With digital transformation set to contribute more than US$1 trillion to the Asia-Pacific GDP by 2021, it’s no surprise that the region is fertile ground for innovators and tech companies to roll out new products.
In 2017, about 6% of the region’s GDP was derived from digital products and services created directly through the use of digital technologies, such as mobility, cloud, and AI.
A recent case in point is the unveiling of a new AI-powered chatbot mobile travel app, Japan Trip Navigator. The chatbot – christened Miko – provides travelers in Japan with real-time information from official sources, insights from other users, and can help with hotels and other bookings.
Created in collaboration with Microsoft, Miko uses image recognition functions via Microsoft’s Cognitive Services AI platform, enabling it to provide information to users through their photos.
The app was rolled out to accommodate Japan’s dramatic growth of inbound visitors. In February 2018 alone, Japan welcomed 2.5 million visitors, marking its best February number to date. Monthly figures are expected to increase with Tokyo 2020 around the corner.
To feed demand, Japan National Tourism Organization will need a solution to help visitors navigate Tokyo, and arguably, the answer lies in AI.
“We see AI as a primary catalyst for further growth,” said Ralph Haupter, president, Microsoft Asia. “Our customers across Asia are already demonstrating a strong sense of urgency to integrate AI into their business as part of their digital transformation initiatives.”