Korea’s rebuilding itself on the Internet

When a nation goes from having no smartphones to having them almost everywhere in just three years, you naturally ask what difference it makes.

I came to Korea in October, with one theory about this: that this was another example of smartphones opening a country to the world. I left with a slightly different theory, that Korea ― especially its young people ― was already open to the world, the smartphones just made it easier for them to reach it and touch all of it at once. I was lucky enough to meet PSY and have an hour taking questions from students who had travelled from across Korea, who all showed a real desire to reach out and succeed across borders.

It’s only natural that they should pick the Internet to do that. Consumer electronics have been experiencing a global transition, and Korea is leading the way into what I see as the third wave of consumer electronics.

For the full article by Eric Schmidt, Google Executive Chairman, see Korea Times.

Cloud computing raises security concerns

Cloud computing is one of the hottest innovations in the information technology industry, including in Korea, seen by many as the next best way to store and manage data. However, industry observers are concerned that it may threaten digital property rights and security of information.

Cloud computing uses servers rather than hardware to store information. Proponents of the method argue that it allows companies or individuals to manage more data better and faster by putting it on a larger virtual server with a bigger capacity.

American technology giants Apple, Microsoft and Google are all investing heavily in developing clouds while Korean firms have shown a keen interest in adapting the new method to their systems.

For full article see Korea Times.

Mobile carriers eyeing non-core businesses

Though mobile carriers are seeing a rapid rise in long-term evolution (LTE) network subscribers, they are also anxious to earn revenues from what was hitherto considered out of their business areas.

SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus have shown near same services in telecommunication business recently, all boasting a nationwide LTE network and all releasing voice over LTE (VoLTE, or making voice calls available on an LTE network).

Market saturation and the declining profits due to heavy investments on network building are now pushing companies to find a way to increase competitiveness by differentiating themselves from rivals, especially for the second half of this year.

SK Telecom, which announced 4 million LTE subscribers Sunday, wants its members to take a keen interest in its growing content.

For full article see Korea Times.

To keep tech up, Samsung acquires

Samsung Electronics is buying more companies as part of its growth strategy and its attempt to keep up with technology. It acquired the mobile-technology business of U.K.-based Cambridge Silicon Radio PLC for $310 million on Tuesday, in its bid to ensure the company’s key manufacturing technology and patents related to mobile devices.

Samsung will obtain CSR’s handset connectivity and location technology, as well as 21 U.S. patents related to wireless technologies. “This acquisitions is the largest of a foreign company since the financial crisis in 1997,” said Woo Nam-sung, president of the Large Scale Integration division at Samsung Electronics. “Samsung is expected to provide a variety of features in handset connectivity.”

For full article see Joongang Daily.

Korea’s high-speed wireless Internet penetration tops 100 pct

South Korea’s high-speed wireless Internet penetration rate has topped the 100 percent mark for the first time among member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a report showed Sunday.

The penetration rate of high-speed wireless Internet service in South Korea amounted to 100.6 percent as of the end of last year, the highest among the 34 members of the Paris-based club of advanced economies, according to the OECD report. The figure represents a sharp increase from 89.8 percent from a year earlier and is nearly double the average OECD average of 54.3 percent. High-speed wireless Internet services include those provided by third-generation and fourth-generation smartphones, the wireless broadband (WiBro) and wireless fidelity (WiFi).

For full article see Yonhap News.

LG launches cloud game platform

Mobile carrier LG Uplus unveiled its cloud computing based game platform called C-games, Wednesday.

Subscribers of various network services can purchase games from the C-games website that can then be played on any device with Web connectivity.

“We have a top level network with more competitiveness than other mobile carriers or broadcasters,” said Chun Byung-wook, senior vice president of LG Uplus’ service platform division. “Cloud games are a central service to LG Uplus’ LTE (long-term evolution) strategy and will once again revolutionize the market.”

“Through cloud games, we want to create a new value for users and let them enjoy high memory games.”

For full article see Korea Times.

More cloud storage services roll in

If the hard disk drive in your computer is nearing capacity, you no longer need to worry. You have options.

Dropbox, a San Francisco-based, cloud storage service provider, began Thursday offering its customers the option to use the service in Korean, adding to existing languages such as English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese.

The march of the 5-year-old U.S. firm into Korea comes less than a month after Google unleashed the Korean version of its Google Drive cloud storage service targeting Korean users. Google Drive’s strength, its devoted users say unanimously, lies in its in-app document-editing capabilities via its link to Google Docs.

For full article see Joongang Daily.

SKT, KT venture into big data health IT business

Yoo Ki-yoon (aged 51) recently received a personalized healthcare plan based on genome analysis, which processes the patient’s medical and family history and offers relevant healthcare information. This comprehensive health IT service suggests which hospital to visit depending on the symptoms, while providing information on the number of surgeries performed at the hospital, the success rate, and even patient review on doctors. Such big data-based health IT services is expected to gain traction and become fully commercialized in the next year or two.

In line with this latest development, South Korea’s top telecom carriers and the Korean government are actively exploring the potential of big data in healthcare and personal health record (PHR) businesses.

The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) recently formed a consortium with the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), Seoul National University, internet portal Daum, healthcare website Korea Medicare, and information analysis service provider Saltlux to develop a big data-based healthcare application. This application will provide an integrated platform for healthcare information by combining the databases of hospitals from the Health Insurance Review & Assessment Service (HIRA), drugs and pharmaceutics from the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA), and food additives from the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MIFAFF).

Full article see: MK Business News

A new smart TV or a set-top box?

Daum Communications’ little black box set to spark new battle in digital arena as it promises to undercut rivals. As Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics vie for leadership in terms of smart TV sales, Web portal Daum Communications has chosen to pursue a new niche market by supplying platforms for the latest highly-convergent goggle boxes.

In front of dozens of reporters from Seoul at its newly established Daum Space. 1 building in Jeju Island, the Kosdaq-listed firm unveiled on Friday its new Daum TV, an Android-based operating system for smart TVs.

Despite existing amid a fog of confusing definitions, smart TVs offer Internet connectivity without the need to link up to a separate computer. They also tend to function more like smartphones running on apps rather than regular flat-screens. Regular TVs can be upgraded using a set-top box.

For full article see Jongang Daily.

LG CNS CEO calls for data revolution

The lack of sophistication in data management capabilities is preventing Korean companies from taking the next big step in growth, according to the chief executive of LG CNS, a leading provider of information technology and systems.

At the “Entrue World 2012” forum in Seoul Thursday, LG CNS CEO Kim Dae-hoon called for firms to embrace the concept of “big data analytics,” which focuses on analyzing and utilizing the massive amount of data on company servers and the Internet.

“This concept could no longer be considered a specialized solution for technology companies. In all industries, companies are required to find quicker and effective ways to handle the larger amount of data and use it to improve their business,” he said at the seminar, which was joined by around 1,500 industry people. “It’s crucial that Korean companies embrace big data analytics as these systems are built to store, analyze and utilize large volumes of data beyond just e-mails, texts and images.”

Big data analytics has become a technology buzzword and is gaining increasing acceptance as the Internet moves toward mobile devices like smartphones and touch-screen tablets.

For full article see Korea Times.