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HKU AI startup receives Grand Award of Hong Kong ICT Awards 2018

HKU AI startup receives Grand Award of Hong Kong ICT Awards 2018

An artificial intelligence (AI) startup from the University of Hong Kong (HKU) recently won the Gold Award and the Grand Award of Hong Kong ICT Awards 2018.

Established in 2006, the Hong Kong ICT Awards (HKICTA) is considered the most prestigious award on information and communication technologies in Hong Kong.

This year, the Awards has attracted over 1,160 entries, in a total of eight award categories. To tie in with the Hong Kong Government’s vision for a world-leading smart city, three new awards, namely the Smart Living Award, the Smart People Award and the Smart Mobility Award were introduced to encourage development of smart products, services and mobile applications related to healthcare, households, tourism and healthy aging.

Speaking at the ceremony, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Mrs Carrie Lam congratulated the winners for their leadership, innovative products and solutions.

“The Government is determined to create a flourishing innovation and technology environment here in Hong Kong. But we cannot do it alone, which is why I am so encouraged by the winners of this year’s ICT Awards. More than building businesses, you serve as role models, inspiring our youth, showing them the way to a future that will surely reward us all,” she said.

Under the Smart Business Category, the AI startup Fano Labs, a spinoff company from HKU, specialises in speech recognition and natural language processing (NLP) technologies.

Fano Labs was co-founded in 2015 by Dr Miles Wen, a HKU Electrical and Elecronic Engineering (EEE) PhD graduate and Professor Victor Li, Chair Professor of Information Engineering, Department of EEE at HKU. The startup is also the first HK startup invested by Mr Li Ka-shing’s private investment arm Horizons Ventures.

The award-winning multilingual AI customer service system was developed with the technical focus in Chinese dialects processing and analysis to help enterprises conduct quality assurance and data mining in their call centres.

The system is developed by going through all previously recorded call centre agent interactions with customers. Recorded calls are checked over to ensure the agent has performed within the boundaries of the law particularly around financial services while recordings are used to evaluate staff, review customer feedback and train new call centre agents.

This saves time for call centre managers in quality assurance as the system goes through the entire log and suggests the recording and key excerpts that the managers should review.

Over the year, the HKICTA has become a breeding ground for outstanding innovation and technology enterprises in Hong Kong, with past winners triumphing in various regional and international competitions.

In 2017, a total of 11 past winners of the HKICTA have won at the Asia Pacific ICT Alliance Awards, the Global ICT
Excellence Awards and the Asia Smart App Awards.

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