LINE Conference 2017 Debuts 5-Year Vision of ‘Communication First’

2017.06.15 LINE

•LINE’s communication vision based on 3 business strategies – “Everything Connected”, “Everything Videolized,” and “Everywhere AI”

•Plans emphasize range of useful, innovative services, including interconnectivity with Mynaportal, new LINE Shopping service and Clova-related initiatives

 

TOKYO – June 15, 2017 – To take its mission of “Closing the Distance” to the next level, LINE Corporation today announced a five-year vision of “Communication First” at LINE Conference 2017. It’s a vision that rests on three major concepts: “Everything Connected,” “Everything Videolized,” and “Everywhere AI.”

 

Using these three concepts, LINE is looking to enhance the LINE app, offering more “infrastructure-like” services, increasing its video and streaming capabilities, and expanding the scope of its AI services, all designed to take communications into the post-smartphone era. 

 

With LINE about to celebrate its sixth anniversary — the service launched on June 23, 2011 — the company is enhancing its diverse range of services, furthering its role as a “Smart Portal” able to seamlessly meet all its users’ daily needs.

 /stf/linecorp/ja/pr/LC17_image.png

During this year’s LINE Conference, presenters discussed: I) new features for the LINE app, II) strengthening collaboration with administrative agencies, III) new services (in particular, a new commerce gateway), IV) the evolution of LINE LIVE, V) new developments with the Clova cloud AI platform, and other concepts and frameworks for the future.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Everything Connected – New features and concepts

----------------------------------------------------------------------

LINE announced a range of new features and concepts designed to continue the evolution of the LINE app beyond a communication tool – adding features and concepts to make people’s life more convenient, richer and more fun. 

 

New features/upgrades in Chat:

・Camera upgrade (scheduled release: summer 2017)

Now possible to activate the camera within a chat and add effects and filters using face recognition.

・Slideshow (scheduled release: TBD)

Compile multiple pictures in a slideshow, add music and effects, and share over a chat. 

・Chatlive (scheduled release: This summer)

Send live video streams to friends within a chat.

・Chat App Platform (scheduled release: 2017)

A feature for customizing chat settings with extensions and plugins. By installing in-chat apps, users can share schedules with friends or play games. 

 

New features on Timeline

・Story (scheduled release: TBD)

Easily post or stream video on Timeline, to enjoy a new method of real-time communication.

 

More details will be provided on these features as they are released. 

 

A consolidated Portal Tab (scheduled release: 2017)

As part of LINE’s continued development as a Smart Portal, the News Tab, which was added in February 2017, will be updated into a full Portal Tab. The Portal Tab will offer weather, horoscopes, public transport information and other key information, personalized for each user’s lifestyle. In addition to the current news content, the new tab will sync with LINE’s other services to provide easy access to comics, music, videos, and other content.

 /stf/linecorp/ja/pr/Portaltub_image.png

Easier purchases of products and payment processing through Wallet Tab

 (scheduled release: 2017)

LINE is also aiming to establish the LINE app as a gateway for all purchases and payments – both online and offline – so the More tab will undergo a complete overhaul. With the Wallet Tab, users can not only send money, make payments, confirm their balance and manage points for their LINE Pay account, but also comprehensively manage their point cards and coupons from various shops and restaurants. 

 /stf/linecorp/ja/pr/Wallettub_image.png

Furthermore, LINE has announced updates to continue developing the LINE Pay service, which currently has 38 million registered global users and over JPY78 billion (about USD709 million) in gross merchandise value (as of May 2017).

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------

LINE Pay

----------------------------------------------------------------------

P2P Payments without verification (scheduled release: summer 2017)

Sending money is one of the major features of LINE Pay, and soon users will be able to use the feature without first registering an affiliated bank account or identification documents. With this change, all users will be able to send remittances to their LINE friends.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Everything Connected – Interconnectivity with local governments

----------------------------------------------------------------------

LINE has previously entered into agreements with government agencies and local governments – including the cities of Shibuya, Fukuoka and Kumamoto – to use the LINE messaging app to send information on childcare and other government services. Now LINE is announcing an agreement with Japan’s Cabinet Office regarding interconnectivity between its Mynaportal service and the LINE messaging app. The announcement included an appearance by Sanae Takaichi, Internal Affairs and Communications Minister, who has been specially appointed to oversee Japan’s “My Number System.”

For more information, please see the following press release: https://linecorp.com/en/pr/news/en/2017/1771

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Everything Connected – New commerce gateway services

----------------------------------------------------------------------

LINE has long offered services to promote companies and brands, but now we are adding two new commerce-related services to strengthen ties with actual stores.

 

LINE Shopping (launching today, June 15)

LINE is launching LINE Shopping today, a service that uses the LINE app as a shopping gateway. With shopping options in fashion, general goods, sporting goods, home decor, electronics, cosmetics, and beyond, this service will create a new venue for users to search for and browse through products from over 100 brands and companies on the LINE app.

