By Kim Young Deok and Lee Jihae
Korea ranks second in the world in the average speed of the fifth generation (5G) mobile network.
This is according to Opensignal, a London-based mobile analytics company that released on Oct. 13 a report titled "Benchmarking the global 5G user experience – October update." In a survey of the average 5G speed in 15 leading markets for the mobile standard, Opensignal ranked Korea as the world's second fastest with 336.1 megabits per second (Mbps) after leader Saudi Arabia (377.2 Mbps).
"In all but two countries, our users see average 5G download speeds over 100 Mbps," it said.
Nos. 3-5 were Australia, Taiwan and Spain in that order, as these three all had an average speed in the 200 Mbps range. The U.S. was the lowest ranked among the 15 countries with 52 Mbps.
Korea was also fifth in 5G service availability with 22.2%. Saudi Arabia topped the list again with 37%, followed by Kuwait (27.7%), Thailand (24.9%) and Hong Kong (22.9%). The bottom three countries were the U.K. (4.4%), Spain (4.0%) and Italy (3.1%).
Korea was the world's first to launch commercial 5G service when it did so in April last year. Part of the core infrastructure of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, 5G is 20 times faster than 4G, can be connected to 10 times more devices and has a tenth of the lag time.
The technology is considered the driving force behind innovative changes in overall society, and thus major countries are engaged in fierce competition to gain dominance in the 5G ecosystem.
By Min Yea-Ji and Lee Jihae
Photos= Cheong Wa Dae Facebook
President Moon Jae-in on Oct. 28 emphasized his administration's resolve to make the country go beyond its status as an information and communications technology (ICT) powerhouse and make Korea a global power in artificial intelligence (AI), pledging "national-level support" for AI.
He was speaking at the AI conference De View (short for "Developer's View") 2019 in Seoul. Attended by entrepreneurs, AI developers and students, the event is a major stage for domestic tech startups and related exchanges that attracts about 1,200 AI virtuoso.
The president cited the example of a senior citizen who collapsed in May at midnight due to high blood pressure. He survived by seeking help through a government-provided AI speaker, which was part of social services for elderly who live alone.
President Moon said the world is now living in the AI era, adding, "AI transcends scientific and technological advances. It's a new civilization that is approaching us."
"Korea led the internet revolution when it went through the financial crisis of 1997. It now boasts the world's top-tier manufacturing competitiveness and No. 1 ICT infrastructure and an abundance of electronic government data."
"If we combine AI with our competitive fields, we can create the smartest and human-like AI," he added.
"The Fourth Industrial Revolution is an era in which imagination will determine the world."
President Moon pledged government support for AI developers so that "they can unfold and fulfill their limitless imagination," adding, "To aid developers, we will switch to comprehensive negative regulations and break down the barriers for each sector."
The government has earmarked KRW 1.7 trillion for next year's budget for data, network and AI, up 50% from this year's amount, he said.
"We will lay out a national AI strategy based on a completely new basic plan (for AI) by the end of this year," he added.
"We will provide educational opportunities so that anyone who wants to learn about AI can do so."
He also said the government will be based on AI and digitization and provide the people with high-quality services in fields interlinked with daily life such as the environment, disaster management, and national security and defense.
By Yoon Sojung
Photo = Kim Sunjoo
Seoul | March 22, 2019
The world’s first ambassador of technology, Casper Klynge of Denmark, on March 22 emphasized bilateral cooperation between Korea and his country in sectors related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
"Korea is second to none in the internet of things (IoT) and 5G. Both Korea and Denmark can benefit from tech diplomacy," he said at Seoul Square in the capital’s Jung-gu District.
In 2016, Denmark became the first country to create the post of tech ambassador and also coined the term "techplomacy." This was to stress the significance of setting new global standards for technological development by companies and governments and setting ethical standards in technology.
In the discussion "Can Techplomacy Work for Korea in the 4th Industrial Revolution," Klynge said, “Today, technology is the power that controls not only an individual’s life but also policies of government."
"Various issues rooted from technology development have far wider effects that a government cannot handle alone, and that is why techplomacy is needed."
The diplomat said he is optimistic about the cooperation potential of techplomacy between Seoul and Copenhagen thanks to their close relationship. This was his second visit to Seoul, following his first after his appointment as tech ambassador in 2017.
Calling cybersecurity and smart city development as promising sectors in techplomacy, Klynge said, "Korea and Denmark will have negotiations in cooperation of the cybersecurity sector within the next two weeks, and a very constructive outcome can be made."
"Part of techplomacy includes sharing ethical and social responsibility of technology among governments and companies," he added, mentioning issues in technological development such as data protection and cybersecurity.
"Techplomacy will bring benefits to Korea and Denmark and many other countries especially in boosting human rights, gender equality, IoT and the smart city sector."
By Jung Joo-ri and Yoon Sojung
Drone Show Korea 2019 opened at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center (BEXCO) on Jan. 24, with the annual event displaying the past, present and future of the drone industry.
