South Korea is already one of the most wired countries on Earth, and the latest effort by Samsung and SK Telecom won't do anything to hurt that fact. The two have paired up to roll out a commercial network dedicated to the Internet of Things (IoT) across the country. The wireless network will serve as infrastructure for various public services and businesses, allowing devices to gather, share and make use of data like weather and traffic conditions.
The Korean city of Daegu will be the first to receive the network with a launch slated for next month, serving as a test bed for national availability which is set to follow by the middle of the year. The Daegu test will focus on setting up the infrastructure for renewable energy, cloud platforms, electric autonomous vehicles and analytics of healthcare and medical service data.
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The project will see street lights fitted with sensors to collect pollution and weather data, enabling them to automatically adjust their brightness and save public energy costs, similar to the system Philips and Vodafone have been trialing. But with the IoT still in its infancy, many potential applications likely haven't even been thought of yet.
The LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) will use the 900MHz frequency band, which is part of the unlicensed, public spectrum known as the Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) band.
To avoid clogging up the band, the IoT network will employ the Listen Before Talk (LBT) function, where devices essentially wait their turn. Additionally, some services with lighter data needs will utilize a separate network, the Internet of Small Things (IoST). This is built on LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) technology and transmits small amounts of data at slower speeds of below 5 Kbps.
"Now is a critical moment for ICT (information and communications technology) companies looking for new future business opportunities such as IoT services," says Youngky Kim, President and Head of Networks Business at Samsung Electronics. "We are very pleased to partner with SK Telecom for its pioneering IoT vision. Samsung will contribute in creating the ecosystem for enabling significant changes driven by new IoT services."