For more information, please see the following press release:

https://linecorp.com/en/pr/news/en/2017/1770

 /stf/linecorp/ja/pr/SHOPPING_image.png

LINE Delima (scheduled release: summer 2017)

LINE is also starting a food delivery service, allowing users to easily order a wide range of foods over the main LINE app, wherever they might be. This delivery service will utilize Demae-can’s Japan-wide network of 15,000 affiliated stores and LINE’s 68 million users.

 /stf/linecorp/ja/pr/LINE_DELIMA.png

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Videolized – The Evolution of LINE LIVE

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Along with its camera apps B612 and SNOW, LINE has also introduced several video services, including LINE LIVE and LINE TV. These services are popular among teens and young women, and continue to grow at an aggressive pace. LINE LIVE has grown into a video distribution platform with over 13 million monthly active users, and now LINE has announced additional plans and new features in a bid to further expand the service.

 

LINE LIVE Viewer comes to the main LINE app (scheduled release: 2017)

Until now, LINE LIVE has focused on allowing users to watch and post comments from within the LINE LIVE app. But to make this service even easier to use and to increase the number of users, LINE is adding a LINE LIVE Viewer to the main LINE app. Now all of LINE’s 68 million monthly active users will be able to watch LINE LIVE streams and post comments.

 /stf/linecorp/ja/pr/LINE_LIVE_viewer_image.png

LIVE Video Ads (scheduled release: 2017)

In-stream advertising will be added to LINE LIVE. LINE has already introduced a system for giving LINE Points to hosts based a variety of factors, such as the number of viewers of a stream, number of comments and hearts, and the number of paid gift items received. LINE will continue to grow this service as a part of its video streaming ecosystem and look for new directions the ecosystem can develop.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------

AI-Clova

----------------------------------------------------------------------

LINE announced the Clova cloud AI platform at Mobile World Congress 2017 in March. At LINE Conference 2017, Clova’s importance was further elevated, with the platform positioned as LINE’s most daring initiative for the next five years. As part of those plans, the following Clova-related initiatives were announced. 

 

Clova Smart Speaker: WAVE 

(scheduled official release: autumn 2017; scheduled start of advance sales: summer 2017)

 

WAVE, the first device powered by Clova, is a smart speaker designed for use in the living room, dining room, bedroom or other areas of the house. Users can use WAVE to maintain calendars and to-do lists, talk with WAVE to get information about the weather and other things they might need throughout the day, turn off and on infrared remote-supported appliances, and even engage in casual conversations. Users can also control chat messages on the LINE app via WAVE.

 

Music is a core feature of WAVE, and users can enjoy approximately 40 million tracks on the LINE MUSIC streaming service. In addition to specifying the music they want to hear by song title or artist, WAVE can also provide recommendations based on the situation or the user’s mood. 

 

In addition to these features, LINE will be continually adding new functions to WAVE.

 

WAVE is scheduled to go on sale in Japan starting this autumn at a price of 15,000 yen (tax excluded). Ahead of the official launch, advance sales of WAVE, with only limited support for these music features, is to commence this summer at a price of 10,000 yen (tax excluded). WAVE devices sold early will be updated to the full features of WAVE at the same time as official sales commence.

 

 /stf/linecorp/ja/pr/WAVE_image.png

New Clova-powered devices

 

・CHAMP(Scheduled launch: winter 2017)

CHAMP, a Clova-powered smart speaker in the form of popular LINE Friends characters, is a more casual and more portable version of WAVE.

 

The previously announced “FACE” smart display is still in development. 

 /stf/linecorp/ja/pr/EN_CHAMP_image.png

/stf/linecorp/ja/pr/FACE_image.png

・Xperia Smart Products from Sony Mobile Communications (schedule release: TBD)

LINE is studying new opportunities that combine Clova with Sony Mobile Communications’ Xperia Smart Products. One example is the Xperia Ear Open-style concept — featured at Mobile World Congress 2017 — which proposes a new method of in-ear, hands-free voice communication. 

 

・Yamaha Corporation 

LINE announced that it will work together with Yamaha Corporation to develop AI-based music creation using Yamaha’s VOCALOID voice synthesis technology and LINE’s Clova cloud AI technology. By bringing together both companies’ technologies, LINE and Yamaha will attempt to create a new music experience. They will also study the possibility of adding this technology to new products and services to be rolled out hereafter by Yamaha.

 

New partners announced

・Toyota Motor Corporation

LINE Corporation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore business opportunities using the Smart Device Link (SDL), a technology standard promoted by Toyota and other companies that connects automobiles with smartphone and tablet apps.

For more information, please see the following press release: 

https://linecorp.com/en/pr/news/en/2017/1769

 

・FamilyMart Co., Ltd. and ITOCHU Corporation

LINE Corporation has concluded a Memorandum of Understanding to promote the collaborative development of new products, technologies and services for the next generation of stores being developed by FamilyMart and ITOCHU, which will be linked to LINE’s Clova cloud AI platform and other services.

For more information, please see the following press release: 

https://linecorp.com/en/pr/news/en/2017/1768

 

Initiatives like these represent the start of LINE’s goal of creating a world in which AI blends into every device and every environment in everyday life — all through Clova. 

Next, LINE is planning to release Clova to third parties to work with content/service partners and device partners to build an ecosystem and expand the platform.