For New Businesses: Korean Mobile Carriers to Promote ‘Open Innovation’ with Tech Startups | BusinessKorea

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South Korean mobile carriers are accelerating open innovation with tech startups for developing their new businesses.
South Korean mobile carriers are accelerating open innovation with tech startups for developing their new businesses.
2 January 2017 - 10:45am
Cho Jin-young

As South Korean mobile carriers are focusing on developing their new businesses, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Thins (IoT), they are accelerating open innovation with tech startups. The move is to prepare for the competition in communication speeds between mobile service providers expanding into information and communications technology (ICT) convergence services in around 2020 when 5G networks are to put into commercial use.

According to industry sources on December 30, SK Telecom will set up the world’s first communication equipment startup incubating center in South Korea early next year. The center will fully support communication equipment startups, which need to develop and test new technologies for three to seven years in order to commercialize them, so that the companies can overcome “Death Valley,” which refers to financial crisis they face at an early stage.

In particular, all eyes are on as it is part of the project of the Telco Infra Project (TIP), a global initiative established by Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg with global leading companies in the IT industry, including SK Telecom, to develop 5G technologies. Accordingly, SK Telecom will serve as a technical mentor to startups in the center, while Facebook will help them to attract investment from leading venture capital firms in Silicon Valley of the U.S.

Moreover, SK Telecom has joined hands with startups in the augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and drone sector in a bid to secure the competitiveness in 5G-based services which will be commercialized in 2020. First of all, the company will jointly create a VR game with Elrois that gives users a virtual feeling of flying an airplane by editing airborne videos and three-dimensional (3D) graphic images. It will also jointly develop customized advertisements and educational contents with Looxid Labs bymeasuring the brain wave and quickly collecting and analyzing sensibility and cognition data of the public through VR devices

KT is speeding up new IoT-based business in coordination with startups that are now being fostered at Gyeonggi Center for Creative Economy & Innovation – S-WINNUS, a leader in logistics tracking control and security services, MetisMake, a developer of advanced drones, OEZ Soft, a face-recognition solution provider, Safeware, an IoT-based airbag safety system maker, and POWERVOICE, a voice-verification solution provider.

Recently, KT jointly released a user authentication service with his voice with POWERVOICE. In short, the company added the voice recognition feature in its existing “KT Authentication” application, which had provided personal authentication services based on a personal identification number (PIN) or fingerprint recognition technology. The core technology developed by KT and POWERVOICE through the partnership is the system that can distinguish the frequency spectrum of users’ voices and their recorded voices.

KT also invested 2 billion won (US$1.66 million) in tech startup CarVi to jointly develop the advanced driver assistance system (ADAS), a key technology of autonomous vehicles.

LG U+ is now focusing on making the equity investment in and cooperating with AI startups at home and abroad in order to strengthen the competence in the AI sector which is emerged as the fierce battlefield among global ICT giants. Previously, the company invested US$2 million (2.3 billion won) in JIBO, a U.S.-based AI robot developer. It is also considering making the equity investment in AI startups at home and overseas.

In addition, LG U+, in cooperation with China’s Huawei, is planning to set up “NB-IOT Open Lab” in the headquarters in Yongsan, Seoul, and distribute 100,000 NB-IoT chipsets and modules free of charge to startups starting from April 2017.

The NB-IOT Open Lab has all equipment so that startups can test their technologies. LG U+ will help startups with from product design to marketing and developer training programs.

An official from LG U+ said, “Products of companies that are recognized as having the technology competence in the open lab will gain a foothold to push into not only the domestic market but also the global market by using Huawei’s global NB-IoT networks.”



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