Under the theme "Connected by Drone," this year's exhibition is the fourth of its kind and runs from Jan. 24-26. It features approximately 300 drones and related parts and materials produced by a combined 110 companies from Korea and overseas.
A drone powered by a hydrogen fuel cell grabbed visitor attention at the opening ceremony. Developed and produced by Doosan Mobility Innovation, the drone can fly up to two hours, far longer than the 20- to 30-minute limit of other drones using lithium batteries.
Another popular event was a demonstration of long-distance video transmission using 5G, namely SK Telecom of Korea’s "T live caster" service. When a user from the 5G control tower at BEXCO gave a signal to a drone placed at Haeundae Beach, the service enabled the user to shoot and watch a video from a long distance.
A combined 410 booths offer a variety of drones with cutting-edge technologies.
One drone that stood out was Shift Red, developed by This is Engineering and a hit at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this month. The light drone allows users easy remote control simply by putting one's thumb in the small ring.
Another popular drone was the Dronebot by the Republic of Korea Army. This device is capable of reconnaissance and surveillance functions and can even remove explosives as part of the military's drive to set up a dronebot structure.
Replicas of drones usable in natural disasters or for public safety purposes developed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) were also on display.
Visitors can also learn more about the latest drone technologies as an international conference, presentations of new products and technology, and drone events will be held on the sidelines.
For more information on the event, please click the event’s English-language homepage.
By Jung Joo-ri and Yoon Sojung
The government on Jan. 17 announced an ambitious plan to foster the hydrogen economy, a crucial sector in the administration's drive to secure future growth engines, by supporting related industries such as hydrogen-powered cars and fuel cells.
The announcement came at the building of Ulsan Metropolitan Government under the title "Roadmap to Vitalize the Hydrogen Economy and Future Energy Strategies in Ulsan."
The roadmap is composed of three parts: expanding the output of hydrogen-powered cars and fuel cells and establishing a system for hydrogen production and distribution.
The goal is to churn out 6.2 million hydrogen-powered vehicles -- 3.3 million for export and 2.9 million for the domestic market – as well as build 1,200 hydrogen-charging stations across the country. In public transportation, an estimated 80,000 taxis, 40,000 buses and 30,000 trucks all powered by hydrogen will be supplied by 2040.
Another core industry the government is promoting is hydrogen fuel cells, which require no large-scale power facilities and produce no carbon.
To this end, the government plans to boost power generation through fuel cells to 15 gigawatts and 2.1 gigawatts for 940,000 households and companies by 2040. New power rates for fuel cells will be set within the first half of this year.
Work is also being done to form a system to ensure a more economic and stable hydrogen supply and production. Methods to store hydrogen will be diversified in the forms of high-pressed gas, liquid or solid status. To meet growing demand over the long term, construction is planned of a pipeline that can connect the entire country. The government will also help keep the price of hydrogen under KRW 3,000 per kilogram.
Attending the event in Ulsan, President Moon Jae-in said, "The hydrogen economy will bring revolutionary change to the country’s industrial structure and transform the sources of the country's energy from coal and oil to hydrogen."
"This can be a now-or-never chance to secure a new growth engine and fundamentally change the national energy system."
LG Electronics invested in USD 3 million into the U.S.-based robotics firm BossaNova Robotics on June 22.
The photo shows a BossaNova Robotics service robot managing the shelves at a retail store. (LG Electronics)
By Jung Joo-ri and Yoon Sojung
Korean companies are concentrating on high-tech information and communications technology (ICT), hoping that this will give them an edge as the fourth industrial revolution unrolls across the global economy. The key technologies mainly include robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Large Korean conglomerates are working hard to be at a point where the development of ICT can become a new engine for economic growth in and of itself, by connecting technologies with innovation within those fields.
Korea’s leading telecommunications firm, KT, unveiled on June 22 "AIR i," an electric bicycle equipped with IoT, in collaboration with Reacon Hi-Tech, a smart mobility-specialized firm.
Riders can check the bike's location in real-time thanks to an inner module that works on KT’s LTE-M phone networks. When the bicycle is lost or stolen, the owner can still control its power, backed by KT’s smart mobility platform.
LG Electronics announced on June 22 that it invested USD 3 million into the U.S. firm BossaNova Robotics, which develops service robots for retail stores. This is the first time for LG Electronics to make such an investment in an overseas robotics company, the firm said.
LG Electronics has also been focusing on AI research, along with robotics. The firm launched a research body in Silicon Valley in January this year, and has been preparing the establishment of an AI lab in Toronto, Canada.
Samsung Electronics launched a “Q Fund” to invest in AI-related start-ups on June 14. The conglomerate said that the fund is designed to invest in start-ups that can develop new AI technologies. The firm also opened AI centers in the U.K., Russia, Canada and France in order to support research into AI technology and to recruit talented workers.