Wednesday, December 21, 2011

South-Korea to be vanguard of innovation

Think tank says novel software and material technologies will lead industry

Developing and advancing software and material technologies will lead the industry for the next few years and Korea along with China will be the vanguard of this innovation, according to Samsung Economic Research Institute.

The think tank chose top 10 promising technologies based on ingenuity and market potential, and noted that the software and material technologies are currently more relevant while technologies related to the manufacturing process were of the past.

“Software and material technologies are progressing prominently. As technologies such as cloud computing, Web standards, big data analysis saw rapid advancement, research and development on software is very actively being conducted, with 44 percent of the venture capital investment in the United States targeting the sector,” Lee Sung-ho, a research fellow at the institute, said in the report.

In software and services, he chose Web-based applications, analysis of big data and voice recognition as key technologies. “Applications based on HTML5 can be used in diverse devices such as desktops, TVs and smartphones. They work on anything as long as there is a Web browser, regardless of the operating system.” Hence, HTML5, the new global Web standard, will correct the inefficiencies of having to develop applications for competing operating systems.

Technologies analyzing big data are also promising, with the market expected to grow by an annual 10 percent in the next few years. “These technologies will strengthen corporate competitiveness as they enhance efficiency in management by enabling scientific decision making.” Lee explained that by providing exact and abundant information on the past and present conditions of consumers, firms will be able to make objective decisions in marketing and business instead of relying on intuition. Firms can target consumers with an optimized product and deals, in real time, by analyzing their shopping history, social networking service messages or current location. Consumer responses can be evaluated using these marketing activities, in real time, to make the next move.

Improved voice recognition accuracy

Voice recognition technology has improved remarkably to mark over 90 percent from 20 percent in correctness, subsequently gaining ground as the core of user interface. Google, for instance, has 230 billion English words spoken by either gender, a broad age group and multiple dialects stored as voice data in its cloud server. The market is expected to grow by an annual 22 percent to mark $5.4 billion by 2013 as the technology is adopted in non-IT sectors such as automobiles and medical services. “Voice is a familiar way of conveying information for humans, and they can control various devices easily without having to study or being trained,” the report notes.

Among electronics and communications technologies, those related with flexible display and large active matrix organic light emitting diode (AMOLED) TVs are promising.

“The flexible display technology based on AMOLED will shut out the competition simply focusing on the size of the screen. It spawns a new market of electronic paper media and digital show windows, permitting a differentiated competitive edge.” Lee added that AMOLED TV will rise as the mainstream of the TV market thanks to the natural tone and slim and light design.

In healthcare, stem cell medicine, intelligent medical imaging diagnosis and painless injection patches are worth watching. The technologies offering high definition, 3D images will enable doctors to catch small lesions, and applicable software will lessen the possibility of misreading the images. It said that efforts are increasing to improve user convenience or create new uses, while technologies were usually focused on suppliers in the past. “User-friendly IT devices and medical technologies focusing on patients, such as painless injections, are receiving attention.”

A patch that has a tiny needle will eliminate pain following a conventional injection. “These injections are patient-friendly, as well as contributing to the prevention and quick treatment of the illness.”

The think tank also chose large quantity lithium rechargeable batteries and small nuclear reactors, which are relatively safe, as promising technologies.

Another observable trend is the rise of Korea and China, according to the report. “While the United States, European countries and Japan were responsible for the innovations of the past, Korea and China are joining the leading innovation group,” Lee said. While the United States strengthened leadership in technology thanks to its competitive edge in software, Japan, which had led manufacturing technologies, is having less influence in the industry as Korea quickly catches up. “Korea is rising as the powerhouse in display and stem cell technologies, and China is gaining power in small nuclear reactors and biotechnologies,” he added.

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