Vietnamese Enterprise Achieves What the World Thought Only Disney Could

“At that time, Disney was the only one in the world with this coloring book app. We convinced ourselves that if Disney could do it, so could we. And in the end, we did it,” shared Mr. Nguyen The Duy, Vice Chairman of ADT Global Technology Company.

Venturing boldly into interactive technology: Virtual Reality

Ten years ago, after studying in the UK for a long time, receiving an interesting invitation to participate in a project in Vietnam, young man Nguyen The Duy decided to leave his job in the “land of fog”.

“With the experiences and perspectives accumulated in the UK, I felt that I should do something more useful for my country. At that time, I believed that the Vietnamese market had many opportunities to make breakthroughs compared to staying in the UK,” Nguyen The Duy explained his decision to return home and join a group of friends in starting a start-up.

After researching some projects in finance, technology, and communication in Vietnam at that time, Nguyen The Duy realized that the domestic market seemed to lack experiences related to technology in communication for businesses.

“Having enhanced my knowledge of interactive technology in London and aspiring to bring new technologies back to my country for application, I decided to establish a company to realize my aspirations. ADT was founded in 2015, with ‘A’ meaning Advance, ‘D’ standing for Digital, and ‘T’ for Tech. Initially, we didn’t set any grand mission, just simply thinking that in a new market, there would be ample room for us to develop new things efficiently and feasibly. Our goal at that time was simply to help Vietnamese businesses convey their messages about products and services to their customers in a more visual and understandable way through technology,” Mr. Duy recounted.

From the outset, the ADT team identified the company’s DNA as always focusing on breakthrough innovative technologies such as virtual reality (VR, AR), and in recent years, the metaverse and artificial intelligence (AI).

In the context where the concept of “virtual reality” was still very new in Vietnam, the process of investing time, money, participating in events, and showcasing to persuade customers to try out was extremely challenging. Finding personnel for a new industry was also difficult. Along with that, continuous research and development (R&D) were necessary to optimize products that were both good and “cost-effective” for Vietnamese businesses.

The first “sweet fruit” came to ADT quite serendipitously, in a natural way.

“One fine day, Viettel contacted us. At that time, Viettel had just launched 4G and needed new experiences, new technologies to clearly demonstrate the speed power of the 4G network. Viettel searched on Google for names of service providers, virtual reality technologies, but found only foreign companies on the first 9 pages. It wasn’t until the 10th page that ADT appeared. This was the first ‘sweet fruit’ that ADT received. We were very happy to be sought after by a large domestic company. This was also an opportunity for us to introduce new products and technologies to the Vietnamese market,” Mr. Duy recalled.

Looking back on the 10-year journey from a startup to the current scale (with members including ADT Creative, ADT Global, OneS, Labelless), amidst many times of pressure and compression, Mr. Duy drew some “keys” that helped the ADT team not easily give up.

First and foremost, a startup needs thorough preparation. Before embarking on the entrepreneurial path, one must anticipate the fiercely competitive environment. The necessary and sufficient conditions are not just a simple idea but a synthesis of many factors such as people, markets, products… Sometimes doing well is not necessarily enough, relying on luck and the right timing is also necessary.

In times of difficulty, a team that truly understands each other, willing to sacrifice time, effort, personal happiness for the collective, ready to “fight” for each other is needed.

Moreover, it is necessary to be truly persistent in overcoming difficulties. Sometimes when everything seems to be going well, suddenly there are problems that are not as expected. It is important to understand that this is normal, to accept it with a calm mindset, and be ready to face and overcome it.

“Just take a step, and you will gradually grow, prove your product, your reputation in the market, from there, good things will naturally come to you” – a life philosophy formed from reality seems very similar to the content of two books that Vice Chairman Nguyen The Duy loves, namely “Infinite Game” and “Memoirs of Ly Quang Dieu – Volume 2: From the third world to the first.”

Combining hard logic with lofty creativity to create a competitive advantage

Vice Chairman Nguyen The Duy is always proud that ADT is a technology communications company, doing both communication and technology, like combining the left brain and the right brain, one side is logic, code… rigid, the other side is creativity, lofty, artistic. It’s very difficult to combine like this, but ADT is determined to do so to provide an extremely “Wow” feeling to the experience of product/service users.

Building an R&D team that meets demanding requirements requires a lot of effort and cleverness, with diverse perspectives. Sometimes there are still creative ideas that go beyond the capabilities of technology, cannot be done yet. But with technology ideas that are currently immature but can be improved in the future, and bring great value, it is necessary to pursue them to the end.

“I still remember one time when we had a deal related to developing a coloring book app. At that time, Disney was the only one in the world with this coloring book app. Everyone thought Disney was a huge global corporation that had invested a lot of money, how could a small Vietnamese startup like ADT do it. We convinced ourselves that if Disney could do it, so could we. And in the end, we did it for real. This success is also one of the motivations that helped ADT always strive, make efforts, and have confidence in the team to develop new technologies,” Mr. Duy recounted the old story, with a look of pride in his eyes.

Answering the question “what are the products/technological solutions of ADT that you are most satisfied with,” Mr. Duy said: Besides services in communication, marketing, there are 4 ADT developed products that have achieved initial successes.

One is a product about artificial humans (Digital human) with AI generative functions, having human-like appearance, and the ability to interact and communicate like real people, with various expressions and states. ADT has showcased this product in many places both domestically and internationally.

