A logo of SM Entertainment Co. is shown in this image provided by the company. (SM Entertainment Co.)
KAIST, South Korea's top science university, said Thursday it is teaming up with K-pop powerhouse SM Entertainment Co. to conduct joint research on digital avatars for virtual concerts in an effort to boost development in metaverse technology.
The metaverse -- a virtual environment where users interact through digital avatars -- has recently grown in popularity as the pandemic limits in-person contact. K-pop artists have been at the forefront in adopting the technology, holding virtual meetups with fans.
KAIST said in a statement that the research will focus on producing digital avatars, as well as metaverse concert technology.
The university will offer its artificial intelligence and network technology used in metaverses in the partnership, while SM Entertainment will provide its content production expertise.
The collaboration is the latest in the local entertainment industry's efforts to adopt new technology amid the pandemic.
Naver Z Corp., which operates metaverse platform Zepeto, has collaborated with K-pop girl group BLACKPINK to allow users to virtually meet the group on the platform. Zepeto had over 200 million users globally as of February.
Last year, K-pop boy band SuperM, under SM Entertainment, held an exclusively online concert that drew about 75,000 fans. (Yonhap)