KT Develops AI-Based COVID-19 Research
SEOUL, South Korea, Aug. 21, 2020 — KT Corp., South Korea’s telecommunications company, is developing a COVID-19 infection risk assessment model, using its artificial intelligence (AI) and Big Data-based digital contact tracing technology, adding to global efforts to tackle the escalating pandemic.
The Korean telecom leader’s new pilot project is supported by the Research Investment for Global Health Technology Fund, better known as RIGHT Fund. The global research fund accepted the promising proposal by KT to develop AI-based technology that assesses COVID-19 infection risks.
“KT’s new project will help combat the pandemic globally,” said Kim Chae-Hee, head of KT’s AI/Big Data division. “We at KT will do our best to help prevent COVID-19 from further spreading and raise the efficacy of medical service, using our AI and Big Data technologies for the sake of humanity.”
KT plans to use the pilot project results to apply for a larger-scale, RIGHT Fund-supported project in 2021. RIGHT Fund is a global health research funding agency established in 2018 with contributions from Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Korean life science companies to promote global public health.
For the pilot project, KT plans to assess COVID-19 infection risks by using AI and Big Data to analyze data on the movement of smartphone users and those who have been tested positive for COVID-19 and made public by the government.
“KT’s project will help developing countries, which are faced with shortages of medical resource, prevent the pandemic from spreading and conduct appropriate examinations and treatments,” said Kim Youn-Been, CEO of the RIGHT Fund. “We hope that the project, taking advantage of Korea’s advanced expertise in ICT, will be carried out successfully to support developing countries in preventing, treating and managing the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Mobile Doctor Corp. is also participating in this project, which is scheduled to end in February 2021. Both KT and Mobile Doctor, a provider of data-based platforms and solutions for health management, are members of a consortium conducting “A Next Generation Surveillance Study for Epidemic Preparedness,” a three-year research program financed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
KT expects the assessment model, based on identification of those who have been exposed to carriers of the novel coronavirus directly and indirectly, will help prevent further transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic while minimizing the risk of personal information leakage.
Korea’s top telecom company also looks forward to acquiring the capabilities to identify vulnerable high-risk groups in case of a second wave of the pandemic or group infections, and promote an effective use of limited medical resources, such as medical personnel and test kits.
Through the research, KT plans to further upgrade its Global Epidemic Prevention Platform (GEPP), focusing on providing information on infection risks of contagious diseases and digital contact tracing. GEPP uses Big Data and social media to give updates to travelers going to countries hit by epidemics and to track the movement of infected individuals.
At the same time, KT will help reduce the gap in the provision of medical service among different regions and different income groups in underdeveloped countries, using its information communication technology and digital capacity for research and development on health.
Eight South Korean life science companies donated to the RIGHT Fund. The fund is dedicated to addressing inequalities in health between regions and income groups around the world, through research and development for vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics and digital health technologies, taking advantage of Korea’s advanced R&D capabilities.
About KT Corp.
KT Corp., Korea’s largest telecommunications service provider, reestablished in 1981 under the Telecommunications Business Act, is leading the era of innovations in the world’s most connected country. The company is leading the 4th industrial revolution with high speed wire/wireless network and new ICT technology. KT launched the world’s first nationwide commercial 5G network on April 3, 2019, after successfully showcasing the world’s first trial 5G services at the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games in February 2018. This is another milestone in KT’s continuous efforts to deliver essential products and services as it aspires to be the number one ICT Company and People’s Company.
Source: KT Corp.