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Korea’s Efforts to Stay on Top
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Korea’s Efforts to Stay on Top
  • By matthew
  • August 2, 2010, 16:37
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Information is key to success, and therefore fast information brings success before anyone else. In any sport, it is essential for a player not to lose sight of the ball because someone will take it away if they do. Similarly, Korea has not taken its eyes from the ball yet. Amidst fierce competition with IT-powerful nations such as India and new emerging player China, Korea is still maintaining its place at the top. The Korean government and private businesses have confirmed their commitment towards technology not only through consistent investment in research and development, but through cooperating with other nations to exchange skills and knowledge. Actively engaging in activities to discover and learn more about IT leads to innovative ideas which then lead to improved efficiency and practicality.

Information Technology is no longer just a term used in reference to computer science but is a term that describes any technology that helps to produce, manipulate, store, communicate, and disseminate information.

Business Korea has arranged a special report to show just how Korea is keeping up with its fame as an IT-powerful nation as well as actively engaging in new businesses as a leader of the IT world. Each section contains numerous news reports related to an individual category. Not only do the reports serve as records of actual occurrences, but they also serve as a review of Korea’s current IT trends. Such trends include the Korean government’s dedication to green growth, the fast growing electric car industry, and the ferocious battle being conducted in the smart phone sector.

These reports were gathered in partnership with Electronic Times.

e-Government

Korea to Carry Out the United Nation’s Electronic Government Project

The Republic of Korea and the United Nations will jointly establish the UN Public Administration Knowledge System which will play a role as a hub for the global electronic government.

Representing 192 UN member countries by carrying out this project, Korea’s electronic government is likely to become the world’s best brand. Korea, the major subject of support from the UN over the Korean War, is now returning to the UN with the country’s knowhow in electronic government in six decades.

The Ministry of Public Administration and Security released on June 24 that the Minister Maeng Hyung-kyu, and Under- Secretary-General of the United Nations Sha Zukang agreed to jointly carry out the UN public administration service knowledge system at the ceremony for the UN Public Service Day held in Barcelona, Spain.

The UN public administration service knowledge system is a global electronic governmental portal where 192 UN member states will collect, analyze, and provide e-government policies, infrastructure, and evaluation. Once the system is facilitated, it is likely to develop into a hub platform through which e-governments of member states are connected.

The UN plans to invest 8 billion won by 2012and establish the system. Korea will supervise and carry out the overall project from consultancy to establishment based on its experiences and technologies in e-government.

An official from the Ministry said, “The UN set up the development of the global e-government system as an important agenda and arranged an award in this area for the first time. Korea is likely to lead the establishment of the UN global e-government network starting from this system.”

Korea was the best winner for the UN e-government global award on the UN Public Service Day. The USA and Canada ranked 2nd and 3rd.

Minister Maeng who received the award representing Korea said, “The award winning this time is the result of our nation’s interest, the government’s policies, and our IT companies’ technological support. This will lead to an improved national brand, and the demand for Korea’s e-government will be increased while positively affecting the products and service export of non-IT companies.”

The Ministry forecast that the annual goal to reach US$ 100 million export of e-government should be achieved as the export of e-government at the first half of the year reached US$ 72.96 million exceeding US$ 66.7 million, the total performance in 2009.

World’s Experts Spoke of e-Gov 3.0

Shift from technology to human and from fragmented information to knowledge network

Sponsored by the Electronic Times, the Korea Forum on Electronic Government (KFeG) holds an international conference under the theme of “e-Government 3.0: A New Paradigm toward Visible u-Driven Revolutions and Opportunities” in Seoul from June 25 to 26to set a new vision for the nation’s digital government project. The name, e-Government 3.0 reflects the will to further enhance e-Government 2.0 which is currently going through public opening and sharing.

During the conference, examples of e-Government from Western and Asian countries will be presented and future directions for development will be identified. A number of e-Government 3.0 solutions will be also introduced from the perspective of government and business which will be followed by intensive discussions.

