IoT test cities will be technology proving grounds

The government plans to designate two cities where local and foreign companies developing businesses related to Internet of Things (IoT) technologies can test products and services and get consumer feedback. Under the plan, the central and regional governments will establish a fund to establish super-fast telecom networks and basic data transfer infrastructures. The cities will test smart health care devices and a digitized public administration system. The testing will last three years.

The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) announced Thursday it will allocate 12.6 billion won ($11.5 million) this year for the project, 7.5 billion won for the smart health care project and 5.1 billion for the smart public administration project. The ministry will begin accepting project applications from city governments today. The IoT test-bed project is part of the government’s effort to help private sector IT companies, and it will be a first step toward studying the impact of IoT devices on the legal system.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

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EU Research & Innovation Day

The Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Korea and the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea are co-organising the 1st EU Research and Innovation Day in the Conrad Hotel, Seoul, Korea on 25 March, 2015.  In this event, all EU Member States and their major research and innovation organisations will also participate and share information with Korean counterparts about their policies, programmes and success stories. There will be ample opportunities for networking with present and future partners. Please join our event and experience the excellence of European research and innovation!

EU Research Day

For more information, click here.

For registration, click here.

Samsung establishes product innovation team

Samsung Electronics has established a team to work on hi-tech innovative business projects, officials said Monday. Its core mission includes projects on virtual reality, robotic telepresence, drones and robots, three-dimensional (3D) printing and unmanned vehicles.”The team will explore how technologies could help people’s daily life for a better future,” an official said.
Samsung mobile chief Shin Jong-kyun will lead the team inside the mobile division.

The team, which has no direct links with the company structure and divisions, will operate independently. “Given the significance of the team, members will have more authority and independence because the main purpose of the team isn’t to develop single devices for any imminent results, but to develop solutions to go with Samsung’s manufacturing capabilities,” the official said.

For full article, see Korea Times.

Korea to enhance hi-tech war systems

South Korea’s Defense Ministry on Monday unveiled a new defense vision based on information and communication technologies, and other cutting-edge digital platforms to better counter evolving North Korean threats and other security challenges. During its New Year’s policy briefing to President Park Geun-hye, Defense Minister Han Min-koo said the ministry would push to incorporate into military operations innovative technologies such as ICT, big data solutions and the Internet of Things, under the “Creative Defense” vision.

Capitalizing on the country’s technological savviness, the ministry will step up efforts to develop future weapons systems such as combat equipment using laser beams and electromagnetic waves, and unmanned platforms, he said. “In consideration of the limited defense resources and various security threats, we will push to come up with more creative, innovative ways to manage our military, going beyond the old approach that was mainly about catching up with others rather than moving ahead of them,” Han told reporters after the policy briefing at Cheong Wa Dae.

For full article, see Korea Herald.

IoT and software projects to receive 93 billion USD in loans

The government will provide loans of 100 trillion won ($92.3 billion) for the development of the Internet of Things (IoT) and other software projects to foster new growth engines. In a joint briefing Wednesday, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and four other ministries said the state financing scheme will benefit fifth-generation mobile networks, bio medicine, solar and fuel cells, bio energy and nano semiconductor and sensor technologies.

“We will help finance hydrogen cars, zero-energy towns and the Internet of Things (IoT) in 17 regional Creative Economy Innovation Centers,” said Science, ICT and Future Planning Minister Choi Yang-hee. These centers will also involve Hyundai Motor, Hyundai Heavy Industries, LG, Doosan, Lotte, Hanwha, CJ, GS, Hanjin, KT, Naver and Daum Kakao. The innovation centers are a pet project of President Park Geun-hye — Daegu, Daejeon, Gumi in North Gyeongsang Province and Jeonju in North Jeolla Province are currently home to such centers.

For full article, see Korea Times.

Posco and Samsung open innovation centers in North Gyeongsang province

President Park Geun-hye gets a close-up look at a robot that cleans pipes at the creative economy innovation center in Pohang, North Gyeongsang. [NEWSIS]

The Park Geun-hye government’s creative economy initiative received its biggest boost thus far on Wednesday with the opening of innovation centers in Gumi and Pohang in North Gyeongsang. That brings the number of innovation centers nationwide to five, designed to assist start-ups and support regional economies.

The Pohang center in particular received a lot of attention for being independently established by Korea’s largest steelmaker, Posco. It is the first innovation center established and run by the private sector. Samsung Group, which established an innovation center in Daegu in September, opened another one in Gumi to help nearby electronics manufacturers and suppliers enhance production efficiency by implementing smart systems in their factories.

Park and Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy Choi Kyung-hwan attended the opening ceremonies for both centers on Wednesday. “Regional economies have prospered mainly around industrial complexes for the past 40 years, but those areas nowadays have struggled with deteriorating production facilities and low technological competitiveness,” Park said at the ceremony. “The two new innovation centers will certainly revitalize these places by helping traditional manufacturers roll out new products inspired by technologies like the Internet of Things, big data and 3-D printing.”

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

Korea tops EU innovation chart

2014_03_Korea-EUAs President Park Geun-hye continues to emphasize innovation as a way to strengthen the country, Korea has been ranked No. 1 overall by the Innovation Union Scoreboard of the European Commission.

According to the ranking released Tuesday,Korea outperformed the United States, Japan, European Union and Canada. The 28 European Union members and 10 other countries – including Korea, Japan, China, Russia and India – were also ranked. The innovation index was based on the average of 25 indicators rated between 0 and 1. However, nonmembers of the union were evaluated only on 12 indicators due to availability of data. Korea scored 0.74, slightly ahead of the United States (0.736) and Japan (0.711). The European Union’s average was 0.63. 

Using 100 as a baseline to represent the European Union’s average score, Korea trailed the EU until 2008, but has seen steady improvement since. The country scored 117 last year to tie with the United States. The index was largely based on indicators in three areas: talents, investments and R&D projects; corporate activities in R&D and patents; and results of R&D, including commercialization and revenues.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

Government pours more funds into SME’s R&D

2014_01_money_researchSmall and midsize companies in Korea will be given more funding support by the government for their research and development this year. According to the Small and Medium Business Administration yesterday, the government will spend 818.4 billion won ($779 million) in 2014 in the R&D sector for SMEs, up 1.8 percent, or 14.7 billion, compared to the previous year.

The move is in line with the current administration’s focus on boosting a so-called creative economy and realizing “economic democratization” by nurturing SMEs. Not all SMEs, however, will benefit from the extended funding this year. The SMBA has categorized SMEs into different groups based on their performances and companies in each category are expected to receive different amounts of support after deliberation by the government.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

Korea’s creative economy aims at venture ecosystem

When President Park Geun-hye introduced her creative economy policy during the election campaign late last year, most people were bewildered by the relatively new concept. The policy’s key points included promoting convergent IT and software technologies, scientific discoveries and technology integrating with cultural content for sustainable economic growth.

“We must lead Korea’s mid- to long-term growth based on knowledge (in science and technology),” Park said when announcing her plan to create the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, the control tower for the president’s creative economy initiative.

The emphasis on science and technology in the key economic policies of Korean presidents is nothing new, but science and technology or even technological convergence had been overlooked by the former administration of Lee Myung-bak, whose knowledge economy efforts were focused more on facilitating a business-friendly environment for conglomerates.

The concept of a creative economy was just as confusing as a knowledge economy, or even Park’s economic democratization pledge.

For full article, see Korea Herald.