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SKT’s AI-based veterinary service to debut in Japan

Oct. 3, 2023 - 12:49 By Song Jung-hyun
Chief Development Officer of SK Telecom Ha Min-yong (left) and Anicom Holdings CEO Komori Nobuaki pose for a photo after singing a memorandum of understanding on artificial intelligence-based health care services for pets at SK Telecom's headquarters in Seoul, Sept. 20. (SK Telecom)

SK Telecom said Tuesday that it has forged a business partnership with Japan’s leading pet insurance company Anicom Holdings, as it eyes global expansion with X Caliber, its flagship artificial intelligence-based medical service for pets.

The Tokyo-based pet insurance company owns a top market share of 46 percent alongside running various subsidiaries engaged in diverse pet-related businesses, including an electronic chart solution company and an animal hospital operator.

Under the agreement, SK Telecom will collaborate with Anicom Holdings in the research and development of AI medical services targeting pets by utilizing its AI technology and the massive animal data held by Anicom Holdings concerning various life cycles of pets.

Additionally, SK Telecom inked a separate agreement with Anicom Pafe, an affiliate of Anicom Holdings that specializes in electronic chart systems, to supply X Caliber to animal hospitals in Japan.

With its vision to go global with AI technology, the Korean telecom giant has been ramping up efforts to facilitate the rapid adoption of X Caliber in the field of health care services for pets both at home and abroad.

Since its debut in September last year, X Caliber has been adopted in some 300 vet hospitals nationwide to boost efficiency and productivity in diagnosing animals.

Considering that animals are unable to communicate their symptoms verbally, it is crucial to make accurate diagnoses based on image data such as X-ray images.

X Caliber analyzes X-ray images of pets using AI and provides medical diagnoses within 15 seconds. Over the past year, it has analyzed data from over 37,000 animals, which translates into analyzing 3,000 cases per month nationwide.

It is particularly utilized extensively in detecting heart diseases and abnormalities in pet dogs by evaluating the size of their hearts. It has been highly touted for enabling quick diagnoses as it typically takes about a minute and a half to fully analyze the size of the heart in animals.

Alongside eyeing overseas expansion, SK Telecom plans to further expand its presence in the AI health care ecosystem for pets at home.

It is collaborating with a number of Korean companies, including "Smartsound," a leading health care IT company that specializes in measuring auditory vital signs of animals, and "SmartCarework," a provider of cloud-based solutions for storing medical images related to animals.

“As we pivot toward AI technologies, X Caliber is our flagship service crucial in our endeavors to inspire the AI transformation across various industries,” said Ha Min-yong, chief development officer of SK Telecom.

“We will strive to popularize X Caliber in the field of pet medical services beyond the domestic market. ”