As one of the two keynote speakers, Seok Ho-ik, Vice Chairman of Korea Telecom (KT) will deliver his speech titled “Where will be the Limit to the Revolutionary Changes in Government Service by Smart Phone Technologies?”

“The advent of smart phone is pushing the mobile market boundaries by leaps and bounds. The government will provide more convenient day-to-day services such as public transport information through mobile network and such mobile service will cover various areas such as recruitment, ageing population and security,” said Seok.

Another keynote speaker, Gloria Parker, CEO of Parker Consulting Group and former CTO of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team will give her speech on Global Impact of e-Government.

“In the future, e-Inclusion will become a more important concept than e-Government. So we need to find a way how to ensure that people are engaged in information society with equal opportunities,” said Parker.

Aside from this, Lee, Hee-Sung, President of Intel Korea will tell the latest trends of Internet and mobile technologies under the theme of ICT for e-Government. Ko Yun-seok, Senior Researcher for National Information Society Agency will give a presentation on e-Government in Korea and plans for further development of the Government for Citizen (G4C) project.

Lee Bae-yong, Senior Co-representative of KFeG and President of Ewha Womans University said, “This conference will serve as an opportunity for insightful scholars and leaders from all around the world to gather together and share their experience and wisdom to form a common ground of understanding.”

Infusion of Fund into

Brain Research

The Korean government has decided to put 63.5 billion won for R&D, infrastructure and human resource development in the area of brain research to bring the nation’ rank to the 7th by 2017, which is a 13.5% increase from last year’s 56.0 billion won.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) finalized an action plan on brain research promotion incorporating various investment plans of three government agencies and five government-funded research institutes according to the second Basic Plan on Brain Research Promotion which is effective from 2008 to 2017.

The MEST plans to increase inter-disciplinary research this year to generate creative ideas and nurture talented people by expanding its support to the field. This move is aimed at the prevention and treatment of neurological disorders and scientific identification of the causes as well.

In addition, for a systematic and comprehensive brain research, MEST will expedite its efforts to establish the National Brain Research Institute in which it will invest 41.3 billion won (65%) and the Ministry of Health and Welfare 12.7 billion won (20%).

“As of 2008, about two billion or 31% of the global population was living with neurological disorders creating a 130 billion dollar market. We need to have a competitive brain research infrastructure early on,” Park Hang-sik, Director General for Basic Research of MEST said.

Meanwhile, according to the government, it invested total 105 billion won in research into neuroscience which led to 984 SCI-level articles. And 170 people got their doctoral degrees and 762 people Master’s degrees in the field with the government support over the last two years.

Local Governments Sighing at No Longer Financial Support for u-Cities

In relation with the support for management costs of the unified information centers of the u-Cities, local governments have been in conflict with the Korea Land & Housing Corporation (LH). The reason is that, although LH had provided support for the management costs to the Dongtan u-City program of Hwaseong city, which was commercialized for the first time, now its policy is not to provide the same support for management costs to other local self-governing bodies. Local governments have been opposing the policy, saying that if the support for the management costs stops, they can’t afford the excessive management costs, and consequently a proper service is impossible.

According to industry sources on June 24, the completion of the u-City projects, which begun during the period of 2008 to 2009, will go into earnest in September this year first with the Heungdeok area in Yongin. However, with LH having changed its policy not to provide support to local governments, there is a great concern that the management will be poor after construction of the u-City.

It is known that LH had provided support for the management costs of over 5 billion won for 3 years to the Dongtan u-City before Korea Land Corporation and Korea National Housing Corporation were integrated into LH last year. LH decided however not to provide any support for managing local governments’ unified information centers.

The reason why LH has changed its guideline is that the National Board of Audit and Inspection pointed out that LH had provided support for the Hwaseong Dongtan u-City without any clear legal grounds. The urgent problem of having to reduce the astronomical debt of 109 trillion won was also reflected here.

