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.


Samsung puts priority on IoT

Yoon Boo-keun, Samsung Electronics' consumer electronics division president. Source: Yonhap News.
Yoon Boo-keun, Samsung Electronics’ consumer electronics division president. Source: Yonhap News.

Samsung Electronics said Tuesday a new order prevails in the global consumer electronics industry with the Internet of Things (IoT) leading the way, prompting it to search for new business opportunities in the field. “There’s no question that IoT is the next key driver for Samsung,” Samsung Electronics co-CEO Yoon Boo-keun said at a news conference in Seoul. Yoon said Samsung wants IoT to be totally open. “By 2020, every single product that Samsung sells will be connected,” he said. He said IoT will significantly change everyone’s life and Samsung is positioned to become a leader in a more connected era.”Samsung aims to closely collaborate with industries to really make IoT happen. We will continue pursuing a human-centric business philosophy,” he said.

He made the remarks at an event to unveil new home appliances at the company’s Secho Tower in southern Seoul. Yoon said consumes are embracing IoT, which will be relevant across all segments from industry to wearables, smart homes, cars and more, with multiple devices from different parts of people’s lives being connected.

For full article, see Korea Times.


With gamification, banks build profit by adding fun

A 39-year-old with the surname Yim plays “My Love Dokdo” on his smartphone whenever he has time – not just because the game is addictive, but because it can garner him a better interest rate on his online banking account.

“I started playing it because if I reach level 20 the interest rate on my account will automatically go up 0.5 percentage point,” said Yim, who recently opened a “My Love Dokdo Cyber Fixed Deposit” account with NH Nonghyup.

As smartphones and tablet PCs become ever-more ubiquitous, local financial companies are grafting games to their online banking systems to attract new customers. The trend is dubbed gamification, which refers to the use of game mechanics and game design techniques in non-game contexts.

One of the most successful examples of this has come from Nike. When runners wear the brand’s sneakers equipped with a sensor called Nike Plus, it calculates the number of calories burned, measures the workout time and distance, and sends them the information online.

When they reach their pre-set workout target, the company awards them a trophy online. Users can also upload their records on social networking services and compete with their friends. More than 2 million people worldwide now subscribe to the service.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

SK Telecom and HMH partnering agreement to jointly promote smart learning Business

SK Telecom announced today that it will partner with the largest U.S. education company, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), which provides educational content to 120 countries across the world, to strengthen domestic smart learning business and kick off global smart learning business.

The two companies signed an agreement on May 31 at SK Telecom’s headquarters in Seoul with the attendance of Bae Joon-Dong, President of Network Operations Business of SK Telecom, and Timothy Cannon, Executive Vice President, Strategy and Alliances of HMH. In addition, Mark Tokola, Deputy Chief of Mission, the Embassy of the United States Seoul Korea, attended the signing ceremony to congratulate and recognize the significance of the alliance between the two leading companies in the education and telecommunications sectors in Korea and the United States.

Through the partnership, the two companies will converge their core capabilities in information communications technology (ICT) and educational content to (1) cooperate in the education content platform business, (2) jointly develop an education platform targeted at the global market, and (3) conduct a range of globally oriented smart education businesses in Korea and overseas markets. Through the alliance, HMH will develop and provide more than one thousand contents, including Destination and Leveled Reader, while SK Telecom will collaborate by developing viewers, apps, billing systems, certification systems, synchronization functions and other platform functions.

For full article see Korea IT Times.

Koreans to lead digital lifestyle with 11 gadgets

From GPS-enabled sunglasses to digital umbrellas, Koreans will use more mobile-connected devices per capita than any other country by 2020, the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) said on Tuesday.

The GSMA said there will be 24 billion mobile connections in the world by that date presenting a $4.5 trillion market opportunity for companies that adopt mobile technology into their business models.

Koreans are estimated to own more than 10 such devices within the next decade as the nation’s legions of early adopters move to embrace a digitally ubiquitous living environment.

“We estimate that South Korea will be a country that has the world’s highest share of the number of connected mobile devices per capita in 10 years,” said Ana Lattibeaudiere, head of the GSMA’s connected living program, during a press conference at the Connected Living Asia Summit at COEX in southern Seoul on Tuesday.

