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.


State power companies get cybersecurity orders

2015_02_cybersecurityThe Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) says state-run power companies will spend a total of 79 billion won ($71 million) on cybersecurity this year, an increase of 18 billion won. Minister Yoon Sang-jick on Thursday afternoon met with CEOs of 17 state-run energy companies, including the Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco), Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Corporation (KHNP) and Korea Power Exchange.

Kepco, the nation’s sole power distributor, will get 28.4 billion won and KHNP 11.5 billion won. Each of the other companies will receive up to 4 billion won. The budget will be mostly spent on hiring security experts, maintaining internal network infrastructure and expanding maintenance teams. All 17 power companies will have to structure their internal network in five systems, from the current three.

The current system is broken down into a regular network that can access the Internet, an intranet that mainly deals with document processing, and an exclusive network to control the power plant. From now on, the intranet will have an additional system for confidential technical documents like power plant blueprints. The power plant control system will also be split into two networks to beef up security.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.


SKT, KT, LG U+ to invest US$ 6 billion in 5G, IoT

2015_02_korean telecomsThree Korean mobile carriers will make a full-scale investment this year in facilities for next-generation technologies for 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), and GiGA Internet. According to industry sources on Feb. 5, three carriers announced that they will make a nearly 6.5 trillion won (US$6.0 billion) investment in facilities this year during their briefings on results for Q4 2014. SK Telecom is planning to do 2 trillion won (US$1.8 billion), KT 2.7 trillion won (US$2.5 billion), and LG U+ 1.7 trillion won (US$1.5 billion). Although KT’s investment in 2015 is expected to go up 7 percent from the previous year, the number for SKT and LG U+ is a year-on-year decline of 6.8 percent and 23 percent, respectively.

The total investments by the three carriers are projected to decrease this year, as they were around 7 trillion won in the past. The phenomenon is due to the fact that they do not heavily invest in LTE facilities anymore, following a rapid increase in investment over the last four years. In other words, competition between mobile carriers to build LTE networks nationwide, which started in 2011, is coming to an end.

For full article, see Business Korea.

Naver focuses on mobile shopping

Naver is trying to finally crack the mobile business, which it admits has been its Achilles’ heel. Naver is the largest search engine and portal in the country. However, as people steadily shift away from PCs to access the Internet, Naver has been seeking new businesses in the mobile sector. Naver said Tuesday it is introducing a one-stop mobile shopping platform in the first half of this year that forecasts the needs of users and reflects them in search results. It hopes users will shop and pay for goods using its payment system Naver Pay.

“Everyone knows that Naver is not No. 1 in the mobile business,” said Han Seong-sook, head of Naver’s services departments, at a press conference at Naver Partner Square in Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam, southern Seoul Turesday. “Naver lacks content and sharing functions, which are the most important component in mobile. We have a sense of urgency.”

Social networking services such as Google and Facebook are also competing in the mobile shopping market to compete with Amazon, Alibaba and eBay. Naver said it will use an Shopping Trend Graph algorithm that shows relevant information about shopping in search result and the algorithm can predict the users’ interests. Around 34 percent of keywords in Naver searches are already shopping related.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

Mobile to surpass web in Korean ad market

Mobile advertising has been expanding fast in South Korea on the back of robust user demand and a growth in mobile payment, with its size to soon eclipse the Internet-based market, data showed Monday. The percentage of mobile advertising expenses spent this year by local companies accounted for 38.4 percent of their total online advertising spending, according to an estimate by market researcher eMarketer Inc. The figure will likely jump to 54.4 percent next year, surpassing that for Internet advertising, the report said. The portion for mobile advertising had only stood at 20.1 percent in 2013, it added.

South Korea, where every eight out of 10 people use a smartphone, has seen a rapid growth in mobile advertising as people tend to consume media or gain information through their handset instead of the Web. A latest report by Digieco, a research center run by South Korea’s mobile carrier KT Corp., showed that Koreans spent 3 hours and 40 minutes daily using their smartphones in 2014, which is 2.5 times longer than the average time logged five years ago.

Propped up by such steady demand, companies’ dependency on mobile advertising in South Korea is expected to hike to as high as 73.2 percent in 2018, the highest in the world, eMarketer said.

For full article, see Yonhap News.

