As the author Howard Rheingold described in his book Smart Mobs, cell phones "change the way people shop, how they gather information on products they want to buy and where they decide to make that purchase," majority populations of Korean are taking full advantage of Smart Card nowadays. Korea widely uses it on public transportation, online shopping, and banking. Smart Cards embedded in cell phones in Korea have not stopped to meet people's higher demands and expectations either. Now the smart card system will be put in the gas stations in Korea and even reach Dubai.
SK Energy is opening Digital Gas Station with Smart Card payment system network throughout the country. With SK Energy's Smart Card Payment system, customers who stop by any of 4000 SK Gas Stations within the country will be able to pay for the gas in the driver's seat by simply putting the Smart Card onto a touchpad device. Thousands of information will be put in a chip of Smart Card to provide various membership convergence service and electronic signature service. Not only the customers would have to put up with hassle of piling up receipt papers, but digital gas station could also prevent any possible crimes regarding to embezzlement of credit cards.
SK Smart Card has the feature of credit cards, but also has discount privilege in SK gas stations, 5% of OK Cash back point building services in places like E-Mart, SKT membership service, discount on SK telecom phone bills, and Transportation card. SK Energy's further vision is to develop the stations to Ubiquitous gas stations by building digital hubs with local networks each gas station has. The current development of SK Energy's solution that uses Bluetooth technology to communicate with a customer's navigation proves that SK is already on a roll of ubiquitous. In a very near future, customers who visit SK gas stations will be able to download electric coupons, travel information, local restaurants and grocery shop information, and car maintenance information.
Financial Supervisory Service is planning to convert every credit card into smart cards by the year 2008. 44% of the credit cards have been converted already. The infrastructure, however, is only 2%. Therefore, the opening of Smart Card Gas Stations has significant meaning and is expected to increase the infrastructure. SK Spokesman said, "Smart Card system all state establishment is the first step to provide ubiquitous service to our customers." Smart cards are exporting overseas as well. 1000 of High Concept Smart Cards were supplied per US$175 each. GK Power, a smart card developing company, has accomplished to develop High Concept card after two years of research and development. High Concept card is the next generation card that is evolved from general plastic cards with new materials and technology. GK Power signed a contract with Dubai Firstbank on September 2 to supply Royal Legend series High Concept Card for the bank's Very Very Important Person (VVIP) who are mostly the top wealthy men of Dubai.
The first VVIP Smart Card, Royal Legend series, to be sent to Dubai Firstband is designed to have a stainless coated elegant character on the top left part of the plastic card. And all the letters and elaborations on the card are coated with nickel, while the genuine diamond is embedded in the center of the card. Thousand cards will be supplied to Dubai in October and each card costs US$175, 300 times more than general plastic cards. GK Power's successful technology to embed diamond into the card is have won a patent after two years of dedication on researching and development. Further exports of Smart Cards are expected.