Launch Ceremony for A.I. Outbound Calling System

Hand in Hand, Heart with Heart

“Hello! I am calling from the city’s public safety office. We would like to verify a few things about your current health status. Could you please stay on the line and answer yes or no to the following questions?”

Starting today, people who might be in close contact with confirmed Covid-19 cases in parts of South Korea will expect this type of phone call. Patients who have been treated and healed will also receive follow-up calls and complete registration.

On March 24, South Korea A.I. Outbound Calling System for Epidemic Prevention and Control was launched. Accufly.AI, a joint venture between iFLYTEK and the Hancom Group, developed and deployed this system in South Korea, while iFLYTEK A.I. Services BU, iFLYTEK Smart Healthcare BU, iFLYTEK KEXUN Information Technology (Qingdao, Shandong) provided backstage technical support for the joint effort.

iFLYTEK and the Hancom Group held an online launch ceremony in iFLYTEK’s headquarters in Hefei, and Hancom’s headquarters in Gyeonggi-do. Dr. Xiaoru Wu, Rotary President of iFLYTEK, Mr. Dawei Duan, Senior Vice President and CFO of iFLYTEK, Kim Sang-Chul, Chairman of the Hancom Group, Byeon Sungjun, CEO of the Hancom Inc. attended the ceremony. They look forward to using this system, and leveraging the A.I. technologies associated with the system to help the South Korean government and agencies at all levels control and prevent further spread of the epidemic.

Launch Ceremony for A.I. Outbound Calling System
Launch Ceremony for A.I. Outbound Calling System(Gyeonggi-do)

Launch Ceremony for A.I. Outbound Calling System
Launch Ceremony for A.I. Outbound Calling System(Hefei)

The A.I. Outbound Calling System is a smart and integrated system based on iFLYTEK’s total solutions, Korean-based speech recognition engine developed by the Hancom Group, that addresses the needs of the local Korean authorities and health management teams.It can be rapidly deployed, is easy to operate, and can record messages automatically, saving manpower and assisting in the distribution of important information to the target population.

Covid-19 is a common enemy for mankind, it does not care about your name or your nationality. The battle against the Covid-19 epidemic requires the collective wisdom and courage from the international community. After the outbreak, many South Korean companies and individuals have provided much-needed help for China, and it is time for the Chinese community to return the kindness in response to the coronavirus spread in South Korea.

Dr. Liu Qingfeng, chairman and president of iFLYTEK, immediately made several conference calls with Dr. Xiaoru Wu, rotary president, Dr. Tao Chen, executive president, Dr. Yu Hu, executive president, and Mr. Dawei Duan, Senior Vice President/CFO on February 26, and appointed a project task force. Dawei Duan has assumed the Head of the task force, Mr. Xie Fei, Vice President, and Zhang Wuxu, the Deputy General Manager of international cooperation, all served important roles in the team.

“We formed a partnership with the Hancom Group, iFLYTEK will license the technologies and tools used in our external calling robotic service to them, free of charge,” Dr. Wu Xiaoru, Rotary President, wrote in an email to Kim Sang-Chul, President of the Hancom Group.

After the outbreak, A.I. achieved notable results in domestic epidemic prevention. iFLYTEK A.I. medical assistants and call robots helped to screen high-risk individuals by making follow-up phone calls or sending SMS text messages. The system is reliable, time-saving and performs urgent tasks with both quality and quantity. It helped the health administration distribute important information to local residents, avoid door-to-door surveys and reduce the risk of cross-infection.

The intelligent outbound calling system demonstrated its utility in the fight against coronavirus in China. The system will help the local South Korean administrative departments to conduct follow-ups, identify patients with suspected symptoms, manage self-isolated residents, and reduce the risk of cross-infection for call centers. Health authorities can use the system to distribute important information and health updates, increase public awareness and bring communities together.

“This epidemic brought huge social and economic impacts on many countries on its path. iFLYTEK is very concerned about the epidemic outbreak in South Korea and will fully support the Hancom Group to fight the war against the epidemic. “

“We will move forward with no delay,” remarked Mr. Dawei Duan when the South Korea Tech Aid initiative kicked off, emphasizing the importance of time management. A team of 50+ employees from both companies were assembled and worked extremely hard to deploy the system, all knowing that more lives could be saved if the system went live as soon as possible.

