What do UMC, USN, LBS, RFID, and IVS all have in common They are all new acronyms brought in to plague us by the new technology or Radio Frequency IDentification technology (RFID). At the RFID/USN 2007 Conference and Exhibition which started on October 31 of this year, these acronyms and more were explained.
For instance, UMC stands for U-City Management Center, while USN stands for Ubiquitous Sensor Network. LBS is a Location-based Service, and IVS stands for Intelligent Video Surveillance. These are all new ideas of the Ubiquitous prefixed technology that is being pushed so hard by the Korean government and technology industry.
There are some good and aspects to this new technology. In the SK Telecom booth, for instance, the company showed off its many various new applications for the strange and new RFID and USN technologies.
One good application was an RFID movie advertisement rack, which had been successfully used at the Busan International Film Festival in early October. Users had to simply pass an RFID reader-equipped phone over the RFID chip dedicated to the movie they were interested in, and their phones would immediately download reviews, show times, and ticket purchasing information. A second application of the RFID technology was an RFID-equipped McDonald's. Customers at the new McDonald's, which is open now in Shinchon, can sit down at a table and order from the table. They can pay using their cell phones, and the order is automatically put into processing.
Customers only have to approach the counter when they are ready to pick up their food. SK Telecom also had an application of USN on exhibit, showing that precise road conditions along highways can be measured in real-time with the right ubiquitous sensor network deployed alongside it. They showed a bridge being monitored for stress, temperature, and traffic load, and indicated that the entire project would be inexpensive.
Another big exhibitor at the event was Asiana Airlines. They have been pioneers in using RFID technology for baggage tracking, and have gone above and beyond simply using existing technologies. Their R&D division has been working closely with other companies such as Alien in order to develop new and cheaper versions of RFID tags and readers. Jong Hyuk Baek, deputy general manager for Asiana IDT, said that the company has succeeded in getting RFID tags down to approximately 100 to 150 won, or 10 to 15 US cents.
Korea's Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) had a very impressive booth at the event, showcasing products from a large number of small and medium businesses, research groups, and individual inventors. There were half a dozen different types of passive and semi-passive RFID tags, which while boring to talk about, are absolutely essential to the successful propagation of the new technology. In the USN area, there were showcased different types of sensors that could both sustain themselves without maintenance for long periods of time and set up ad-hoc networks between themselves on the fly. In comparison to last year, the entire conference was much more coherent and professional. Last year, RFID was such a new technology that companies and organizations seemed to struggle to find relevant applications for the technologies. This year, however, a number of new smaller developers have set up operations and the industry is fleshing itself out and finding profitable directions. All in all, it looks like an avalanche of new acronyms is going to fall upon the heads of consumers, as they will soon be presented with a host of new applications of this tag-and-bag technology.