CES, the world’s largest consumer technology show wrapped up just last week, setting the tone for technology trends that will shape the year of 2018. More than 3,900 companies showcased their newest creations in this year’s event and gave a glimpse of their technical achievements developed thus far. In this year, the presented innovative companies were not just limited to fancy gadgets or the thinnest new devices, more of them were concepts or ideas that could be implemented into various tech systems such as autonomous driving, 5G, and AI.
Advancements in Autonomous Driving
At CES 2018, further advancements were presented in the world of autonomous driving as technology is becoming a larger focus in the automobile industry. Announcements and demos from tech leaders proved that self-driving cars will soon be commercialized. As a leader with the capabilities in network services, SK Telecom showcased its autonomous driving technology with Kia Motors.
Cockpit by SK Telecom & Kia Motors
SK Telecom, with Kia Motors, demonstrated its autonomous driving experience technology using ‘5G cockpit’ which allows visitors to sit in the driver’s seat and experience the autonomous vehicle. This demo received global attention when it showcased 5G communication technology that transmits 360-degree VR images taken in 5G connected car from Seoul to Las Vegas for the first time in the world, allowing people to virtually travel in and around the city on the autonomous car.
The autonomous driving experience was maximized by adopting advanced sound technology such as an independent sound field control system which offers separate sounds by seat positions, and an active alert system which emits warning sounds to pedestrians approaching the road. Visitors at CES 2018 were able to see that 5G technology combined with autonomous driving enables not only faster operation but also opens doors to diverse services within the vehicle.
SK Telecom’s Collaboration with Here
In the meanwhile, at CES 2018, SK Telecom announced a strategic alliance with HERE Technologies, a global leader in mapping and location services, for a broad technology and commercial partnership in the automotive and IoT sectors. By combining the companies’ respective technologies in connectivity, mapping and location data, SK Telecom and HERE plan to develop HD map for highways in Korea from the first half of 2018, taking initiative in bringing innovation onto the road and into the city.
Next-Generation Wireless Technology: 5G
5G was highly anticipated and discussed at CES as a type of technology that unlocks much more advanced technologies and one that could essentially influence the entire tech industry from any standpoint. The age of 5G ensures a reliable network with ideal speed for all networks with a bandwidth large enough to support connected devices. Even tech giants such as Intel, a partner of SK Telecom described 5G as a next data network that will power and connect all wireless devices.
As the only Korean mobile operator to participate in CES 2018, SK Telecom discussed the concept of 5G with other tech leaders. Park Jung-ho, CEO and President of SK Telecom, attended the event and extensively enforced cooperative ties and strategies with global companies who are also working on realizing 5G services such as Samsung, LG, Intel and Qualcomm in order to build a new ICT ecosystem for the arrival of 5G.
SK Telecom, Sinclair Broadcast Group and ONE Media announces an MOU
During the show, SK Telecom announced that it has signed an MoU with Sinclair Broadcast Group, the largest television broadcaster in the U.S and its subsidiary, ONE Media 3.0 at CES 2018 to jointly explore the development of the ATSC 3.0 platform, which was named “Next Generation TV” standard in the U.S. By the first half of this year, the three companies have agreed to build ATSC 3.0 broadcast platform and launch and commercialize NG broadcast service in the U.S.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), Hub of Smart Home
One of the hottest themes at CES that was evident across all exhibitions was artificial intelligence. Regardless of type of technology, it is hard to separate AI from innovations as most tech nowadays are activated by command or have some learning and decision making elements so that people no longer have to tell devices what to do. In addition to the demonstrations, panels were also invited to analyze the impact and future of AI and discuss about the role of robots with artificial intelligence.
While SK Telecom did not showcase any AI technologies at CES, SK Telecom has capabilities that show what artificial intelligence can become when combined with the company’s powerful network services.
In 2016, the company launched the nation’s first AI-powered speaker named NUGU which tells user about the weather, alarm, music, and daily conversation, pioneering the AI market in Korea. The company also widely expanded of its AI business by launching “NUGU mini”, a smaller and portable version of its own smart speaker, and in-car AI-based navigation service named “T map x NUGU” which enables drivers to use their voice to enjoy the existing navigation features as well as other useful features offered by NUGU.
SK Telecom is actively working on expanding NUGU ecosystem through API opening and is continuing to push to integrate NUGU in various sectors such as finance, education and smart home. SK Telecom deployed NUGU speakers in some of apartments where SK Telecom’s Smart Home is built, allowing users to control electronic devices by voice command anywhere in the house. As of January 2017, over 15,000 households are living in SK Telecom Smart Home with NUGU. SK Telecom aims to reach 300,000 households by 2020.