The number of confirmed cases and death toll is alarming. As early as February 28, the task force decided to pull experts from the A.I. Services BU, Smart Health BU, iFLYTEK KEXUN Information Technology (Qingdao) to provide the tech aids. In order to speed up the work process, the team pre-evaluated and made several upgrades to speech technology and applications related to the Korean language so they are understood by native Korean speakers.

Mr. Kim Sang-Chul, chairman of the Hancom Group, thanked iFLYTEK for providing the technologies and solutions to help implement the external calling system. They would like to share the operating costs and other expenses, and donate the final product to the Korean government for use at no cost. The Hancom Group has mobilized resources from within the group and asked all its management and marketing teams to reach out to businesses that this system could help.  

the Accufly.AI team
 (“the Accufly.AI team”)

In order to put the system online as soon as possible and help the Korean people in preventing and controlling the deadly virus, the members of the teams extended their working hours. During the days they held conference calls to iron out issues and then continued their own work at night. Under their concerted efforts, it took only 10 days for the system of this magnitude to complete its full production cycle, and the preliminary tests have all shown very promising results for large-scale application. 

the Accufly.AI team
▲the Accufly.AI team

This program presented a lot of challenges, including the cross-border gateway which made debugging a guessing game. Cheng Yu, the product director of iFLYTEK’s A.I. Services BU, still remembers the huge efforts they made to boost the marginal performance of the system. He and his team tested the concurrent outbound calls hundreds of times to target the most time-eating lines of codes, which made the system faster and more robust.

Interface of the Korean-based intelligent external calling system
Interface of the Korean-based intelligent external calling system (Beta)

In order to optimize the semantic-understanding performance of the Korean-based intelligent external calling system, make the system’s use more efficient in South Korea, and make sure Korean citizens are able to gather accurate and authentic information, the Chinese and Korean teams made adjustments to the system according to Korean language usage habits. As a result of the close coordination between the two sides, the semantic performance reached 90% in the first internal test.

“Both teams worked long hours to make things happen,” said Mr. Liu Weiwei, South Korean country manager in charge of business communication. Mr. Liu Tao, CTO of Accufly.AI who oversaw the whole technical proposal, emphasized the sacrifices that both teams made.

As many Chinese and Korean traditional literatures describe, China and South Korea are close and share similar cultural roots. iFLYTEK and the Hancom Group have had a strong partnership for years. On February 3, the Hancom Group donated 20,000 protective masks and 5 thermal devices to Anhui Province, immediately helping to alleviate the shortage. As South Korea is in the critical period to win the war against the Covid-19 outbreak, iFLYTEK has shown great empathy, and made a great effort to help our brothers and sisters by all means.

Hancom Group donated 20,000 protective masks to Anhui
On February 3, the Hancom Group donated 20,000 protective masks to Anhui

Distance is never a problem for those who are like-minded. This friendship is special. Every word of support, every item of equipment, every minute of work and every moment of cooperation provide warm memories, which will be remembered for a long time.

In this war against Covid-19, iFLYTEK and the Hancom Group are watching each other’s back. In business, we are partners working side by side. In early 2018, iFLYTEK and the Hancom Group signed the memorandum of strategic cooperation for technology and product development in many fields, a true demonstration of teamwork between the two.

In 2019, iFLYTEK and the Hancom group further extended the scope of their cooperation through their joint A.I. business ecosystem. iFLYTEK made good use of its cornerstone technologies and supply chains in smart hardware to power up the research and development of new products in South Korea. In the same year, the two leveraged their respective strengths and co-founded Accuply.AI, a joint venture subsidiary that is performing strong in the market.

Since the launch of Accuply.AI, it continues to generate strong interest. The first and innovative Genietalk translators sold out in a month. The customized office and conference tool Geniebiz L1 is also a sensation, currently under testing and piloting by many Korean-based companies, and will soon be promoted across the country.

iFLYTEK adheres to the principle of “creating a better world with artificial intelligence,” holds an open and cooperative attitude in the world, and works in fields for the public interest including education, health care, and consumer goods on a global scale. The company teamed up with IELTS, an authoritative English testing institution in the UK, to launch a smart learning application, and also worked with Australian heathcare providers to provide new immigrants with translation and transcription services.

Mankind is a community with a shared future. United we will prevail, and cooperation is the most powerful weapon for overcoming deadly diseases. iFLYTEK will maximize its technical advantages in smart services, smart healthcare, and provide full support to the international community to win the war against Covid-19, and ultimately create a better world with artificial intelligence!

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