Saturday, July 16, 2016

Old phone booths become EV charging stations

Not that many years ago the public phone booths managed by KT were well utilized by Korean citizens.  Not any more.   As reported in The Chosun Ilbo, unwanted  public phone booths are being turned into electric vehicle charging stations.   (Click on the graphic for a full size version)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Pokemon Go and Augmented Reality in Korea

I have long thought that the organizers and corporate supporters of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang should invest more efforts in augmented reality applications to assist visitors from around the world in learning about various aspects of Korea including history, geography, industry, and culture.  The recent worldwide media attention to the new Pokemon Go app that makes use of augmented reality caught my eye.  However, I was quite surprised to read in The Guardian and in local papers, including The Korea Joongang Daily, about South Koreans flocking to Sokcho to play the game.  As noted in the latter article, "Pokemon Go’s GPS is based on Google Maps, but the Korean government has yet to provide detailed maps to the American company because of concerns over the release of sensitive information such as military base locations, since the South is still technically engaged in conflict with North Korea. Pokemon Go gaming communities in Korea, though, found early on Tuesday that the game worked in certain areas in Gangwon, including Yangyang County, Inje County and the city of Sokcho. Some gamers’ screenshots uploaded on Wednesday to popular domestic webzine Inven showed the game working on Ulleung Island, 120 kilometers (74.5 miles) east of the Korean Peninsula."  (Click on the graphic for a full-size version)  There is little question that augmented reality apps like Pokemon Go are going to be very popular around the world.  The question in Korea is how legal restrictions currently in place might be adjusted to allow such apps to function fully here.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Korea's rising competition from China

Having just returned from a most interesting innovation studies conference in Beijing last weekend the article in today's English edition of The Hankyoreh newspaper naturally drew my attention.  It relates to a recurrent topic of this blog, the increasing competition Korea's ICT sector is facing from China.  As reported in the article and illustrated by the accompanying table (click for a full size version), Korea's industries are increasingly "feeling the heat" of competition from China.
What is most interesting about the table to me is the status of the last three industry sectors listed, namely telecommunications, display and semiconductors.  Given their role as key components of today's rapidly advancing digital networks, they have long since become the central engine of Korea's export-led economy.  Virtually all the other industries, starting with automobiles, shipbuilding and steel, are subject to the forces of digital convergence and are striving to increase their efficiency and competitiveness accordingly.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Beijing bound

I'm heading for Beijing tomorrow to attend the International Conference on Innovation Studies (ICIS2016) hosted by Tsinghua University. I'll deliver a paper entitled "Network-centric digital development in Korea: Origins, growth and prospects."