SEOUL, KOREA — “Arming Korean software with global competitiveness requires endeavors to elevate agility by applying the OODA loop (The recurring cycle of observe-orient-decide-act) to software development processes.”
emphasized Dr. Sang-eun Lee (President of the Software Engineering Center of National IT Industry Promotion Agency (NIPA)) during his presentation on “Three principles in Equipping Korean-made Software with Global Competence” at the KJIT (Korea-Japan IT Association) meeting, held in July, 2012. According to President Lee, the key to upgrading Korea’s software is to fully embrace the OODA loop, a concept originally applied to the combat operations process, often at the strategic level in military operations.
President Lee likened the current status of the Korean software industry to the high-speed dogfights between Soviet MiG-15 and the North American F-86 Sabre, during the Korean War. He explained, “Back then, the F-86 was undisputedly outperformed by Soviet MiG-15 in ceiling, acceleration, rate of climb and zoom. Yet, more MiG-15s than F-86s were shot down in air combat because the F-86 based on the OODA loop was packed with functions such as automatic handling that guaranteed nimbler responses.”
President Lee mentioned that the smartphone battle between Samsung and Apple was taking on a similar look. Samsung Electronics, which accounted for a paltry 3.2% in the global smartphone market, overtook iPhone-wielding Apple’s global market share of 24.1% in just two years. Besides, influential consumer watchdog Consumer Reports picked Samsung Galaxy S III as the best choice.
He continued, “While Apple made two major releases and two minor releases in the past two years, Samsung Electronics notched up over five major releases. Maintaining constant vigilance over marketable functions and product quality, Samsung Electronics has strived to make swift responses to market demands in order to leapfrog its formidable rivals. The OODA loop was also put into use in the global success of Samsung Electronics’ smartphones.” “Once a system that expedites software development and offers efficient support is established, Korean-made software can survive cutthroat global competition,” underlined President Lee.
WBS Project Buttresses Korean Software Competence
The Korean government has unveiled “Strategy to Become a Software Powerhouse” to make Korean-made software more competitive. One of the Strategy’s follow-up measures, the World Best Software (WBS), is a strategic, three-year project in which companies from each sector join forces to develop world-class, commercial software from 2010 to 2013. A total of KRW 200 billion has been ploughed into the WBS carrying out each WBS sub-project in the form of a consortium.
The WBS has been initiated by a selected group of small and medium-sized software developers targeting large companies as the primary market with the goal of commercializing the software developed under the WBS and replacing foreign-made ones. The WBS lends support for “Software Commercialization and R&D” to 27 items by linking SME software to demanders (large companies) in a bid to replace imported software through a series of stages and exporting Korean-made software in the long run. Projects for the WBS’s first batch comprising of seven items (drones and automobiles) and its second batch of five items (set-top boxes and simultaneous interpreters) have entered their second year; projects for the WBS’s third batch of 15 items (plants and image synthesis) have kicked in.
The Software Engineering Center under NIPA has been working as a taskforce dedicated to software quality control; forming such a taskforce is unprecedented in the Korean software R&D sector. From the onset of the development stage, the Center was tasked to secure world-class functions and performance and the ease of software maintenance. It constantly inspects the whole process of software development to nip any influx of software flaws in the bud. In addition, varied technological support and education in the software engineering field and mentoring services are available to improve Korean software developers’ skill for quality improvement and ensure the successful commercialization of the R&D results.
President Lee stressed, “The ability to grasp and control the progress of software development and skillfulness to maintain cost-effectiveness are a must in obtaining global competence. To get the hang of the steep software development progress, processes can be visualized and made as basis for real-time monitoring of each process.”
WBS Aiming at Niche Markets
Up until now, only a few Korean-made software products have made a successful debut in the global market. On the domestic front, global software makers take up a whopping 80% of the Korean software market. The WBS is keen on developing differentiated software based on pioneering, promising technologies so as to take on the software market, especially niches in the global market. To advance into a global software powerhouse, Korea first has to strengthen the fundamentals of the Korean software industry and make its software competitive enough to be pitted against market dominants. Ultimately, the goal is to source revenue from software maintenance services after successfully supplying Korean-made software to the global market.
President Lee said, “Global software titan, Oracle rakes in about 44% of its total sales from software maintenance contracts earning up to 92%. Creating a sustainable sales structure by setting maintenance costs in a cost-effective manner is a deciding factor in boosting global competence.”
Infinitt Consortium and AhnLab Consortium
Over the past three years, the WBS has made achievements that proved the growth potential of Korean-made software. The Infinitt Consortium, selected as WBS’s first partner in October of 2010, consists of Infinitt Healthcare, Clinical Imaging Solution, MIware, KT, Seoul National University Hospital and Yonsei University Health System (YUHS). The Infinitt Consortium develops Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) such as intelligent imaging diagnosis and treatment support systems. PACS (a medical imaging technology which offers economical storage and convenient access to images from multiple modalities (source machine types)) enables the digital transmission of electronic images and reports eliminating the need to manually file, retrieve and transport film jackets.
The Infinitt Consortium has grafted 3D technology onto its PACS solutions as part of its differentiation strategy to distance its PACS from existing PACS developed by heavyweights like GE and AGFA. Having factored in major trends in the medical IT market, the Infinitt Consortium developed GX, an advanced, intelligent solution for imaging diagnosis and treatment support. This impressive solution even received orders from foreign institutions like Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospital (NUTH) even before it was completed. For three consecutive years, the Infinitt PACS earned the highest ranking in the Top 20 Best in KLAS Awards report for the Community Hospital PACS Market.
The AhnLab Consortium, comprised of AhnLab, Infraware Technology, Galim Information Technology, Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) and Korea Internet Security Agency (KISA), has developed online security patches such as AhnLab Mobile Smart Defense (AMSD), AhnLab V3 Mobile Enterprise and AhnLab Mobile Center (AMC).
AMSD, a cloud-based application analysis platform that verifies the security of Android apps, is available on Samsung Apps (an application store for Samsung mobile and TV users). It was designed to scan apps through five different types of permissions: personal information access, service information access, location information access, service charging and device information access. In this analysis, the degree of risk is marked on a scale of 1 to 100 by each type of permission, and apps recorded 60 and above are labeled as malicious.
AhnLab V3 Mobile Enterprise is an integrated mobile device security program for businesses. With reinforced vaccines for latest mobile gadgets like smartphones, V3 Mobile Enterprise boasts a slew of multi-faceted features like file encoding, controls over access to wireless internet, spam blocking, data back-up and Anti-Theft, a program which furnishes physical protection. More importantly, it works in sync with companies’ mobile device management (MDM) solutions, thereby enabling central security management.
AMC, an integrated mobile device management solution for businesses that inter-operates with V3 Mobile Enterprise and other mobile security programs, guarantees a high level of security by exploiting AhnLab’s capability to analyze the Android platform, detect malicious apps and rapidly respond to security emergencies through the AhnLab mobile emergency response center.
Security programs developed by AhnLab Consortium have been sold on Japan’s Android Market and Google Play. Things are looking up as numerous Japanese institutions including JESSEC, an online security consortium under the Japanese government, have opted for this software.