While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how people live and use technologies, new business opportunities and innovations driven by the development of AI, 5G, AIoT, and cloud computing will continue to emerge, according to Google Taiwan managing director Jason Ma.

Speaking at the InnoVEX forum of Computex 2022, Ma pointed out that AI began to draw public attention in 2017 when Google’s AI computer program AlphaGo defeated a Go chess world champion in a match. Since then, Google has dedicated itself to bringing AI technologies to the world, and the company is also using AI to optimize its services, such as Gmail, Google search engine and Google Images, he said.

At its I/O yearly developer conference last year, Google unveiled the new MUM (multitask unified model) algorithm for Google Search and Google Lens services. The company said the MUM algorithm can use latent semantic analysis to eliminate incorrect or irrelevant search results.

With the rapid improvement of AI technologies, Ma said he expects there to be many related business opportunities in the post-COVID era.

Ma also mentioned some innovative application domains that he said are worth paying attention to in the future, including 5G autonomous vehicles, in-vehicle services, smart factories, integration of virtual and real-world shopping and retailing, digital financial services, remote healthcare, remote fitness, and hybrid work.

Besides the Google-owned Waymo, Tesla and many traditional automakers have entered the autonomous driving and electric vehicle markets with new service-oriented business models.

Ma said Rolls-Royce, for example, has significantly extended the lifespan of vehicle engines by using data to predict the engine maintenance schedule. As a result, Rolls-Royce’s service business is now accounting for 50% of the company’s total revenue, compared to the 10% during the last decade, he explained.

Meanwhile, acknowledging Taiwan’s tech talent crunch in the last few years, Ma said the situation is driving major tech companies to expand their investments in smart factories. He pointed out that both Quanta Computer and Innolux have added robots to their production lines to shift toward automated manufacturing.

Ma noted that the US-China trade war has forced companies to consider relocating their production bases, and that Southeast Asia has emerged as a new manufacturing hub. However, tech companies could apply smart manufacturing to their Taiwan factories first before adopting it at overseas factories in the future, he suggested.