Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What is the message behind this popular 2016 Super Bowl commercial?

Although I didn't watch the Super Bowl this year, I took note that Hyundai was among the top ten popular commercials aired this year, according to the Branding in Asia magazine.  Coincidentally, this morning, a few days after the Super Bowl, my wife and I stopped by a Speedmate auto shop because an icon had begun appearing on the dashboard of our Kia Sorento.   The technician took a quick look at the display, then fetched his notebook-sized electronic device and attached it to our car's network via a connection under the steering wheel.   After a few minutes of navigating around the devices on our car, he informed us we'd have to take it to a Kia center or a larger service center that has a more up-to-date diagnostic device.  Enjoy this video and think of the message it conveys.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Future high speed rail networks

I've posted frequently about the relationship of Korea's transportation infrastructure to its communications networks and patterns of communications, touching on such topics as national unification to urbanization (see these posts).  The Korea Joongang Daily recently carried an article describing government plans to spend 74 trillion won or $62.2 billion on high speed rail development.  As shown in the first graphic (click to see a larger version) the initial phase of the project will link five cities on the outskirts of the national capital metropolitan area.   I will admit a strong personal interest in this project because it will reportedly reduce travel time from Songdo to Seoul from about an  hour and a half to only 23 minutes.
The article also notes that "Outdated rail lines along the central and southern regions of the peninsula will also be upgraded.
It currently takes more than five hours to travel from Seoul to Gangneung, Gangwon, on the east coast by train. That travel time will be cut back to one hour and seven minutes. The time it takes to travel from Busan to Gwangju on the opposite site of the Peninsula will be reduced to two hours and 20 minutes from the existing six hours and six minutes." The second graphic illustrates the major national routes that will be in service upon completion of the project in 2025.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Speed Matters and Korea Leads

Readers of this blog will know that the speed of internet connections has been a recurrent theme of this blog over the years (for example, check out these posts).  Intuitively, most internet users understand that the speed of an internet connection is important and from the consumer standpoint, the faster the connection the better.  Google has done research with its search pages that empirically demonstrates this preference for faster loading pages.  In 2013 a survey of European internet users showed that 45% of them would be willing to upgrade or change their supplier for higher speed.
South Korea leads the world in internet connection speeds and is showing no signs of slowing down.  As shown in the accompanying graphic (click to see a full size version) published by Netmanias, KT declared its Gigatopia vision in 2014, and has already implemented both fixed and mobile services to achieve that vision.
Korean consumers, as shown in the second graphic, are adopting the newer, faster services at a rapid rate.  Speed matters, and this is something well understood in Korea by policymakers, corporate leaders and consumers.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Regulations limit smart health care in Korea

As reported today in The Korea Joongang Daily, regulations continue to hamper the development of smart health care, despite this nation's world-leading broadband networks. The article cited SK Telecom's exhibit at the 2012 Yeosu Exhibition and quoted a manager at SK Telecom who requested anonymity as saying that “Zero progress has been made on the smart health platform since we showcased it at the Yeosu Expo.There is nothing we, as an IT company, can do about it because the law prohibiting remote diagnosis and treatment of patients remains unchanged. What’s 100 percent certain, though, is that the health care field is a land of infinite opportunity for the IT industry.” The article also noted that "Under Article 34 of the Medical Act, doctors, dentists and Oriental medicine doctors are allowed to discuss with their patients and share treatment options with other doctors via phone or video, but they must diagnose and treat patients in person."
The article went on to observe that "The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s attempts to revise legislation to allow smart health care began in 2002, when the medical industry first saw the revolutionary - and lucrative - possibilities in applying information and communications technology to everything from treatment and prescriptions to surgery and aftercare. (click on the graphic below for a full size version)

But the efforts were immediately protested by the Korean Medical Association, an interest group representing doctors nationwide. Medical practitioners in Korea are notoriously protective of their turf and have worked to prevent non-doctors from gaining the ability to make even the simplest medical diagnoses. Every time the Health Ministry proposed revisions to the Medical Act over the last 14 years, doctors nationwide have gone on strike or threatened to do so, which has killed the efforts.
Within the association, different doctors cite different reasons for their opposition to smart health care depending on their own practice. The most frequently cited reason, though, is that senior citizens are at risk of mishandling medical equipment, which could lead to potentially severe accidents.
Some also point to privacy concerns raised by sharing medical information remotely.
“Health care via smartphones and connected devices wreaks havoc on the security of patients’ personal information - an extremely sensitive matter among Koreans,” the association said in a statement."

Thursday, January 28, 2016

E-commerce and "borderless buying" globally and in Korea

A new report by Nielsen highlights the fact that connected commerce is creating buyers without borders. The findings are based on an online study in 24 countries, including South Korea. The report notes that connected shoppers area also smart shoppers as measured by the number who looked up product information, checked and compared prices, searched for deals and promotions and so forth.  It also documents how online purchasing rates vary greatly around the world.  What may be surprising to some is that only 50 percent of online shoppers in Korea said they have purchased from an overseas retailer in the past six months, compared with much higher percentages in India, Australia, Thailand, the Phillippines, and China.   Only Japan, at 32 percent, showed a lower rate of overseas purchases than Korea, among the Asian countries surveyed.
However, as clearly shown in the accompanying graphic (click for a full-size version) Korea's domestic online commerce leads the world in terms of online purchasing rates across a variety of product categories, notably including all of the consumable categories in this study.