Kim Yong-seop, the CEO of Akuodigital, founded Akuo Scan in January 2014 with the thought “I wish somebody scans my work for me” when he was scanning books that were being piled up when he was working as an expat for Naver. Kim said, “In the developed markets, the document electronics market was already formed, and we would soon see that in Korea as well. Rather than letting a foreign company take care of our assets, I thought a Korean company should manage it.”

AVING News interviewed Kim Young-seop, the CEO of Akuodigital, which participated in the MIK HOT SPOT (Made in Korea Online Exhibition) KTVF.

Please introduce your company briefly.

Akuodigital is Asia’s largest digital center for electronic documents and electronically records over 120 million paper records annually. We handle important national records in the public sector as well as small, medium and large companies, and have a physical security facility to prevent forgery/falsification in the process of electronicization and software processing technology that enables mass production. We also have AI-OCR technology that can read high-accuracy characters with AI technology.

Can you tell us more about the main system?

The core technology of Akuodigital is the AI-OCR engine. OCR is a technology that converts the characters in an image into digital characters that can be recognized by a computer. Recently, it has been used in combination with various services because it permanently stores printed materials and enables content retrieval to make work efficient. The main leading companies are mainly from global companies such as Google, but the accuracy of recognition rates in Korean, Japanese, and Chinese, which are Asian languages, is still in the process of development. So, we thought there was an opportunity by focusing on improving the AI-OCR recognition rates. Unlike English, which requires only 24 letters of the alphabet, Hangul is a complex structure with more than 2,450 basic combinations, so various industry-specific data is required to read up to handwritten characters. Akuodigital has been able to increase the recognition rate of the AI-OCR engine by utilizing sufficient AI-OCR learning data because it electronically digitizes data from various industries of more than 300 customers that have accumulated over 6 years and more than 100 million pieces of data every year.

In addition, AI-OCR engine provides RPA service to automate tasks by connecting with related tasks. RPA is a solution that automates simple tasks that a person needs to process repeatedly through robot software. It is an area that many companies are interested in because it has the advantage of reducing work time and improving work efficiency. Let’s take an example of an RPA service recently applied by a tax corporation. Individual businesses such as freight forwarders still use handwritten tax invoices, and tax corporations used manpower during the VAT reporting period to register the information entered in the handbook to the tax program. But, there was a limit as to how much it can be processed, so the tax corporations could not accept more clients. With Akuodigital’s RPA consulting, the process of entering the handwritten tax invoice filed to the tax office had been automated. As long as the RPA service is used, customers simply scan the handwritten tax invoice and the image data is transmitted to the Akuodigital server, and the letters extracted through AI-OCR are automatically entered by the RPA robot into the tax program, fully automating the VAT report of handwritten tax invoices.

There may be companies that specialize in scanning, OCR, and RPA, but Akuodigital is the only company in Korea that specializes in all three.

What are your plans for the future?

Akuodigital established a Japanese subsidiary in 2017, and expanded and moved to a 200-pyeong business site last year, upon successful advancement of AI-OCR’s Japanese recognition technology. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the business has not been activated yet, but we are planning to expand the RPA business when the pandemic passes.

Direction sought by the company

In 2018, we acquired a big document storage company Document Guard that has a strong sales power to the government and acquired a large number of clients in public sector, and we were able to get hold of documents that date back as recently from the Japanese colonial era to ancient documents written in cursive style to printed styles. With the development of computing, AI has now reached the stage of understanding and interpreting data. And in the future, AI may even be able to make judgment. Since AI’s judgment reflects the designer’s cultural background, I thought that if we use the technology from a foreign company, it might make wrong judgments about history. I think Akuodigital’s own development of AI-OCR engine also serves a meaningful role in this aspect.

Tell us about a KTVF program that was helpful.

It is the program which TIPS looks at and invests in startups from a long-term point of view, and it has helped our company to make meaningful growth because it has continuously made follow-up actions for four to five years.

Korea Techno-Venture Foundation (KTVF), which supported companies participating in the MIK HOT SPOT (Made in Korea Online Exhibition), is a non-profit foundation funded by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) to promote new technology startups and support global advancement. Since its establishment in 2001, it has established a close cooperation network with research institutes, universities and related institutions, as well as overseas organizations in Japan and the Eurasia region, and have promoted step-by-step customized support projects that connects “startup – fostering – commercialization – global marketing” to create the entrepreneurship ecosystem. KTVF said, “As an accelerator that supports global technology commercialization through discovering, fostering, and investing in tech-startups with high growth potential, we intend to contribute to the success and job creation of small and medium-sized venture companies.”

The global news network AVING News has begun holding the MIK Hot Spot (Made in Korea Online Exhibition) to help small and medium-sized companies enter the market and attract investment 365 days a year’ AVING News has been running online exhibitions since 2005 and had 975 online exhibitions so far. Its YouTube online exhibition has placed itself as Korea’s largest online exhibition hall that opens with 19,000 videos (booths) with more than 800,000 visits per month which means more than 10 million visits per year.

The MIK HOT SPOT online exhibition is scheduled to be held regularly according to the field, target market, and participating institutions, and it will be presented as a new type of online business by transforming the know-hows and values of the participating companies according to the trend. Companies that want to participate can apply and apply through the marketing support projects from supporting institutions in the local governments. Refer to the institutions for more information.

→ Go to MIK Hot Spot (Made in Korea Online Exhibition) special page

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