Monday, November 28, 2016

World's highest density of industrial robots

As shown in the graphic to the left (click for a full size version) South Korea as of 2014 had the highest density of industrial robots in the world, and by quite a margin over second place Japan.  Other data from the IFR World Robotics surveys makes it clear that, on a global basis, the automotive and electronics industries drive most of the use of industrial robots.  I expect that more recent data will show Korea continuing in the lead.  What is even more interesting to me, for the subject of a later post, is where Korea stands in world rankings on the density of service robots.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

ITU Telecom World 2016

If you happen to be a regular or semi-regular reader of this blog, you're probably wondering where I've been over the past weeks.  Although there is neither time nor space to go into all the details, most recently I flew to Bangkok to attend the first several days of the ITU Telecom World 2016 conference.
To be more specific, I attended the conference for two main reasons.  One was to attend the ITU Secretary General's Academia Consultation meeting last Sunday, prior to the opening of ITU Telecom World 2016 on Monday.  The second was to meet with colleagues in an expert group who are writing a book focused on the impact that information and communications technologies might have on achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
The ITU has a long history, being founded in Paris in 1865 as the International Telegraph Union. In 1947, the year I was born, it became a specialized agency of the United Nations.   The digital network revolution that occurred in ensuing decades had profound implications for the future of the ITU.   Until recent years it dealt primarily with UN member states and telecommunications corporations.  The current effort to network with educational and academic organizations is a natural response to the global impact of digital telecommunications technologies.  I'll have more to say on this topic in future posts.  What I can tell you now is that the ITU is on the right track in reaching out to engage and network with the world of academia and education.

Friday, October 14, 2016

ICT hardware exports: the ups and downs

Observers of Korea's ICT-driven economy have long noted a fundamental problem:  the nation's over reliance on the manufacture and export of hardware, rather than software and services.   For a year now, growth in Korea's ICT exports has been falling, and as reported today by The Korea Joongang Daily, the problems with Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 phone have only exacerbated the problem.  As reported in the article,"Exports of information and communications technology (ICT) fell for the 12th consecutive month as cellphones and televisions remained weak in foreign markets. ICT exports declined 8.5 percent year-on-year in September to $14.5 billion, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Thursday. After posting a year-on-year decline of 1.6 percent last October, exports have continued a downward slide. Exports of cellphones fell 33.9 percent year-on-year to $1.87 billion, and those of semiconductor products fell 2.6 percent.
The ministry cited mid-priced smartphones produced by Chinese manufacturers, as well as the failure of the Galaxy Note7, as the biggest factors in the collapse of cellphone exports."

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

More on the Galaxy Note 7 problems

The announcement that Samsung will stop production of the Galaxy Note 7, only a few months after its introduction, has many observers speculating on how this will affect the company's overall reputation and business.   Statista has published two charts that help put the matter in context.   The first (click on the graphic for a full-size version) depicts the size and scope of Samsung Electronics business.
The second chart provides a timeline of how the problem unfolded.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Samsung halts production of Note 7

The New York Times and no doubt most other international media have just reported that Samsung has halted production of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone due to battery-related problems that persist even after the company had recalled and replaced those devices that were prone to smoke or catch fire.  The good news is that Samsung has acted appropriately in response to a consumer-safety issue.  However, there are many more questions raised by this episode in its competition with Apple and Chinese manufacturers of smartphones for leadership and a share of the global market for smart handheld computing devices.  More on this topic in future posts.