Baidu Inc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) has turned to Artificial Intelligence as it looks to reinvigorate its growth prospects, after reporting a decline in profits in the recent quarter. Its first offering in the fast emerging tech spectacle is a voice controlled home robot that uses its operating system DuerOS, to help parents take care of their children.
Baidu’s Xiaoyu Robot
Dubbed Xiaoyu or ‘small fish,’ the robot seeks to expand Baidu presence in the internet of things as it moves to compete with the likes of Amazon Echo and Google Home. The search giant bills Xiaoyu as a family friendly home assistant that will eventually be scaled in a bid of making it a global product.
“Home is an important field for Baidu to put artificial intelligence technology in people’s everyday life, “said Baidu Chief operating officer Lu Qi.
The robot comes with video chat capabilities as well as streaming capabilities that parents can use to monitor their kids. While the robot is mostly dedicated to parents, kids can also use it as an early learning tool to master songs and other languages. However, it comes with a hefty price tag of CNY 3,299 or $478.
In addition to the home robot, the company has already leveraged the capabilities of AI on its search and advertising products.
Betting Big On AI
Baidu focusing on smart home devices does not come as a surprise given that China has more than 700 million people connected to the internet. The fact that people and businesses are aggressively embracing new technologies all but makes it easy for the tech giant to pursue the AI market with vigor.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) and Tencent Holdings Ltd (OTCMKTS:TCEHY) betting big on artificial intelligence and expanding into Baidu’s mobile base has all but forced the search giant to look elsewhere for growth.
The launch of the new robot marks the first step in Baidu’s push that has seen it pay more attention on artificial intelligence away from the core business. Revenues stagnating in the recent past and profits plummeting have made it inevitable for the tech giant to pursue such technologies as it looks to maintain its edge in the industry.