Apac Business Headlines
Artificial intelligence has become one of the most talked about technologies in recent times. AI is slowly integrating into our lives in the form of chatbots, virtual assistants, smart cars and more. Today, almost every big company is working hard to create its own innovations around AI. In 2014, Nikhil Jain and Yi (Adam) Zheng came with the idea of ObEN, a company that creates digital avatars for consumers to help them better interact with each other in the virtual and real world.
Nikhil and Zheng started ObEN to humanize and personalize the AI experience, a unique concept that could open up new boundaries in AI. The duo wanted to make people-centric AI systems, and have targeted new areas of design and interactions to achieve this goal. Before founding ObEN, Nikhil had found success as a manager in Kaiser Permanente and Zheng had already worked with leading Chinese companies besides founding a business of his own. Nikhil Jain and Yi (Adam) Zheng first met at Idealab when both of them were assigned to work on a project together. As the partnership grew stronger they decided to build a new AI company from the ground up and ObEN came to its full-being. After having some brain-storming sessions, both drew from their own personal experiences to understand how AI technologies can deliver a more personalized experience to costumers.
Nikhil’s busy schedule meant he had to be away from his family for long intervals. He missed not being able to read bedtime stories to his children. Zhem wanted to hear his daughter voice giving him driving instructions instead of the generic machine voice. This became the motivation behind the inception of ObEN, a company that plans to build AI to bring people closer to each other. ObEN was founded in 2014 as a personal desire of the co-founders to remain connected with their loved ones through their digital avatars even when they were away from home.
In a short span of time, the company has raised $5 million in investments from Chinese tech giant Tencent, with participation from Fengshion Capital and Li Ruigang, the chairman of China Media Capital. Nikhil says, “ObEN’s focus is to make AI work for the individual in real-life situations. ObEN’s artificial intelligence enables every person to simply create their Personal AI, an intelligent avatar that looks and talks like the individual, and can do things on their behalf.”
The company is an integral part of Project PAI, a blockchain protocol for intelligent avatars in the AI economy. ObEN has signed on as a core adoption partner of Project PAI. Project PAI is enabling peer-to-peer AI on blockchain, and ObEN is providing its AI technology to its efforts. ObEN is building a decentralized platform to enable Personal AI on blockchain. This will enable users to not only create their Personal AI (PAI), but also own and manage their PAI, and be fairly compensated when it is used by others. Blockchain also enables an unprecedented level of security.
ObEN’s technology is a full-stack experience. It means the company provides the appearance, the voice and the brain of your avatar. Many companies are working on one aspect of the technology, but ObEN is the first and only to be working on all three. It might be our biggest USP in the market, points out Zheng. With ObEN’s digital avatar, you can attend a meeting in China, speak their language and make connections with people instantly. “Our technology makes life more manageable and more fun with your own Personal AI (PAI),” he adds.
ObEN’s technology also helps users in getting up close and personal with their favorite celebrity or simply creating a personal copy of themselves that can become a personal assistant, a Chinese counterpart or the singer they could never be. AI Stars is joint venture between ObEN and S.M. Entertainment (Korea’s largest entertainment company) that links celebrities to their fans in a more personal way than ever before. Fans can purchase the avatar of their favorite star and can communicate with them, follow them in a more personal way and even get personal messages from them. ObEN is gearing up to become an industry leader in the Personal AI space while also paving the way for future technologies. In the future, the company plans to tap into areas of entertainment, health and finance in a way that allows users to amplify the expertise of doctors, technicians, designers, farmers, musicians, and more “It is the belief of ObEN that every person in the world should have their own PAI and our partners help us reach a varied audience. ObEN will continue to advance our technologies while finding new applications, uses and developments that will perfect the consumer experience,” concludes Nikhil and Zheng.
Quote: ObEN is gearing up to become an industry leader in the Personal AI space while also paving the way for future technologies ObEN has signed on as a core adoption partner of Project PAI. Project PAI is enabling peer-to-peer AI on blockchain