SK Telecom (SKT)
M2M APPS: How is SK Telecom developing M2M businesses?
KIM WOO-YOUNG: Currently SKT has largely divided their M2M business development into 3 parts; monitoring, tracking and payment. Environmental monitoring, security, equipment management, metering are considered parts of the monitoring category while tracking involves control of car, property and people locations. Aside from this, a variety of M2M services in the information display field are provided, such as wireless payment, electronic display kiosks and more. As a mobile carrier, SKT currently profits from network traffic in such fields however in the future, there are plans for expanding our business model into various M2M fields.
M2M APPS: What is the direction of such expansion, please explain with examples.
KIM WOO-YOUNG: We are considering a variety of plans such has retailing related terminal equipment, constructing and operating a platform and providing location based service etc. Since enhancing our business model is deeply related with the success of M2M business, multilateral plans are being sought out.
M2M APPS: Then how great of growth potential do you expect M2M to have in the communication industry?
KIM WOO-YOUNG: Judging from line standards, there are about 1.5 million lines in Korea now. As there are a variety of fields that theses lines can be used for, we expect that the number of lines will increase to a level of 25 million. However, this is only a prediction of the new market based on a numerical total. We believe that there are other forms in which this market can develop. Especially with the basis of communication networks, we think that M2M can create greater value through optional services by collecting, processing and reproducing information.
M2M APPS: If there is a specific field that is worth paying attention to, which field is it?
KIM WOO-YOUNG: There a great number of fields that are worth developing however personally I hold interest in environment monitoring. The issue of green IT is ongoing and as was seen with the foot-and-mouth impact in Korea, the demand for safe food will heighten even more in the future. I also expect efforts for ecology protection to evolve greatly.
Although not at an official stage, several related industry professionals are debating different matters for the Ecological Observation Network. As M2M can be seen as core technology to monitoring, it can be used in diverse ways and we believe that it will deliver great value especially in the field of environmental issues.
M2M APPS: It can be said that it is technology useful to mankind. Are there any related businesses that SKT has carried out?
KIM WOO-YOUNG: There is the forest personal location control service that uses CDMA and GPS. In case of a forest fire, the communication network is used to fight the fire most efficiently and allow rescue activities to be carried out safely. In reality, the Korea Forest Service stated that 2010 – the year when this service was first introduced – recorded the lowest damage from forest fires in the past 50 years.
M2M APPS: Besides this, what other M2M projects are under development at SKT?
KIM WOO-YOUNG: The most recent development was a project aimed at enhancing the automatic meteorological observation equipment at the Meteorological Agency. Using wireless technology, a meteorological information collecting system was prepared to collect data from places with no wire connection such as highways, national highways, mountain climbing tracks and etc.
Aside from this, SKT participated in the electronic anklet project executed by the Ministry of Justice, in hopes of controlling sex offenders. A service called the U-Care service - a service that allows the collection of data on seniors that live alone and have difficulty moving, sense household movement and sense fires or gas leaks to fire prevention centers and local welfare facilities – is being executed as well.
M2M APPS: Have there been cases of cooperation with other businesses or organizations to achieve success in such fields?
KIM WOO-YOUNG: It depends on the nature of the individual businesses, but SKT is operating a test center for special purpose terminals in order to construct a smoother communication network. It supports the testing of a number of M2M terminal devices before launching to ensure smooth communication. Some examples of these M2M devices include remote meters, taxi navigation systems, electronic anklets, parcel service PDAs, wireless credit card payment devices and more.
At the center, there are high price equipment such as the ‘Three dimensional OTA (Over The Air) Chamber’ and a work force that gives guidelines on the communication network standards and necessary procedures. Thus many device manufacturing companies are using the center actively.
M2M APPS: What are the difficulties involved with carrying out M2M related business?
KIM WOO-YOUNG: The biggest technological characteristic of M2M service is that it is unmanned and remote. So if there is an error in the data collection process, a critical danger may occur. Especially since there have been M2M businesses introduced focused on public interest – public order and disaster prevention – in Korea recently, if appropriate actions cannot be taken due to service dysfunction, there may be great damages. SKT is in search of diverse plans that will minimize the damage of this critical issue and allow efficient maintenance management.
M2M APPS: The commercialization of LTE is becoming an issue, what do you think will be the impact of this issue on M2M vitalization?
KIM WOO-YOUNG: LTE is a technology appropriate for handling high speed data such as images. The M2M service too has a high speed data handling field such as CCTV and smart electric display boards therefore I think that LTE technology can be used in a variety of methods in Smart-grid application.
M2M APPS: A word on future plans/aspirations and to M2M Apps readers.
KIM WOO-YOUNG: M2M is a technology that provides communication between objects and possesses great growth potential as a technology. As a mobile carrier, our objective is to expand M2M’s base and explore several businesses. There will be a need for cooperation with countries nearby and if the ecosystem for M2M – domestic and foreign sensors, devices, module benders and more – is built, M2M can spread at a faster rate. From such aspects, the appearance of M2M portal sites is a significant step. I expect that various knowledge and data to be shared in the future.