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IoT applications offer fertile soil for fostering unicorn startups, says professor
Elisha Hung, Taipei; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES

IoT applications can provide fertile soil for incubating unicorn startups, as long as startups can find key solutions in the process of developing creative IoT devices to satisfy the needs of users, ramp up production in the short term and then develop economies of scale to pave the way for becoming unicorns, according to Hank Huang, professor and director of the Center of Industry Accelerator and Patent Strategy at National Chiao Tung University and concurrently chairman of the Chinese Business Incubation Association.

Huang said most startups in Taiwan do not lack technology and creativeness amid the flourishing development of electronics manufacturing and semiconductor industries. But they have to address two major challenges. One is how to get a deep grasp of domain knowledge, and the other is that once startups are able to ramp up production of their creative products, how they can integrate financial and marketing resources available at home and abroad to multiply their operation effects.

Huang also noted that the effect of IoT applications to factory automation is easily visible, as the applications are mostly focused on saving energy and increasing production efficiency. But IoT applications will see a significant upgrade after incorporating AI-based smart recognition technology at edge computing nodes, with driverless vehicles and smart surveillance systems, in particular, to get a fresh development scenario.

He continued that 5G wireless communication will enable self-driving vehicles and other devices to improve smart application quality through low latency and direct networking, making the combination of IoT, AI and 5G an inevitable development trend.

At the moment, many universities and colleges in Taiwan have set up startup incubation centers and accelerator systems to help pave the way for students interested in creating startups after graduation. And Taiwan's Ministry of Science and Technology has set a goal of developing at least 100 startups in the fields of AI and software by providing funds and resources, according to Huang.

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