Acer Inc (宏碁) is to increase its efforts to develop artificial intelligence (AI) applications for “smart” education and transportation solutions while continuing to expand its fast-growing gaming, commercial PC and virtual-reality (VR) businesses this year, chairman and CEO Jason Chen (陳俊聖) said yesterday.
“Smart education and transportation solutions are the two niche AI markets we have seized. We are upbeat about the robust demand in the two segments,” Chen told reporters at the Taipei residence of Acer founder and former chairman Stan Shih (施振榮).
Acer has over the past few years been boosting efforts to expand its nonconsumer PC businesses to reduce the effect of a declining consumer PC industry.
Its “smart” education solution refers to the Acer English System, which combines voice recognition, cloud computing and big data analysis to help people improve their English speaking skills, the company said.
It was initially developed for the Chinese market, as China plans to add an oral English test to its college entrance exam from 2021.
Thousands of elementary and middle schools in that country have adopted the system as of December last year, Chen said.
Acer is in talks with the government to explore the possibility of introducing the Acer English System to its home market, Chen said, adding that it foresees potentially strong demand for the solution in Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asian countries.
The company’s Acer ITS Inc (宏碁智通) subsidiary received the Global ICT Excellence Award at this year’s World Congress on Information Technology for a “smart” parking meter, demonstrating global recognition of the company’s smart transportation solutions, he said.
The subsidiary’s products include an e-ticketing system for public transportation, license plate and image recognition platforms, a mobile parking app and “smart” parking meter solutions.
Acer ITS’ “smart” parking meter has been adopted in Taipei, Tainan and Kaohsiung, Chen said, adding that the company is expanding the product’s reach to more Taiwanese cities and introducing other “smart” transportation solutions to Southeast Asian markets this year.
The growth momentum of Acer’s gaming business has continued from last year, with revenue last month doubling from that a year earlier, he said.
Acer’s consolidated revenue last month contracted 0.53 percent annually to NT$16.87 billion (US$576.85 million), but rose 7.26 percent annually in US dollar terms, mainly driven by the robust performance of the gaming segment and continued growth in commercial PCs, he added.
Acer’s plan to gradually list some of its subsidiaries — including Acer ITS and VR subsidiary StarVR Corp (宏星技術) — on the local bourse this year remains on track, Chen said.
Acer’s goal is to become a corporate group in the next three to five years, with many listed subsidiaries serving as growth engines, he added.
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