Two is the core AI language processing product with extremely good response speed. Recently, ADT provided this product for a demonstration at Gitex – one of the largest global technology events – and has been recognized by the world community.

Three is the Metaverse product, which has developed into a form where people can enter and interact with each other. ADT currently plans to attach AI non-player characters (NPC) to the Metaverse environment, with the ability to think and communicate flexibly, which is very useful for training activities.

And fourth is the XR virtual reality platform: including augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR); running “all in one” on the web without the need to download an app. Previously, to view virtual reality content, users had to download a new app, which was considered a major obstacle. Now, people only need to scan a QR code or visit a web link to experience virtual reality easily.

According to Mr. Duy, ADT’s technological products have many competitive advantages compared to domestic and international competitors.

“For domestic units, we have added a technology factor to the communication part, helping to enhance the user experience of the enterprise’s customers. They will have more emotions when using the services. Especially with international units, we have a very good advantage to compete on price while achieving software quality, as well as high aesthetics and artistic quality, meeting very strict criteria,” Mr. Duy described the competitive advantage of his company in more detail.

Proud of the Digital human product developed by Vietnamese people

In recent days, the character Hạ Vy – a product developed by ADT and its member units – has attracted the attention of the Vietnamese public.

Hạ Vy is the first AI Digital human in Vietnam, developed by ADT, which was officially launched at the Vietnam International Innovation Expo 2023 (VIIE 2023).

To build Hạ Vy, the AI ​​core is upgraded and integrated with hyper-real Digital human, creating the unique AI Digital Human in Vietnam up to the current time.

The virtual character Hạ Vy appears with a complete full-body design, capable of making decisions regarding expressions, body language, and real-time conversation.

In particular, the AI Digital Human Hạ Vy has broken many records for: Speech-to-text processing speed – 0.1 seconds for 50 words; Text-to-speech conversion speed – under 2 seconds for 50 words; Ability to recognize context and achieve extremely fast response times – 0.1 second response for 50 words based on context (on average, 3 to 5 characters per word).

In addition to smooth communication in Vietnamese and fast information processing, Hạ Vy can also proactively create content, self-learn, and provide answers when asked.

Virtual characters like Hạ Vy have the ability to participate in a variety of advertising and sales activities such as: Customer care, self-service, video bots, KOLs, Models, AI MCs, AI Tour guides, brand ambassadors… even 24/7 live streaming sales across multiple platforms.

“Hạ Vy is a product developed by the ADT team from shaping, building 3D models, expressions, feedback… All digital-related content is handled by ADT. We are very proud of this Vietnamese-developed Digital human,” emphasized Mr. Duy.

Sharing his impressions of Hạ Vy, Mr. Lê Khánh Hưng, CEO of Aries Strategy, said: “This is the first time I have experienced this technology and it seems very advanced. I think my current clients also need such technology. It is not limited to KOLs or sales experiences. Large corporations, which are my clients, really need automation technology and information delivery at a high frequency, sophistication, and professionalism. Looking from the perspective of large corporations, this technology will save them a lot of costs, create professionalism, and uniformity across all their branches.”

Seizing the opportunity to export Vietnamese “gray matter” internationally

Not long ago, ADT made efforts to introduce virtual reality technology to children in schools, with the aim of spreading new technology to these children – the foundation for the future to make this technology more widespread. However, due to the modest scale of the company, bringing technology to children took a lot of time and effort, so ADT had to temporarily suspend this activity to focus on R&D and business activities, aiming to bring Vietnamese technological products to the world. Currently, the company still has some cooperation programs with domestic universities and high schools regarding career orientation for students.

“Not only collaborating with large Vietnamese companies, ADT Global also collaborates with many large international companies such as Intel, Meta, STE, Surbana Jurong, G42,… We have provided Digital human products to some international markets such as South Korea, Singapore, the US, UAE,… and recently, some companies from other countries have expressed interest, and ADT is researching to expand into foreign markets,” said Mr. Duy.

Assessing the potential development of interactive technology, Vice Chairman Nguyễn Thế Duy expressed: “Interactive technology or technology communication is an inevitable trend. I think it is also an opportunity for Vietnam to export ‘gray matter’ internationally, step out into the world. With good human resources, increasingly professional standards, and meeting reasonable cost requirements, Vietnam can develop products and provide services to the world with quality not inferior to that of major countries.”

Mr. Duy noted that Vietnam has many advantages in developing applications related to Digital human, AI in various fields such as agriculture, healthcare, urban management… Vietnam has a relatively large population, widespread internet access, affordable costs, many talented mathematicians, and many incentives to promote the development of technology and innovative products. The task for Vietnamese businesses is to seize the opportunity to rise.

Currently, ADT continues to research, refine, and optimize its products. Digital human will be one of the key focuses of this Vietnamese enterprise in 2024.

Imagining the “Make in Vietnam” technology products developed by ADT in the next 5 and 10 years, Mr. Duy expects: “The world will know Vietnam as a country that provides high-quality products, ensuring criteria for both image, experience, and internal performance. Focusing on breakthrough technologies such as virtual reality, metaverse, artificial intelligence…, ADT Global is ready to join the race on the flat world.”

Before concluding the conversation, we further inquired about the biggest aspiration of the “boss” of ADT, and Mr. Duy happily “revealed”: “I always wish for everyone around me to live happily, joyfully, and conveniently. When the people around me are happy, I am happy too. That has been my biggest aspiration since deciding to start a business in my home country, and it remains so until now.”

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