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In September 2016, SK Telecom launched its first home assistant, Nugu, complete with a natural voice interface. Nugu sold out within one week of launch.


  • The people of South Korea are well known for their love of technology, but creating a natural Korean voice interface that can cope with dialects and local sayings is a complex business.
  • By focusing on a single language, SK Telecom believes it has created a more advanced product than more globally minded alternatives such as Apple’s Siri. This will help SK Telecom provide the best user experience and differentiate its offering.
  • Today Nugu is limited in terms of its functionality. To provide true value, it must meet the needs of every household and individual. This will require SK Telecom to dramatically increase the capabilities of the product and the number of devices it can interact with.

Features and Benefits

  • Evaluates SK Telecom's strategy for investing in AI platforms.
  • Assesses SK Telecom's business model around implementing voice interfaces.

Key questions answered

  • Why did SK Telecom invest in developing its own voice interface system?
  • What drove SK Telecom to invest in AI R&D?

Table of contents


  • In brief
  • Ovum view


  • Recommendations for service providers

Using voice to improve everyday life

  • Setting the business context
  • Bringing the strategy to life
  • Outcome assessment


  • Methodology
  • Further reading
  • Author

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