SEOUL, May 4 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korean communications giant SK Telecom reported yesterday that it has sold more than 100,000 units of its Nugu smart voice-enabled wireless speaker since its release seven months ago, with the number of conversations between Nugu users and the AI assistant amounting to over one hundred million.
Since it was released last September, SKT’s Nugu has been providing a variety of voice-operated services to help improve the lives of its users by allowing them play music, control a smart home, change settings and receive traffic information all via voice command.
More than 10,000 of the smart speakers have been sold every month since the product’s release, making Nugu one of the three most popular smart devices in South Korea alongside smartphones and smart watches, with a strong fan base of male customers in their 30s who account for 37 percent of purchasers.
In the early stages of the service, Nugu’s most frequently used service was its music player, but as more services were added, other features including online shopping, IPTV and an IoT controller currently account for 58 percent of all Nugu services that users seem to particularly enjoy.
During the morning rush hour, weather and news services as well as navigation app T Map were most popular, while Nugu was used to play music and order food at night.
In addition to practical services, nearly one in two users speak to Nugu in a manner similar to human interaction on a weekly basis, using intimate words such as, “good night”, “love you”, or “I’m bored”, according to SKT.
Amid its growing popularity, SKT is ramping up efforts to expand its user base by improving Nugu’s connectivity with other devices and services, as well as opening its application programming interface to software developers to stimulate collaboration with other companies.
“By continuously improving quality and adding more services, we’ll try to turn Nugu into a true life partner,” Kim Sung-han, the head of SKT’s AI business department said.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)