On October 27th, “Bixby Home Platform,” which was made to strengthen the connection between SmartThings and Bixby, was unveiled.
/Photography by Yoo Joon-sang
On October 25th, there was a disruption in the Korea Telecom (KT) communication network around 11 A.M. Due to this communication disruption, there was nationwide interruption to all Internet and some wired/wireless phone services of KT users for about an hour. Shortly after the incident, KT said this communication disruption was a network failure caused by a large-scale DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. However, it turned out to be a man-made disaster caused by omitting one command in the process of replacing a piece of equipment. This was not the first communication disruption on the KT network. On November 24th of 2018, a fire broke out at the basement of the KT Ahyeon branch building located in Seodaemun-gu, causing communication failures in the northern areas of Seoul and parts of the northwest areas of Gyeonggi-do Province.
Information and communication technologies are deeply ingrained into our daily lives
Since the communication disruption occurred around lunchtime, small business owners were severely affected. At restaurants and cafes, as the COVID-19 electronic access listing system did not work due to the network failure, every customer had to handwrite their names on the visitor lists themselves. Also, card readers and unmanned kiosks did not work, making it hard to take orders and make payments. Food delivery applications such as Yogiyo and Coupang Eats were also unusable as they rely on KT network servers. According to analysis of the card usage data by congressman Kim Hoi-jae of the Democratic Party, credit card usage from 11 A.M. to 1 P.M. on November 25th for accommodation and restaurant businesses was 2.91 billion won. This was 25.9% (1.02 billion won) decrease from the average card usage at the same time for three days before and after the incident (from 22nd to 24th and from 25th to 27th). Stock trading and cryptocurrency transactions, which are based on the Internet network, were also paralyzed and it is estimated that trading of about 960 billion won failed. In addition, office workers working from home and students taking non-face-to-face classes were affected. Kim, a sophomore of Dongguk University, said, “I was very confused when the non-face-to-face class unexpectedly stopped. I had to go to a nearby cafe to get the Internet connection and continue listening to the class. I was also worried whether I would be able take a non-face-to-face mid-term exam scheduled that day if the Internet connection did not get fixed until the exam.”
It is no exaggeration to say that everything is possible with a smartphone these days. Most of our daily lives have become possible at home by using smartphone applications. It is not easy to find people using cash these days as purchasing has become possible through various payment services on smartphones. Even some ID cards can be issued on smartphones so that some people are not even carrying their wallets. As of June 2021, the national smartphone penetration rate of people aged over 18 has reached 94.7%. Due to the influence and spread of smartphones, the lifestyle of the elderly has also changed. According to the 2020 Internet usage survey conducted by the Ministry of Science and ICT, the utilization rate of Internet banking reached 76.5%, which was an 11.6%p increase from the previous year, and the utilization rate of Internet shopping also increased 5.8%p from the previous year to 69.9%. What stands out is the utilization rate of Internet banking (50.5%, an increase of 23.6%p compared to the previous year) and the utilization rate of Internet shopping (60.2%, increased by 16.1%p compared to the previous year) of people in their sixties. It was found that the increase in the sixties age group has quite exceeded the average increase, indicating that the elderly are also participating in economic activities through the Internet.
Everyday life is changing day by day
By checking out the increase in demand for smartphone applications, it is possible to look at how daily life is changing. According to the ranking of increase in Monthly Active Users (MAU) of smartphone applications from July to September, surveyed by big data analysis solution Mobileindex, “COOV” ranked first place. COOV is the world’s first blockchain-based COVID-19 vaccination certification system. It is the easiest indicator for us to notice that we are living in the COVID-19 era. The user growth topped the ranking for three consecutive months of July, August, and September.
The financial application “Toss” took second place. Handling banking tasks online, such as transferring money online, was quite complicated in the past. Also, public certificates and security cards were necessary so that people chose to visit the bank themselves and spend much time dealing with banking. However, Toss made it easier by simplifying complicated processes using biometrics such as fingerprints authentication. In addition, Toss expanded its business area to payment services or stock trading services. As a result, the biggest advantage for users is that various services can be used on one application. Toss became the first bank application to surpass 10 million MAU, as its MAU rose to 11.02 million as of September, from 8.35million in April. Besides Toss, the MAU of other bank and credit card companies also increased significantly. This indicates that many people are purchasing goods and handling simple banking tasks using smartphones, without visiting banks in person.
