▲ In 100 days, it recorded 40 million users and 1.75 million CCU. Regarding the service of 'Fortnite', Epic Games implemented a complete 'Global One Build' policy that simultaneously releases the same content all over the world. Also, it stated that it will never introduce a business model that would impair the game’s fairness such as 'Pay-to-Win' items. It made it clear that it will respond strongly to illegal users such as cheat program users. In addition, Epic Games will continue to provide fresh and new pleasure through fast content updates. It will focus on high quality localization that is more readable than English version and has familiar fonts for Korean users to continue to develop the game. Epic Games has produced the first CF of 'Fortnite' in Korea, produced by Jung-hoon Park, a film director of the movie ‘The Villainess’, and Actor Sang-hoon Jung. It also plans to launch special events for domestic gamers such as releasing a limited edition T-shirt made by designer brand ‘Super Rocket Punch’, and providing Battle Pass to all the pre-orderers who play the game within two weeks after the launch. ▲ Various events for Korean users are prepared. ▲ Epic Games has produced the first CF of 'Fortnite' in Korea, produced by Jung-hoon Park, a film director of the movie ‘The Villainess’, and Actor Sang-hoon Jung. Sung-chul Park, Country Manager of Epic Games Korea, who came back on stage after the presentation of all the information about 'Fortnite', announced that Korea service of 'Fortnite' will start from January 23. Meanwhile, Epic Game’s Game Developer Tim Sweeney sent a video message. “The most important thing to consider when we make a game is 'fun', so we create a game that we want to play. We took six years to develop the game that users can enjoy tense fast-action as well as building construction with their friends, and the outcome is 'Fortnite'. It is the first time for Epic Games to provide service in Korea in its history of 27 years, so it is our new experience. And, it is expected that Korean users will be ranked first in ‘Fortnite’. Please enjoy the game.” ▲ Tim Sweeney said, “It is expected that Korean users will be ranked first in ‘Fortnite’.”

KT & KT Estate GiGA Genie AI Hotel Service Launching Press Conference

KT (CEO Chang-gyu Hwang) and KTestate (President Il-sung Choi) held a press conference at Novotel Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun Hotel & Residence (Novotel Ambassador Dongdaemun) on 18th July and introduced AI Hotel service. Il-sung Choi, President of KTestate, said, “We will provide tourists with a new concept hotel space and service that can not be found in any hotel in the world by combining the IT infrastructure of KT Group with hotel service. This will create an entirely new hotel offering innovative convenience and experience for tourists visiting Seoul and providing tourism industry and new growth opportunities to the region.” ▲ Il-sung Choi, President of KTestate ▲ Jun-su Jung, Vice President of KTestate. He gave a presentation. Novotel Ambassador Dongdaemun with AI service was opened on July 3rd with the goal of cutting-edge hotel based on ICT. The hotel has a total of 523 rooms including 331 guest rooms and 192 residences, presenting Novotel's first “hotel & residence” complex brand. Accor Ambassador Korea operates under the global standard of Accor Hotels. KT and KT Group companies plan to offer new experiences to users through innovative ICT as well as the comfort of the existing hotels. They also have a plan to lead the popularization of 5G in the future as also the first place to experience services based on 5G, including AI. ‘GiGA Genie', applied to Novotel Ambassador Dongdaemun, is considered to be the representative domestic AI service as it has secured 90 million subscribers for 15 months since its launch in January of 2017. KT is expanding its AI service area to a variety of living spaces such as hotels and automobiles, following the launch of GiGA Genie-based AI apartments. ■ Using 'GiGA Genie Hotel' with voice and touch, and 24-hour care service is available with 'Genie phone'. Novotel Ambassador Dongdaemun is the first hotel in Korea to use ‘GiGA Genie Hotel’, which is a collection of KT's AI technologies. The GiGA Genie Hotel is an infotainment system that provides not only voice recognition but also a touch screen, allowing guests to use various services of the hotel easily and quickly in their room. It is possible to control lighting, heating and cooling, order room supplies, check hotel’s facility information, control TV and listen to music 24 hours a day with voice and touch. At the existing hotels, guests had to use a remote control or adjust the thermostat to control the room temperature. However, at Novotel Ambassador Dongdaemun, they can simply adjust the temperature by saying “Genie, set the room temperature at 20 degrees.” when lying down on the bed or doing other things. In addition, the hotel will provide an advanced concierge function, such as checking the utilization cost or checking out in the room. The functions that can easily pay for the mini bar and room service with only voice in the room will be also added in this year. Moreover, as the number of foreign visitors increases, it plans to expand not only English but also other foreign languages and reinforce contents. KT provides hotel smart concierge phone 'Genie phone' to Novotel Ambassador Dongdaemun guests to offer 24-hour care service. Guests can receive Genie phone at the hotel or Incheon airport and use services such as domestic and international calls and data use, traffic card, tourist information, room control, tax refund, etc. Therefore, it is expected to be highly appreciated by foreign guests. It has excellent contents such as information about restaurants around the hotel, which are discovered by hoteliers, as well as information on major tourist attractions and festivals linked with information by Korea Tourism Organization. Genie phone is planned to be continued to update its content to help promote local businesses. KTestate expects that the 24-hour concierge service of Genie phone will contribute to the enhancement of real estate value in the surrounding area through the activation of local festivals and market revitalization. Novotel Ambassador Dongdaemun introduced advanced systems to hotel management as well as customer service. 'GiGAeyes’, which is an intelligent image analysis security service, and 'KT-MEG', which is the world's first integrated energy management platform introduced by KT, would be representative examples. GiGAeyes can be used both inside and outside the hotel to detect wandering and trespassing of strangers and take charge of real-time firewatching and crime prevention. KT-MEG analyzes hotel power use into big data and provides optimal energy management system through power usage inquiry and prediction, peak time power management, and so on. ▲ GiGA Genie currently supports Korean and English. Chinese and Japanese will be added. ▲ Korean and overseas Accor Membership users can enjoy a unique accommodation experience in Dongdaemun. ■ Four high-techs ICT hotels providing innovative services to Seoul area by 2022 KT and KTestate are planning to introduce a global brand hotel that combines cutting-edge ICT technology starting from Novotel Ambassador Dongdaemun to 4 core commercial areas in Seoul by 2022. They will open Hyatt's Andaz brand near Apgujeong Station next year, a hotel of Accor Hotels brand at Songpa in June 2021 and a hotel of Marriott brand at Myeong-dong(scheduled) in April 2022, so a total of 2,000 rooms will be secured. The three hotels to be shown following Novotel Ambassador Dongdaemun will be spaces to provide various innovation services based on AI and 5G. As tourist attractions are increasing through Urban Regeneration project promoted by Seoul City, the number of foreign tourists visiting Korea is expected to increase gradually. KT and KTestate are aiming to make 4 high-tech ICT hotels another ‘tourist attraction’ where foreign tourists can experience the innovative technology of Korea including 5G.