The Korea IT Times had a special interview with Kim Shin-Bae, chairman of RFID/USN Korea Association. He is CEO of SK Telecom. -ED
1. What characterizes and makes this year's RFID/USN KOREA 2008 different from the previous ones.
The RFID/USN Korea 2008 is aimed at promoting harmony of the so-called B2C, which refers to a combination of experts-centered B2B and individual consumers. Marking its fourth anniversary this year, this event sets the stage for the world's largest and best international exhibition, inviting about 30,000 visitors from around 30 countries. A major global conference will also be held, attracting some 1,000 participants from about 20 countries across the world. The exhibition will comprise of a total of 360 booths setup for some 180 businesses and organizations, where visitors can experience ITindustry converged RFID/USN-based application services across a variety of areas such as distribution, logistics, manufacturing, construction, transportation, food and defense. This year's conference invites some 70 experts from Korea and other countries including the United States, China and Japan. Under a single theme, both adopters and suppliers will share their views through presentations of best practice cases and discussions.
2. RFID/USN Association's key project and expected outcomes in context of the government's
RFID/USN new growth engine policy Traditional industries such as automobiles and construction serve as major pillars of a country's economy. Yet, their contributions to added values have declined facing fierce competition and a weak economy across the globe. To address this challenge, the government has set its policy direction towards reinforcing competitiveness and creating more added value by converging these industries and information technology, or IT. In this context, the RFID/USN association will also propose a variety of policies and mobilize resources in the private sector so that the public sector led by the government can develop large national projects involving RFID/USN and thereby, promote investments and the wide adoption of the technology.
Private-sector organizations will also lead efforts to promote wide adoption of RFID/USN, which they believe will help businesses increase productivity and reinforce competitiveness. They also plan to invest in training of skilled workforce by introducing an RFID/USN expert course and a certificate program. Through cooperation between the government and the private sector, adoption of RFID/USN will pick up steam in both the public and private sector, leading to expansion of the market and helping the RFID/USN industry advance to a higher level of competitiveness and an established position in the global market
3. Current situation and challenges facing Korean businesses' expansion into overseas markets
Local RFID/USN businesses are seeking to expand into overseas markets such as Japan, China, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. While the level of their RFID/USN technology offers great potential of almost unlimited applications, the adoption of the technology has been slow across the world, with tangible outcomes yet to be produced. Both advanced and developing countries, however, realize the potential of RFID/USN technology as a major future growth engine for their economies. In line with this realization, the size of the market has been increasing. The association has proposed joint pilot projects between Korean and Chinese or Japanese businesses in an effort to provide support for local businesses' expansion into overseas markets. A joint project between Korea and China is already underway. The association also provides sup port for local firms wishing to participate in overseas industry shows held in the United States, Japan and China, as well as offer other support programs such as local marketing and tours to businesses using RFID/USN technology. In addition, it also plans to dispatch a team of market experts to explore new sales channels in overseas markets such as Southeast Asia and the Middle East. It is crucial to sharpen competitive edge by developing technologies and differentiated service models and increase marketing capabilities, combined with strong government support policies, when it comes to ensuring successful overseas expansion of the local RFID/USN industry
4. What are the most pressing issues in realizing wide adoption of RFID/USN
The RFID/USN technology began to draw attention in 2003, and has been growing steadily since then. Backed by government-led pilot projects and R&D initiatives, we have seen significant achievements in technology development. Yet, the adoption pace has been slow, and the exponential growth of the market is not seen in near future. To address this problem, multifaceted efforts should be made to boost demand in the private sector, and the government-led efforts to generate demand will also serve as catalyst for wide adoption of the technology. In other words, we believe that the most pressing task is that the government and the private sector make concerted efforts to explore demand and expand the size of the market.