See the Unseen
See the Unseen
  • Kim Hyoung Joong Professor at Korea University (kh
  • 승인 2011.07.04 09:27
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Kim Hyoung-joong, professor at Korea University, is currently a core partner of the 3DLife (EU FP7 project), and Head of the Sma

Now, even domain names and phone numbers are considered to be important intangible resources. The prevalence of cybersquatting, for instance, proves the value of domain names. The same can be said about typosquatting, which targets people making mistakes when typing a website address. Also, there are cases when people get phone numbers that are either easy to remember or similar in pronunciation to certain words: 1004, for example, reads the same as angel in Korean.  Also similar are 8282 for quickly, 4989 for buy and sell, and 2424 for move.

Order can also turn into profit. Google was among the first search engines to realize the importance of the order of search results. They created a system called sponsored search auction which is based on Overture.  It allocates the search orders according to the amount of advertisement fees paid. When an internet user types 'flower shop' or 'restaurant,' it is obviously easy to click the links on top of the first page.

Facebook, on the other hand, relies on relationships among people, which makes it possible for social networking to flourish as it has. 'Like' reflects our desire for attention and approval. People want to know what others are thinking as well as to implicitly show off their life to people they know.

People's competitive natures are used in games. The top score is always displayed on menu interfaces for games. This number gets players to spend hours trying to get their glorious name or score on the page. As a few movements of fingers are apparently all it takes, many online game users feel as if it is only a matter of time until they break the record.

Korea used to worship hardware with almost religious fervor. During the 1970s, managers rarely objected to purchasing hardware that was big and weighty. It was often very difficult, however, to convince them of the necessity for ordering an OS or database separately. Even though hardware without software is nothing, not many people recognized the value of software because they could not see or touch it. That is why software was sold coupled with hardware. Construction plans easily get approval from the Korean government while labor and operating expenses rarely pass. The hardware-oriented mentality like this has prevented people from paying attention to the importance of software despite many expert arguments. It was only after Apple released the iPhone and opened the app store that they started noticing its power. Now that Nokia is struggling and even Samsung is under threat, the gravity of the issue is greater than ever.

A few years ago, a Korean telecom company came up with the slogan See the Unseen on their TV commercial. Korea has recognized the value of the invisible as the country has designated Important Intangible Cultural Properties since 1962. Although their strong attention to the visible left the invisible relatively unnoticed, now Korea is also prepared to unleash powerful competitiveness for the latter as well.

This assumption is based on a few achievements Korea has made recently: Korean TV shows have become popular in many countries around the world. Shin Kyungsook's novel 'Please Look After Mom' was successfully launched in the global market. The singer 'Rain' was included in the TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people list. And K-pop has made many fans all over the world. Koreans are now proud that their software is becoming more competitive in the international scene. These achievements have reassured them of the country's potential.

Adding to such confidence, Korea's characteristic tendency to set out and quicken things without much delay is also rapidly shifting the focus from hardware to software. The competitiveness of Samsung's Galaxy against the iPhone abroad, along with KaKaoTalk, a mobile messenger application developed in Korea, is encouraging as well. Unlike Cyworld, which failed miserably after entering the overseas market rather recklessly, KakaoTalk could expand its territory via foreign expatriates in Korea, hoping to become the next Facebook or Twitter.

Korea is well aware that the current social paradigm is changing from hardware to software. Not surprisingly, the passion to make even the unseen the best is growing in Koreans' hearts.


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