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Fighting fire with AI

Riding the AI Wave in Asia

Unlocking the value of fire data in South Korea's capital

Nothing is more associated with death and destruction than fire. It can produce a primal fear in all of us.

With the exhaustive data that the Fire Department in South Korea has provided, a professor from Hongik University developed a new model to analyse and predict the probability of fires so that authorities could take action to make the city safer for its more than 9 million residents.

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Artificial Intelligence to nearly double the rate of innovation in Asia Pacific by 2021

Produced in partnership with IDC Asia/Pacific, “Future Ready Business: Assessing Asia Pacific’s growth with AI” unveiled that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will nearly double the rates of innovation and employee productivity improvements in Asia Pacific by 2021.

Fig 1: AI impact on rates of innovation and employee productivity improvements today and in three years

While 4 in 5 business leaders agreed that AI is instrumental for their organization’s competitiveness, only 41% of organizations in the region have embarked on their AI journeys. Companies that have already adopted AI are expecting to increase their competitiveness 100% in three years. Meanwhile, culture and skills were identified as key barriers hindering organizations’ to succeed in AI. To ensure success, Asia Pacific needs to focus on improving its AI readiness.

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>> Manufacturers with artificial intelligence to nearly double competitiveness
>> Unlocking the full potential of AI in Asia Pacific 


Feature Stories 

AI customers in Asia: Transforming lives and business

Linker Networks

For the global autonomous vehicle dream to come true, the driverless cars, trucks, and buses of the future need to be safe. Taiwan’s Linker Networks is using AI to teach vehicles how to accurately recognize objects around them through its auto-labeling system, increasing accuracy rates to 99% and cutting image tagging time by 70%.

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Japan Travel Board

The JAPAN Trip Navigator smartphone app has been updated with a new chatbot, Miko, amongst other new features that use the computational power of Microsoft Azure and Artificial Intelligence to help independent foreign visitors explore the country almost effortlessly.

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Seoul Metropolitan Government

In Seoul, South Korea, a professor developed a new model to analyse and predict the probability of fires so that authorities could take action to make the city safer for its more than 9 million residents.

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ICICI Lombard

Insurance company ICICI Lombard has partnered with Microsoft to develop India’s first AI-enabled car inspection feature in its mobile app, “Insure”. The app allows policyholders to simply take photos of their vehicles and upload them. AI then analyses the images, identifies damages and provides an estimated repair cost.

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PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited (GC)

To keep more than 4,000 staff and other road users safe, PTT Global Chemical Public Company Limited (GC) partnered with its drivers and Microsoft to create the ‘AI for Road Safety’ solution. The solution uses artificial intelligence to monitor drivers’ behavior, and alert them if they are becoming drowsy or distracted. And, the fleet manager can dispatch a relief driver, if necessary.

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Certis

Security companies like Singapore’s Certis are changing how they monitor camera feeds and safeguard people against threats with the help of AI. The routine task of monitoring and identifying issues can be managed by AI while security officers handle situations that require human interactions. Through AI, the company has also found a way to address the labor crunch.

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Vivekanand Education Society’s Institute of Technology (VESIT)

The Vivekanand Education Society’s Institute of Technology in India is using an AI-based model developed on the Azure platform to help study the impact of climatic factors and pollution on the spread of tuberculosis (TB). By testing multiple machine learning and neural network models, they are improving the accuracy of its prediction model to help foresee TB hotspots.

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Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health has looked to volunteers and an AI-powered mobile app to monitor the conditions of public restrooms by capturing photos for analysis. Since the program started, over 11,000 photos have been used to train a sanitation recognition model to identify and evaluate the conditions of public restrooms around the country.

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Welthungerhilfe

Undernutrition is the cause of 3.1 million child deaths globally every year. In Madhya Pradesh, India, 42.8% of children under the age of five are underweight. However, it is difficult for field workers from aid organisations to accurately detect if a child is suffering from malnutrition. Welthungerhilfe developed the Microsoft AI-powered Child Growth Monitor app to help field workers instantly detect malnutrition.

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Sustainable Coastlines 

Microsoft Partner, Enlighten Designs is working on an exciting new initiative with Sustainable Coastlines aiming to create citizen scientists, arming them with the right data and insights to help keep New Zealand clean, green and beautiful.

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Downer

Downer, a company with over 100 years’ rail experience in Australia, is using AI to make sense of operational data and put it into the hands of the workers that need it. It is working together with Microsoft to support the smooth delivery of Waratah commuter services across Sydney.

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JTB Corp. and NAVITIME JAPAN

An AI-powered chatbot named Miko has been released to elevate the tourist experience in Japan. Created by Microsoft Japan in partnership with travel agency, JTB Corp., and travel information firm NAVITIME JAPAN, Miko guides travellers to discover the best eating places, and can help purchase e-tickets for an extensive range of services and entertainment.

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Tokyo Material Handling Group

Toyota Material Handling Group is the largest forklift manufacturer in the world, but its customers require much more than warehouse trucks and equipment. By providing solutions with AI, mixed reality and IoT, they are helping customers meet the global rise in e-commerce and move goods quickly, frequently, accurately and safely.

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Microsoft Research Asia’s 20 Years of Innovation

Microsoft Research Asia (MSRA), Microsoft’s fundamental research arm in the Asia Pacific region, was founded in 1998 in Beijing. By attracting the best talent from Asia and across the globe, MSRA has grown into a world-class research lab that pushes boundaries of innovation. This year marks the 20th anniversary of MRSA, and we are celebrating the organization’s achievements in its persistent pursuit for excellence. With the goal of empowering people, organizations, and society, MSRA has set a high bar for what it will achieve in the next 20 years and beyond.

Microsoft Research Asia at 20 and going beyond technical achievement

Microsoft Research Asia celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, and the milestone provided an occasion for many in the industry to reflect on an amazing journey, one not only replete with excellence and technological achievement, but also significant in its profound influence.

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Celebrating 20 years of MSR in Asia with Dr. Hsiao-Wuen Hon

In this podcast, Dr. Hon gives us a brief history of MSRA, from its humble beginnings to its significant role in the AI boom, talks about its unique talent pipeline, shares his vision for the complementary roles of machine intelligence and human wisdom, and explains why the more progress we make in AI, the better we understand ourselves.

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Microsoft’s innovation powerhouse in Asia fueled by research

As a powerhouse of ideas and innovation, the Beijing lab of Microsoft Research Asia is a surprisingly placid place. There is a quiet sense of contemplation here, almost as if it were a bastion of academia. And, in a way, it is – only better.

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Coming soon: Your own personal AI-driven ‘co-pilot’ to help you at work and in life

Imagine having a virtual assistant who knows you through and through and can help you in all sorts of tasks and issues in your work and life. Microsoft’s top researchers in Asia predict that AI will soon make this not only possible, but also accessible and affordable.

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China’s Xiaoice mixes AI with emotions and wins over millions of fans

She has a staggering 660 million online users. And, while they know she’s not real, many prize her as a dear friend, en a trusted confidante. She is Xiaoice – Microsoft’s chatbot phenomenon that has enthralled digital audiences across the world’s most populous nation for the past four years.

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