Ubiquitous is a Latin word meaning "to exist at any time and place" like water or air. In computing, the word "ubiquitous" indicates an environment in which users have access to networks without any limitation in computer, network and place. The term was first used by Mark Weiser of Xerox in 1988, when referring to "ubiquitous computing."
The advancement of the ubiquitous computing environment will allow users to make the most of information technologies at home, in the car and even on top of a mountain. The number of computer users having access to networks will also rapidly increase to expand the scope and scale of IT industries.
To implement ubiquitous networks, the development of information technologies including the generalization of wideband communication and convergence technologies, and the price reduction of IT equipment, is required. Until last year, the ubiquitous computing was in its infancy due to numerous limitations. From this year, global competition on the development of ubiquitous technologies has become fierce due to its convenience and numerous other benefits provided by the technology.
In this situation, IT businesses in diverse fields such as server and network hardware and application software have begun to make intensive investments to develop new products which satisfy the ubiquitous environment. In particular, consumer electronics and telecommunications firms have developed diverse strategies to implement the ubiquitous computing environment.
All-out Investment in Ubiquitous Technologies by Cable and Wireless Communication Service Providers
Communication service providers are placing more importance and expectations on the ubiquitous computing environment. Governmental strategies of ubiquitous industry are expected to trigger the acceleration of growth in the cable and wireless telecommunication markets, which are evaluated as saturated at present. The kernel of ubiquitous strategies is that both cable and wireless telecommunication services providers integrate terminals and supplementary service with their own networks to maximize the efficiency of added value.
Communication service providers definitely conclude that in the ubiquitous computing environment existing IT services will be transformed into consumer-oriented ones. They explan that the key element in ubiquity is the convenient, confortable delivery of services in a way that reduces costs. They add that, communication service providers have to deliver the best value to consumers by constructing mobile communications infrastructure and by providing diverse devices and content.
KTF established the "Ubiquitous Test Center" at its R&D institute, a first among mobile communication service providers. Recently, KTF designated 10 strategic tasks as new growth engines. Among the 10 tasks, eight are to be developed in relation to ubiquitous strategies. Those eight tasks are: ucommunication, image services, mobile games, high-speed wireless multimedia, broadcasting type multimedia, u-commerce, m-office and u-home networking.
KTF plans to commercialize these ubiquitous services through its R&D Institute and UTC and has targeted more than $2.7 billion of sales revenue in these fields by 2010.
The company is going to add RFID equipment home networks to the nextgeneration Internet address system (IPv6), which is already being operated, to create a linked test environment. KTF plans to focus on securing network and platform integration technologies for organic connections between network layers, and terminal integration for the development of ubiquitous and universal IC card integration.
Recently SK Telecom declared its future management vision as "Ubiquitous & Convergence Company." It is providing enterprise level ubiquitous projects. Under the lead of the Management Strategy Division, the Technology Strategy Division of the company is accelerating R&D to commercialize their technologies. The Solution Business Division and Moneta Business Division are tapping market possibilities in the enterprise market and the combined fields of finance and communication.
KT has strategies to maximize the utilization of nationwide cable networks by concentrating on the basic ubiquitous environment such as the BcN and IPv6. In particular, the company plans to lead the development of key commercial technologies, the reinforcement of network infrastructure and the supply of new services, investing \2.3 trillion to take 25 percent of the of total investment by the private sector.
The Service Development Institute of the company is actively driving the commercialization of new services such as the 2.3 GHz mobile Internet, ultra-wideband (UWB) and telematics. Recently, the company developed mobile Internet-based telematics terminals and applied them in pilot services while testing successful operation of its wireless LAN services, called "NESPOT," on Line 4 of the Seoul subway.
LG Telecom plans to focus on the further reinforcement of existing networks through efficient construction. At present, the company is driving a plan to develop platforms for the construction of broadcasting service infrastructure, integrating mobile communication with the DMB. The company has already constructed a pilot network integrating the cable and wireless services to provide open services. The company is developing networks by stages to provide diverse multimedia services while developing new services through connections to the mobile Internet.
The company is preparing integrated cable and wireless communication serviles, providing a ubiquitous environment to implement "u-commerce" for commercial transactions with mobile handsets and messenger voice phone-to-phone services.
Electronics Industry Establishes Home Networking-based Strategies
The electronics manufacturers also making intensive efforts to provide ubiquitous services. They are are focusing on the home networking business since they manufacture consumer electronics such as digital TVs and refrigerators.
Samsung Electronics completed the field test of a home network of 100 households in 2001 and commercialized the business in 2,500 households in 2002. The company introduced its home network technologies through the operation of standing exhibition halls such as Integer House in Hong Kong (2001-2002) and Telefonica in Spain (2002- 2003). The company is participating in the IDA project in Singapore to provide home network pilot services for 30 households. In the domestic market, the company is driving the home network businesses of 2,300 apartments in Hwaseong and Euijeongbu in Gyeonggi Province and Daejeon Metropolitan City, and 1,000 apartments in Ochang in Chungbuk Province.
Samsung Electronics is expanding its leadership with differentiated marketing strategies including the reinforcement of xperience marketingand the provision of diverse, total solutions. At present, Samsung Electronics is expanding the home network businesses in domestic and global markets. The company has been launching diverse marketing activities for full-scale home network businesses in Asia, Europe and the Americas while participating in international exhibitions and conferences to present its technologies and promote its brand image.