KT Corp. makes $2M pledge to Sonde, eyes voice analysis integration into telehealth

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South Korean telecommunications giant KT Corporation is making a $2 million strategic investment in US-based voice analysis platform Sonde Health. 

According to a press release, the companies will cooperate to use Sonde’s voice analysis technology to upgrade KT’s AI-powered voice business solutions. 

Aside from that, KT plans to integrate Sonde’s technology into its telemedicine platform in VietnamEarly this year, it partnered with local health tech player HurayPositive to launch a telehealth service, which is now catering to diabetic patients and has plans to eventually support other chronic conditions such as high blood pressure.

WHY IT MATTERS

KT is seeking a piece of the global market for voice biomarkers, which is projected to increase to about 6 trillion won ($4.5 billion) by 2027, growing at a 15.5% CAGR, according to Coherent Market Insights. Voice biomarkers have been increasingly used in voice-based technologies and telemedicine.

It invested in Sonde, which has developed a technology that uses voice biomarkers to identify a number of diseases such as respiratory disorders and mental illness. It analyses those biomarkers by picking up subtle changes in sound and vocal chord movement. The company also currently holds a database of millions of voice recordings to detect and monitor diseases.

THE LARGER TREND

Sonde is KT Corp.’s second overseas investment via its digital healthcare segment. Last year, it signed a memorandum of understanding with NeuroSigma, an American bioelectronics developer, to jointly develop and market electronic therapies for treating neurological and neuropsychological disorders such as ADHD, depression and epilepsy.

Meanwhile in June, KT and Hanmi Pharmaceutical in Digital Pharm, a local developer of digital therapeutics and electroceuticals. The latter is currently trying out a digital treatment for alcohol and nicotine addiction. It also plans to develop DTx for hearing loss and dysphagia.

In other news, Sonde has also recently entered into major global partnerships. It has tied up with Qualcomm Technologies to integrate its AI vocal biomarker technology into smartphones powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 and 778G 5G to enable health screening and monitoring. Early this year, Sonde and GN Group, an intelligent audio solutions provider based in Denmark, started a partnership to research and develop commercial vocal biomarkers for mild cognitive impairment.

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