Saturday, October 3, 2015

Korea as an ICT leader: additional evidence

I'm thinking a lot these days about South Korea's current status in the world as a leader in broadband networks and in the ICT sector more generally.  Thus I was pleasantly surprised to read the OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2015, as it provides a great deal of updated and improved empirical data that helps researchers and policymakers to better situation Korea within the global digital network revolution.
The headline and chart that caught my eye had to do with the value added by the ICT sector in South Korea compared with other countries. (click to see a full size version) While the share of ICTs in OECD total value added remained stable at 5.5 percent, in Korea that was a world-leading 10.7 percent, largely because of a strong specialization in computer, electronic and optical products.
There is much much more in the OECD report.  For example, in the twelve-year period between 2001 and 2013 Korea was the only OECD country to increase its share of the world market for ICT goods.  In 2013 it was the fourth largest exporter of ICT goods in the world, following China, the United States and Singapore.  However, the report also documents how Korea ranked 25th in the world as an exporter of ICT services.   To place this in context, one has to consider that, according to most industry estimates, approximately three quarters of the global ICT sector market consists of software and services, while hardware makes up less than one quarter.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Mini-drones at the DMZ, Comparing North and South Korean Technology

A report in The Korea Times announced that indigenous mini-drones would be used to monitor North Korean border units.  It caught my attention mainly because it dramatically illustrates the gap between current military technology in South Korea and that in North Korea. According to the report, "The Ministry of National defense said Wednesday that indigenous mini drones will be deployed with Army and Marine border units to monitor North Korean units. The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) held an event to celebrate initial production of the RemoEye-002Bs in Daejeon the same day. "From this year to 2017, RemoEye-002Bs will be deployed with border infantry units of the 1st and 3rd Army, as well as units of the Marine Corps," the ministry said in a release." To underscore my main point, I encourage you to view the embedded YouTube video about the new South Korean drone technology and then glance at the photograph below (click for a full-size version) of a North Korean drone that was recovered in South Korea last year.  As The Washingon Post put it in describing the photo, "If these unmanned aircraft look rudimentary, it's probably because they are: Not only did they all crash, but with only a poor quality camera that could not take video, and no way to broadcast the images, their use as a spy plane is severely limited."   So, compare the video with this photo and draw your own conclusions.

A note from the Daejon Global Innovation Forum

I'm back in Daejon this week, attending the 2015 Daejon Global Innovation Forum and several related events.  The forum is being held at the Daejeon Convention Center (DCC), located right near the site for the 1993 Daejon Expo, which I visited on two occasions.  The neighborhood is transformed with the addition of gleaming new apartments, shops and the Lotte City Hotel right across the street where I'm staying.
On Tuesday I made a presentation as part of the 2015 UNESCO- World Technopolis Association (WTA) International Training Workshop.  The topic for the session in which I participated was "Network for Active Academia-Industry-Government Collaboration in STP and Technopolis."   Daejon, like Incheon Songdo where I now live and work is part of the nationwide network of technoparks.  The location of these parks is shown on the accompanying map (click for a full-size version). Further details are available at the website of the Korea Technopark Association.  I've been learning a lot about the history and growth of techno-parks in Korea and around the world, and how this movement relates to the more recent emphasis on venture startup campuses and ecosystem.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Smart phones as commodities: more evidence from Korea's market

The Chosun Ilbo carried an interesting short report today entitled "Affordable LUNA smartphone sells out in 10 days." According to the article, "SK Telecom, which exclusively markets the phone, said Sunday the first batch of orders was expected to run out within the next day or two." "That means daily sales averaged 3,000 units, which is more than Samsung's affordable Galaxy A8 unveiled in July. The LUNA has similar features as high-end smartphones but costs only W449,900 (US$1=W1,188). It bears a close resemblance to the iPhone 6 Plus."

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Korea as public safety network leader: reflections on 20th and 21st century media and networks

The day after tomorrow I'll spend the day at the G-Tower here in Songdo, attending and participating in a daylong seminar on "Networks and communication in disasters:  risk reduction as a business opportunity," co-organized by SUNY Korea with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) in Songdo and Korea's SafeNet Forum.  I alluded to this in an earlier post. Partly for that reason, an article in The Korea Times, entitled "Samsung pushes safety system in U.S." caught my attention. (click on the graphic to view a full sized version)   The article quotes an official from Samsung Electronics America as follows. "We know that the Korean government is working with venders to make the PS-LTE system operable by 2017," he said. "In the United States, it will be launched a little bit later and we are actively engaging to take part in the project, too."  Given that, the congressionally mandated organization charged with U.S. efforts to build a nationwide public safety LTE network has already testified before Congress that it hopes to have a network in operation by 2022, I predict that the U.S. network will follow Korea's by five years or more.  Even if this country does not achieve its goal of having a nationwide PS-LTE network in operation by 2017, it seems likely to do so before the U.S., or for that matter the UK, Canada or other countries in the race.
Finally, I should briefly mention another reason why participation in this week's seminar and membership in SafeNet Forum is such a privilege and important responsibility.  Many years ago, as a young Ph.D. just out of Stanford's communication program, I served as a consultant to the Committee on Disasters and the Mass Media at the National Academy of Sciences (click on the accompanying graphic to see a full size version) which was chaired by my dissertation supervisor, Professor Everett M. Rogers. Little did I realize, at the time, that I would have the opportunity later in life to revisit this important topic, albeit in the hyperconnected, digital network era!