|Coding robot Probo Connect (Alux)|
Lee Chi-heon, CEO of Alux, said the Seoul-based startup is navigating a whirlwind of changes in the education market, sparked by a pandemic-induced switch from offline programs to what is called “untact” alternatives, referring mainly to contactless online programs.
The following is an excerpt from the interview with Lee:
The Korea Herald: What drove you to found Alux?
Lee Chi-heon: In my childhood, I wanted to become a robot scientist. It was a dream, but now I am working with robotics experts at Alux who want to help children to become scientists in the future. Alux was founded in 2015, and is now a major edtech startup that has educational robotic technology based on artificial intelligence.
KH: What are the core products of Alux and their advantages?
Lee: We have developed a coding robot named Connect and a mechanic robot called Probo. In addition, we have Vinu, a new type of artificial intelligence robot that helps users learn coding anywhere. These products are designed for different age groups so that students can understand how they work and solve coding-related problems.
KH: What’s your take on the outlook for educational robots?
Lee: According to US-based market research firm Holon IQ, the global edtech market was just $163 billion in 2019. The market climbed to $227 billion last year and is now expected to reach $404 billion by 2025. The rapid growth of the edtech market means a similarly fast growth of the robot market. Although the local educational robot market is still in its infancy, we expect the segment to grow faster thanks to the wider adoption of contactless education programs here.
KH: What is the role of coding robots?
Lee: We are now living in an era of the “fourth industrial revolution” and artificial intelligence. Against this backdrop, coding is becoming more important than ever, since it is key to designing algorithms that help computers process problem-solving procedures. Robots have great educational roles since students can actually see how algorithms they design work through robots. This is why so many edtech companies are focused on robot-based coding education. Given that schools around the world are adopting more education programs for robots, artificial intelligence and robots, the edtech market will continue to expand in the coming years.
KH: What is Alux’s expansion plan?
Lee: We set up offices in China and Malaysia in 2018. This year, we pulled off an export deal for the Chinese market. We are also gaining ground in Malaysia. The company is also exploring other export markets, including the US, Germany, Spain and Vietnam. Alux is a homegrown company, but plans to go beyond the local market to make inroads to overseas markets.