Korea Communications Agency
M2M APPS: How do you see the current Korean M2M market?
JANG WON GYU: M2M is one of the hottest issues in the IT industry. As various devices around us, including personal devices and publicly installed devices, evolve into smart devices, the utilization of M2M becomes limitless. In particular, the development of telecommunication technology expands the scope of M2M. Local governments and government organizations, which aim to create ‘Smart City’, are working on various projects, and such government policies (along with the demand of IT industry searching for new market opportunities) are contributing to the growing M2M market.
M2M APPS: Could you explain the technology using segments? As a government officer, you have a unique perspective.
JANG WON GYU: As M2M can be converged with wide variety of industries, such as mobile office, home auto service, healthcare, smart shipping, electronic payment and security, the ripple effect it brings to the industry is huge. Therefore, creation of new M2M services and the growth of the related industry are the main objectives of the business unit. Recent cases, such as street lamps automatically lighting themselves as darkness falls, green houses automatically controlling temperature and humidity according to the type of the crop, and real-time monitoring systems for subways, show how M2M may be applied to everyday life. Areas where M2M market is being created quickest are in automotive and metering. The telematics system, which includes navigation, automatic collection of toll fees, supply of information and entertainment, and automatic sensoring and responding to emergency cases inside the car, has been improving every day. Globally, more than 77 million automobiles are being produced every year. Considering the fact that more than 18 million automobiles are used in Korea annually, it is easy to see how fast M2M is being diffused in the market, and its potential for future growth. M2M smart metering, which gathers information on the usage of electricity, gas and water on its own, is being used more widely for convenience. And it may save energy; the system can be designed to shut off automatically if energy usage exceeds a certain level, and it may also find energy leakage by monitoring home appliances. The healthcare industry is also getting spotlighted. Remote treatment services, which allows patients to have health check-up and treatment without having to visit the hospital, is expected to have increasing demands in this aging society.
M2M APPS: How would you forecast the local Korean market?
JANG WON GYU: It is expected to be huge in a few years. In fact, new business items related to the service are being actively discussed. According to Gartner, the number of M2M devices was only about 36 million in 1960 and 6 billion in 2000. However, the number is expected to increase to 100 billion by 2020, and to 1 trillion by 2040. In 1960, there was only one M2M device per 100 people, and 1 M2M device per person in 2000. The research expects that by 2040, there will be 100 M2M devices per person. On the other hand, IDATE, another market research firm, forecasted that M2M market globally will be about KRW 45 trillion in size by 2014.
M2M APPS: What efforts is the government making to vitalize the market?
JANG WON GYU: The Korea Communications Commission-built system can monitor water quality and Chuncheon monitors atmospheric conditions and weather. The National Weather Service also enhanced its weather information gathering system. Last May, under the leadership of the Korea Communications Commission, KCA established M2M Support Center (MSC) in Gasan-dong, Geumchun-Gu, Seoul, which carries M2M devices, software, various sensors to test application services, server, network and monitoring devices. Those individuals and SMBs with ideas related to M2M may use the center to develop and test their ideas, and the center will provide support to successfully commercialize the M2M business ideas. The Korea Communications Commission will enhance MSC by introducing next-generation telecommunication technology and will create a test bed environment for development in 2013, and start trial services in metropolitan areas. It will secure core technology, such as M2M based convergence technology, by 2014, and plans to expand trial service nationwide and secure leadership in the global market in 2015.
M2M APPS: What else is required to grow the market?
JANG WON GYU: Despite the government’s efforts and positive outlook from the market research companies, the M2M market in Korea is still in its infancy. M2M businesses of the 3 major mobile communication providers are still in the beginning stage, and those companies producing related solutions are participating only in the trial businesses led by the government. It will surely take a lot of efforts and time to vitalize B2C M2M market, which applies M2M widely in everyday life. Also, killer apps are critical to vitalize the market. Developing various services that meet various demands of consumers is a key for the growth of M2M market. One of the reasons why M2M industry’s expansion into B2C market has been slow is user’s negative perception about the service. The possibility of M2M technology to disclose personal information such as user location creates a negative perception for users, and hinders expansion into B2C area. For instance, healthcare service or remote healthcare treatment service using M2M device to treat personal health conditions from remote locations, requires confidentiality and reliability of information. Therefore, institutional support by medical law and technology that provides reliable information is required, so that users can provide confidential information without hesitation. For these reasons, M2M has been more common in B2B market, which is less sensitive about institutional regulations and has less resistance. In order to vitalize B2C market, it is important to increase awareness among individual users on the need of M2M technology. Recently, the number of Smartphone users in Korea reached 20 million. If we can develop success cases where M2M technology is applied on Smartphones, it will help to change the negative perception about the technology, and will also help to find more ways to apply M2M. Although currently a separate M2M device is required, if we can find a way to adopt M2M on Smartphones to be used to detect information about an object or to provide information, we can expect to expand more rapidly into B2C market, and at the same time, change the perception about M2M.