The other local governments, which had already begun their u-City projects, raised the issue of fairness, saying that they started their u-City projects in spite of their predicting the projects would be in the red, because they took into account the support case for Dongtan u-City.

Heungdeok area in Yongin city is now examining a reduction of the u-City size planned at the beginning of the project in January 2008 because it is worried about the excessive management costs after LH changed the policy.

LG NCIS Won Bidding for Project to Replace Obsolete Administrative Info. System

LG NCIS won the bidding for 35 billion won worth of project to replace obsolete administrative information systems in public sector. The project will be carried out to replace outmoded administrative information systems introduced in the early 2000 with the latest version of HW and SW for local government and thereby to organize improved network among 255 counties and cities across the nation.

The project bidding was carried out in four HW projects worth 35 billion won and three SW projects worth 10 billion won. LG NCIS succeeded in winning the largest HW project, leaving behind SK C&C. In addition, it won the bid for a SW project worth 3 billion won.

When it comes to servers to be replaced, IBM Korea and HP obtained the right to distribute their servers. IBM Korea plans to provide 172 large-sized UNIX servers, while HP Korea provides 272 medium-sized UNIX servers.

As for storage, EMC Korea and IBM Korea won the right to provide 67 large-sized storage systems, while Hyosung Information Systems and EMC Korea are expected to supply medium-sized storage systems.

The remaining SW projects were taken by Samsung SDS (DBMS) and GT Plus. LG NCIS, which is orchestrating the whole project, is expected to implement the project from next month.

Korean Government Spends 20 Billion Won into

m-Government Project

The Korean government has decided to inject 20 billion won into the implementation of the mobile government project next year. The mobile government project, also referred to as m-Government, consists of two main tasks: implementation of public services through mobile devices and development of a government-wide common platform.

The Ministry of Public Administration and Security plans to convert the current online public services such as G4C (government for citizens) and G4B (government for business) and government administration systems such as Onnara into mobile versions. The Ministry also plans to offer innovative public services including tax and calendar through smart phones. Regarding the infrastructure, the Ministry will build a mobile service center so that various government agencies use a common communications server which will be linked to the existing online e-government system. Also, it will set forth open API development guidelines to enhance the efficiency of development of the m-Government services. “We will pursue a mobile government project as a new informatization paradigm with the intention to take the No. 1 position awarded in the United Nations e-Government survey,” Deputy Minister for Informatization Strategy Kang Joong-hyup said.

Government to Plan Large-Scale Smart Office Project for Sejong City

Ministry of Public Administration and Security (MOPAS) announced on July 1, “Nine ministries and most public organizations will be moving into Sejong city as originally planned. In order to manage the circumstance wisely, we will develop plans to install smart offices that include video-conferencing capability into each of governmental buildings.” An en-mass migration of 140 government employees is expected to take place.

MOPAS will turn to smart office solution companies for their expert input and utilize internal resources such as their Informatization Strategy Office and Government Building Management System. Last year, only 2.4% of total public office working hours were spent using video-conferencing technologies but the ministry predicts the number to increase significantly with their new smart offices.

MOPAS Reconsiders Electronic Resident Registration

Korean government once planned to introduce electronic resident registration covering 47 types of personal information in electronic chips in 2006, which was given up due to warnings against information leakage.

However, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security (MOPAS) announced on July 8 to revise the Resident Registration Act, which will introduce the electronic registration from 2011.

According to the revision, the registration number, address, and fingerprints will be hidden in an electronic chip while the name, date of birth and gender will be exposed in the registration.

Lessened Budget for e-Government Next Year

According to government sources, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security tentatively cut the e-Government budget for next year to127.5 billion won, a 32.5 billion won decrease from this year’s. This is lowest ever over the past five years.

“The overall budget of the Ministry for next year fell by almost 10% due to belt-tightening measures,” a source from the Ministry said as a reason for the cut, citing some e-government projects finished this year as well.

