South Korea launches first Internet of Things network
The network would allow smart devices to talk to each other via the network.
Phone carrier SK Telecom is behind the initiative, which uses technology that will allow it to reach 99% of the country’s population.
Aside from South Korea, the Netherlands also has a nationwide IoT network.
There will be charges involved as users will have to subscribe to monthly price plans that range from 350 Korean won ($0.30, £0.20) to 2,000 won.
SK Telecom is investing up to 100 billion won by the end of next year to further develop the infrastructure, which it hopes will be a new source of revenue.
The race to roll out a nationwide network for Internet of Things (IoT) devices may have come to a photo finish. When Dutch telecommunications company KPL announced last week that the Netherlands was the first country to switch on a nationwide IoT network, it seemed to beat South Korea to the punch. But SK Telecom reported on Monday that it has also completed its own network across South Korea, announcing prices for its IoT services and its future plans for the network.
SK Telecom completed construction of the nationwide LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) servicing 99 percent of South Korea by the end of June, which puts the rollout six months ahead of schedule. It joins the existing LTE-M infrastructure that was completed in March. Together, the two technologies form the IoT network, which will allow public, private and commercial smart devices to capture and process data for various purposes.
Over the next few months, the company plans to focus on several applications for the service, including Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), a two-way communication system between a utility company and smart meters in customers’ homes that means usage data can be gathered remotely, and services switched on or off without sending staff to the premises.
The service can host devices that track the location of people, vehicles, objects and assets, as needed. For instance, SK is working with local governments on Safe Watch, a smartwatch for children and the elderly that lets parents or carers keep track of the wearer, which launches later this month.
Monitoring is also a key focus, which will allow manufacturing and commercial facilities to manage the safety and efficiency of their equipment and environment. Temperature, humidity, CO2 concentration and hazardous materials in the soil and air can all be monitored to maintain desired levels.