10,000 plants to become ‘smart’ by 2020, private – government to invest KRW 1 trillion

The government, through private – public joint effort, will promote a project to intellectualize and optimize entire production processes in 10,000 plants of small and medium-scale manufacturing companies by 2020 with an investment of KRW 1 trillion. The goal is to foster the three soft powers of manufacturing industry, which are engineering, design and embedded software, into new innovation industry to continue on the success of materials and parts industry.

On the 26th, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MoTIE) announced ‘Manufacturing Industry Innovation 3.0 Strategy for Creative Economy’ at a talk in Cheong Wa Dae with chairmen from the Chambers of Commerce across the country invited by President Park Geun-hye.

“As convergence between manufacturing industry and IT, software, service and other industries spreads throughout the world, new production methods, such as 3D printing and smart plant, are coming up to the surface,” said Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Yoon Sang-jick. “To respond to this trend, we need to change our strategy from pursuing to leading the advanced countries and promote evolution of Korea’s manufacturing industry.”

For full article, see Korea IT News.

Health care sector in turmoil over telemedicine

Late last year, the Ministry of Health and Welfare released a final plan to start telemedicine in 2015. “Telemedicine” refers to the use of information technologies for the delivery of clinical care. Related ministries also announced a joint plan to allow hospitals to establish subsidiaries to engage in incidental businesses, mergers and acquisitions among medical institutions, and to lift the cap on the number of foreign patients.

The Korea Medical Association (KMA), a lobby group of physicians, said last week that it would finalize a walkout plan on Jan. 11, saying it would not “tolerate” the government’s plan to allow telemedicine and for-profit hospital subsidiaries.

A senior KMA member said Wednesday that the group would likely launch a nationwide walkout this month. But the group will decide later on whether to stage an all-out strike after observing the public sentiment, noting that the recent train workers’ walkout was not as welcomed by the public as past strikes. The KMA is one of the major groups of doctors who are concerned that the government’s recent plan could pave the way for the privatization of medical services and hurt their business.

For full article, see Korea Herald.

KAIST developed ultra-low power 100 Gbps ethernet IC

2013_11_terasquareData centers can consume up to 100 times more energy than a standard office building. Data center energy consumption doubled from 2000 to 2006, reaching more than 60 billion kilowatt hours per year. If the current usage and technology trends continue, the energy consumption of data centers in the US will reach 8% of the country’s total electric power consumption by 2020.

A research team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and Terasquare, Inc. (, a spin-off company of the university, developed an extremely low-powered integrated circuit for Ethernet that consumes less than 0.75W of electricity but is able to send and receive data at the high speed of 100 gigabits per second (Gbps). The research team, headed by Hyeon-Min Bae, assistant professor of electrical engineering at KAIST, claims that the new microchip uses only one-third of the electricity consumed by the currently installed chips at data centers, thereby helping the centers to save energy.

For full article, see KAIST.

Korea gets poor marks in open data

2013_11_opendataKorea lags behind some other advanced countries in the openness of data collected by the government, according to an England-based nonprofit organization.  A recent survey of 77 countries by the World Wide Web Foundation gave Korea 54.21 points out of 100 in its Open Data Barometer, which made it the 12th most transparent country among those surveyed.

The United Kingdom topped the list at 100, followed by the United States at 93.38 points and Sweden at 85.75 points. It is the first time the organization, established by World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, conducted the survey. The scores, according to the organization, combine an assessment of the countries’ readiness regarding open data policy, as well as how well it implements the policy and how much of an impact it has on society.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

Mobile games exempt from ‘Cinderella Law’

People will be able to enjoy games on their handsets at any time of the day as the government decided not to include mobile games on the list of those prohibited from play from midnight to 6 a.m. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family announced Monday that they would exempt mobile games from applying the online game curfew. According to the notification, online games for personal computers, Web-based games and PC package games are currently subject to the online game curfew banning children under age 16 from accessing them during the first six hours of the day.

“We found out through research that mobile games were not the main reasons for game addiction, which is why they were not included on the complete list,” said an official at the Culture Ministry. “As a result, we came to an agreement with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family to take it out of the so-called ‘shutdown’ list for the next two years.”

The new law will take effect from May 20-May 19, 2015 following an advance notice period running until Feb. 13.

For full article, see Korea Herald.