On October 28th, the Financial Services Commission announced that it would create institutional conditions for Digital Universal Banks, which can provide various financial services such as banking and insurance through one platform. Existing banks that have pursued a multi-app strategy, which requires each application to be installed for each service, are now showing movements to integrate and reorganize various financial services into one application. For example, KB Kookmin Bank introduced the KB Star Banking application that allows key services of affiliates of KB Financial Group including cards, securities, and insurance to be integrated and used on one application. NH Nonghyup Bank is also planning to integrate the existing seven applications into three by 2024. As a result, the convenience of users will increase significantly.
The application that stands out in the increase of MAU is “SmartThings,” Samsung Electronics’ IoT (Internet of Things) platform. IoT refers to the Internet composed of objects, which means the technology that connects objects based on the Internet and makes it possible to communicate information with each other. By connecting a smartphone and smart home appliances through SmartThings, it is possible to control various home appliances with smartphone. As more time has been spent at home due to COVID-19, the demand for smart home appliances increased and it is shown in the increase of SmartThings’ MAU.
In line with the growing demand for smart home appliances and the advent of the smart home era, Samsung Electronics unveiled new technologies. At the Samsung Developer Conference held on October 27th, “Bixby Home Platform,” which was made to strengthen the connection between SmartThings and Bixby, an AI service that can recognize voice commands, was unveiled. Bixby Home Platform allows voice commands to be carried out considering the conditions of smart home appliances connected to SmartThings. For example, when the user asks to play a movie, devices such as TV, sound bar, and lighting connected to SmartThings operate to suitable conditions for movie screening. LG Electronics is also introducing a variety of smart home appliances. Their representative product is the smart refrigerator. A smart refrigerator can recognize foods stored in it with internal cameras and show the list of the foods stored on the display attached in front of it. The list can also be checked on smartphone by linking it with an application. A smart refrigerator can also recommend recipes that can be cooked with the ingredients it is storing or notify users of expired foods.
A new market is appearing with the development of technology
As mentioned above, our daily life has been changing according to advances in technology. One of the most remarkable changes is where and how people are purchasing goods. It can be seen through statistics that consumers’ purchasing patterns have changed from offline to online. According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy, the proportion of sales in online and offline retailers has changed from 23.8% of offline supermarkets, 22.9% of department stores and 32.4% of online markets in 2016 to 17.9%, 15.2%, and 46.5% each in 2020. Also, the online market is being preferred and continues to grow as the visitation rate to offline stores decreases due to strengthening in COVID-19 quarantine measures. In order to satisfy the changing preferences of consumers, new services have been emerging.
Market Kurly’s morning delivery service, which started the early morning delivery era of Korea, is a service that allows customers to receive what they purchased before 7 A.M. if the purchase was made before 11 P.M. Fresh foods such as vegetables and fruits can be received quickly maintaining freshness through the full cold chain system that can maintain certain temperature during the entire retailing process. With the advent of Market Kurly, various retailers rushed to provide early morning delivery services. As a result, consumers can now easily purchase daily necessities at home without visiting offline markets.
Subscription services provide a regular service and products to consumers paying a subscription charge. There have been some subscription services such as milk and newspaper delivery every morning in the past. As the preference for online shopping increased in line with the non-face-to-face era caused by COVID-19 and the advance of technology made it possible to deliver goods in a short period, subscription services that allow users to receive various services without going out have become a trend in the market industry. There are various subscription services for busy modern people such as non-face-to-face regular laundry subscription services. Just by simply putting laundry in front of the door, clean washed laundry is delivered back during the nighttime. It is a revolutionary service for office workers, who are tired of work, to reduce house chores. In addition, the nutritional supplements regular subscription service is also gaining huge popularity. It recommends customized nutritional supplements for each person and delivers them regularly to the people having difficulty taking necessary nutrients on time.
As such, the development of science technology has had a significant influence on various industrial fields, making our daily lives convenient. Many things that were not thought to be possible in the past are becoming a reality nowadays. Seeing how our daily life will change in the future with the advent of new technologies is also an exciting topic of interest.
Yoo Joon-sang email@example.com
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