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 FirstNet.gov, 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!

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