But most say that the e-Government project has been taken less seriously compared to other tasks since the inauguration of the current minister Maeng Hyung-kyu in last May. They believe that the Minister emphasizes disaster safety and job creation more than the digital government project.

“It is a prerequisite to invest in the infrastructure in order to be ahead of others in terms of the next-generation projects such as the mobile government initiative although it does not guarantee the success of the project,” an informatization expert said.

“We were ranked No 1 in the United States e-Government survey this year thanks to the efforts and investment made by the previous administration,” he added.

KFTC to Establish Emergency Center against DDoS Attacks

In order to effectively respond to large-scale distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, the Korea Financial Telecommunications & Clearings Institute (KFTC), together with financial institutions, will finalize the plan to establish an emergency center for responding to the DDoS attack within next month. It will start the construction with the goal of finishing the construction by the end of this year. The investment amount will be around 4 billion won.

Through this, KFTC plans to proactively respond to large-scale DDoS attacks that surpass the current network capacity to handle DDoS attacks of each financial institution, thereby creating a stable electronic financial services environment.

Very recently, Kim Jong-chang, the Governor of the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) inspected the current status about introduction of the equipment for responding to DDoS attacks, preparation of a countermeasure manual, exercise training, and so on, which had been pursued according to the “Comprehensive Measures for Responding to DDoS Attacks in the Finance Sector,” which was announced by the FSS in September last year.

Governor Kim said, “The ability to respond to cyber terrorism is the key element for the continued growth of the finance industry. The FSS will strengthen the inspections of financial companies’ ability to respond to cyber terrorism and then reflect the results in the evaluation of the actual state of the management of each financial company.”

CEOs Fall in Love with Twitter

CEOs are in love with twitter. They are beyond peeping around; they are completely absorbed in twitter. Shinsegae CEO Chung Yong-jin and Doosan CEO Park Yong-man at home as well as SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son in overseas are known to represent twitter users, who are only the tip of an iceberg of known twitter users. At last month’s “2010 International Strategic Communication Seminar” hosted by KPRA (Korea PR Association) the professor of George Mason University Carl Botan said, “If there should be only one person allowed to use twitter in the company, it is the CEO.” He also said, “Since the CEOs have sufficient information regarding the company, they can provide the most quick and accurate information directly to the pubic by twitter. The CEO of DreamWiz Lee Chan-jin recently lost his i-Phone in overseas and tweeted to the president of KT personal customer division Pyo Hyun-myung that it is hard to get the compensation with the cell phone insurance. Pyo replied within only 30 minutes tweeting, “We deeply apologize to you and compensate you for the phone. We will improve the service towards the customer.” KT chairman Lee Suk-chae is a twitter user who has 30,000 followers. Being the pioneer to introduce i-Phones, Lee is communicating with the young Apple lovers using twitter. KT is pushing ahead for internal twitter marketing with the news of Lee’s love of twitter.

Chairman of SK Group Chey Tae-won will also join using twitter by the end of this month if early. Choi will start using twitter as the company’s communication window, meeting the upcoming month’s mobile office operation in the company’s major affiliates. Around 600 executives including SK major affiliate CEOs will become Choi’s followers of twittering. The use by the decision makers in the third largest business group directly shows the power of Twitter. Direct communication is the reason for twitter’s popularity among CEO, which differs from the other SNS (Social Network Service) such as blogs and mini homepages. These SNS users have to wait for other users to read their contents while twitter offers real time information spreading fast as the speed of a nuclear fission. According to the recent report of “The Expansion on Social Media and Company’s New Strategic Communication” released by SERI (Samsung Economic Research Institute), 65% of the top international 100 companies are using twitter as the marketing means. The domestic is in the stage of introducing. According to a research conducted in May by KCCI (Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry) targeting 403 growing companies, only 16.1% are using social media.