For full article see Joongang Daily.

Smartphones make home smarter

A refrigerator by LG Electronics is linked to smart devices. When receipts and bar codes of groceries are scanned with a smartphone, the list of items bought is automatically sent to the refrigerator. Information such as expiration dates or recipes are sent to the handsets. “Smart Home Net” solution by Samsung Electronics connects home appliances with smartphones so that they can automatically be checked and receive upgrades.

They are examples of “smart hybrids,” where diverse products, ranging from home appliances to cars, are being linked with devices like smartphones and tablets to turn smart.

Heo Jeong-wook, a researcher at KT Economic and Business Research Institute, notes in a report that smart hybrids are increasingly being chosen by manufacturers as an easier and more effective way of making their products smarter, instead of producing appliances that are smart themselves.

“An increasing number of consumers are becoming accustomed to smart devices. However, the debut of new electronics devices cause “technology stress,” Heo said. According to a Job Korea survey, one third of salaried workers said they feel anxious because they are not used to or don’t know how to properly use computers and the latest technology. They are, meanwhile, good at using smartphones, with three out of ten spending over three hours a day on them. He added that around 40 percent of Americans were using smartphones last year. Korean Internet users spend 2.2 hours a day online, and they log on to the Web through smartphones rather than desktop computers.

People now want to control other appliances with their phones and tablets. “There has emerged a one-device multi service paradigm, amid the expansion of smart hybrid devices,” Heo said.

For full article see Korea Times.

Will Bada OS changes lead to smartphone autonomy?

Smartphone users are well aware of Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows operating systems, but Samsung Electronics’ Bada platform has maintained a low profile since it debuted in February 2010 on the company’s lower-end Wave smartphone.

Sooner or later, the still-obscure platform, which means “ocean” in Korean, may further widen its territory in the smartphone ecosystem, given that Samsung is seen to be readying to open it to outside developers.

Kang Tae-jin, senior vice president of Samsung’s contents planning team, told the press at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in late February that Samsung will release the Bada source code under an open-source license.

“We developed Bada with the aim of opening it up from the beginning,” Kang said. “We will consolidate it with another platform and open it at an appropriate time.” He did not elaborate on the exact date.

For full article see Joongang Daily.

Over half of Koreans use e-learning system

South Korea’s market for online or electronic-learning (e-learning) systems rose sharply last year with more than half of the population aged over three saying they have used such educational aids, the government said Tuesday.

Combined sales by the country’s service operators rose 9.2 percent from a year earlier to about 2.45 trillion won ($2.19 billion) in 2011, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

The number of service providers also increased 6.9 percent on-year to 1,656 with the number of people hired by these companies rising 7.3 percent to 25,182.

For full article see Korea Herald.

Smart grid — magic bullet solution

Korea has emerged as a powerhouse in many sectors ranging from shipbuilding, automobiles, steel manufacturing and consumer electronic devices, powered by the nation’s prowess in implementing advanced technology.

With its rapid awareness and the scarcity of natural resources ― Korea imports all of its coal, oil and gas ― the nation is looking to focus on “energy-saving systems’’ to prevent damage to its global competitiveness from external factors.

One new solution lies in a major initiative in “smart grid technology’’ in line with the government’s steady spending for green growth. A smart grid additionally utilizes wind and solar power, allows people to more easily report technical problems such as power outages and defends itself against cyber-attacks.

For full article see Korea Times.

Mobile carriers’ investment up 20 pct in 2011

South Korean mobile carriers’ investment rose 20 percent in 2011 from a year earlier mainly on increased spending to build high-speed long-term evolution (LTE) networks, the telecommunications watchdog said Thursday.

The three mobile carriers including top player SK Telecom Co. spent 7.67 trillion won (US$6.86 billion) on investment in 2011, compared with 6.4 trillion won a year earlier, according to the Korea Communications Commission (KCC).

The watchdog said that local mobile carriers spent more money last year to cope with growing demand for wireless services and brace for the impact from newly launched LTE services.  SK Telecom and LG Uplus Corp., the country’s smallest mobile carrier, launched their LTE services last July to meet subscribers’ increasing demand for accessing data at a faster pace.

For full article see Yonhap News.