Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Big Data: Where Korea Fits in the Global Picture

This post deals with the burgeoning field referred to as "Big Data."  Last October the McKinsey Quarterly published an article entitled "Are you ready for the era of 'big data'?"  It included the accompanying graphic (click to see a full size version) and noted that the amount of data collected, integrated and analyzed by organizations and businesses has exploded.  It noted that "In 15 of the US economy’s 17 sectors, companies with more than 1,000 employees store, on average, over 235 terabytes of data—more data than is contained in the US Library of Congress. Reams of data still flow from financial transactions and customer interactions but also cascade in at unparalleled rates from new devices and multiple points along the value chain."  The graphic charts the ease of capturing data against its potential value for a large number of industries, represented by the different sized circles.
The McKinsey article made me wonder where South Korea fits within the broader global trends toward "big data."   The McKinsey report presumably refers primarily to data stored or interpreted in the English language and we might assume that language is a major factor in "big data."
My question about Korea led me, more or less directly, to the web site of the Oxford Internet Institute and its interesting section on "visualizing data."  After all, one of the difficulties with massive amounts of data is the challenge of how to present and interpret them for analysis, using text or pictures.  The graphic below shows where Korea fits in the global picture as measured by "journals published" and their "average impact factor."  Again, as with the McKinsey report, it is apparent that the graphic below is based largely, if not entirely, on English language data.   Koreans and those interested in Korea will find some of the other visualizations provided by the Oxford Internet Institute quite interesting.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Apple to introduce iTunes store in Korea?

The Joongang Daily carried an interesting story about the possibility that Apple will bring its market-leading iTunes Store to Korea, making it the second Asian market for the service, following Japan.    As noted in the article, domestic online music stores are concerned about the move.   The accompanying graphic shows which companies currently dominate Korea's market (click on graphic to see a full size version).  The article discusses various pros and cons of local services versus Apple's iTunes, and is worth reading.   I would only add that, in the big picture,  Apple is typical of many large American companies that view the Korean market as a niche and are slow to localize their services in order to compete effectively here.

Korean government reviews Google's new privacy policy

Google's new privacy policy has received a great deal of attention around the world, and Korea is no exception.  Yonhap News and most of the other major media here are reporting that the Korean government will assess Google's policy to see if it complies with local laws.  Although Google controls about 80 percent of the world's search market, it has struggled here in Korea and began to make progress in the local market only after introduction of Apple's iphone in late 2009.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Press reports on internet download speeds

Today's English edition of the Chosun Ilbo online carried a report headlined "Seoul's Seocho Internet Connection Fastest in the World."  The report indicated that the U.S. company pandonetworks had compared connection speeds of countries around the world last year and found that Seocho-dong in Seoul had a download speed of 33.5 mbps.
As readers of this blog will know, I recommend consulting the quarterly reports State of the Internet reports  issued by Akamai.  See my post on the Akamai report for the second quarter of 2011.  The third quarter 2011 Akamai report has now been released and shows that Korea maintains its world number one ranking in download speeds.   Figure 9 of that report shows Taegu as having the fastest download speeds in South Korea at 21.5 mbps, followed by Taejon at 20.1 mbps.

Measuring Global Patterns of Internet Use

The revolution in digital and mobile information that is sweeping around the globe has market research firms racing to measure changing patterns of media use.  One of these firms, globalwebindex, came to my attention in an alert this morning.    They have published some interesting data based on survey research in major markets around the world.  One of their surveys, in June of 2011, produced the accompanying graphic, which plots a measure of engagement with e-commerce (based on whether a respondent purchased a product online in the past month) against a measure of social engagement (an aggregate score of "Manage a social network," "write a blog," "comment in a forum," "upload a video," and "microblog.")
A glance at the nice graphic (click to see a full size version) shows unsurprisingly that Korea is the world leader in e-commerce (note the dark pink circle for South Korea is highest in the chart).   However, South Korea ranks lower than quite a number of countries on the measure of social engagement.  This would seem to be partly an artifact of the measure itself and cultural patterns in Korea.   A closer look at this question would require access to the full data and information on how the measure was operationalized.   However, on the face of it, I'm surprised to see South Korea ranking anywhere but near the top on a measure of social engagement.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Importance of Speed

Reuters carried an interesting report today on Israel's plans for an ultra-fast broadband network.   Not surprisingly, they note that Korea is a world leader in this area.   Readers of  this blog will know that I've been very interested in the arguments for and against building more speed into broadband networks.  See, for example, my post back in 2009 on Korea's plans.
Also, if one needs evidence of the need for very fast broadband networks, read the article in today's Joongang Daily entitled "KT to disable data-gobbling smart-TV functions."