Special Report for the 10th Anniversary of the Korea IT Times : ICT Trends Over the Past Decade and Disruptive Technologies of the Next Decade
Special Report for the 10th Anniversary of the Korea IT Times : ICT Trends Over the Past Decade and Disruptive Technologies of the Next Decade
  • By Kim Yu-na (yuna@koreaittimes.com)
  • 승인 2014.07.22 02:27
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Changes in IT technologies are fearsomely fast. IT products that were widely used a couple of years ago are no longer in use today. IT companies that were expected to flourish forever sometimes go under overnight. The Korea IT Times has kept pace with the times, closely following rapid changes in IT technology over the past decade.

Fast-changing IT Products

2004 : The pinnacle of MP3 players

Da Vinci Surgical robot, one of the most well-known robotic surgical systems, was released in 1999


1-inch HDD =128~256MB

Flash memory MP3 players

1-inch MP3 players equipped with 128~256MB HDDs

2005 : The convergence of TV and PC

Computer giants like Microsoft and Intel set their sights on TV.

Microsoft unveiled the “Windows Media Center Extender” for the TV

Google Glass

“Microsoft will expand its business beyond the personal computer to OSs for home appliances,” said Bill Gates.

HP unveiled the Home Media Hub, a multimedia device based on the open-source Linux operating system.

“The HP Home Media Hub will work as a control center for all the digital home appliances.”

2006 : High-resolution TV

The 2006 FIFA World Cup fever increased demand for large-sized, high-resolution digital TVs. And competition between PDP and LCD TVs also heated up.

Samsung Electronics: the Samsung 102-inch PDP TV and the 82-inch LCD TV

LG Electronics: the LG 102-inch PDP TV and the 71-inch PDP TV

Sony : the Sony 82-inch LCD TV

2007 : The opening of a full HDTV era and the debut of OLED

Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Sony, Sharp, Panasonic, Haier, etc. released varied lineups of full HD LCD TVs.

What is OLED OLEDs (organic light-emitting diode) generate light themselves, so an OLED display works without a backlight.

Sony was the first to unveil 11-inch, 27-inch full HD OLED TVs.

2008: Low power, high efficiency and green IT

Prolonged economic downturns boosted demands for low-power, high-efficiency products.

Launch of low-power, eco-friendly home appliances.

The 2008 Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) Industry Forum was held under the theme “Green Technology.”

2009: The opening of the market for netbooks

Netbooks, lighter and cheaper than laptops, came as a perfect IT product befitting the global economic crisis.

Asus unveiled the “Eee PC T91,” a netbook featuring a rotatable touchscreen.

HP and Asus were the first to launch Android-based netbooks.

2010 : Commercialization of 3D TVs

The mega success of the movie Avatar boosted 3D TV sales.

Samsung Electronics : 3D LED TVs, Samsung Blu Ray Players, home theater systems, 3D glasses, etc.

LG Electronics: 3D TVs in a wide range of sizes (32 inches, 47inches, 60 inches, 72inches, etc.)

Sony : 3D TVs, the Sony PlayStation 3D Display (3D PS)

2011 : The year of the tablet

Eyeing the success of the iPad, major IT companies jumped into the tablet fray.

Electronics giants like Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics rolled out tablets in sizes between 7 and 10 inches..

With smartphone operating systems leveling off, the smartphone industry set about upgrading smarphone hardware.

LG Electronics released the LG Optimus 2X, the first phone with a dual-core processor.

Google and Samsung Electronics jointly developed the Nexus S smartphone running Android 2.3 (Gingerbrea').

2012 : Ultrabooks were in.

The rollout of affordable Android-based tablets rivaling Apple’s iPad.

Ultrabooks are laptops weighing 1.3kg and measuring less than 20mm in thickness.

2013 : The year of the UHD TV and heated fight for the mobile processor market

The era of UHD TVs (Ultra High Definition Television) kicked off.

LG Electronics: 55-inch, 65-inch UHDTVs

Samsung Electronics : 85-inch, 95-inch, 110-inch UHD TVs

Qualcomm, the No.1 in the mobile processor market, unveiled the Snapdragon 800.

Samsung Electronics took the wraps off the world’s first 8-core mobile processor, “the Samsung Exynos 5 Octa.

Disruptive Technologies of the Next Decade


One morning, salary man Kim Jin-yong wakes up with an acute abdominal pain. He rushes to see a doctor. The doctor simply tells Mr. Kim to swallow a smart pill - i.e. a diagnostic bio pill based on Ingestible Capsule Technology (ICT). As soon as the pill gets into his system, his biological information is sent to hospital.

Five minutes later, Mr. Kim is diagnosed with acute appendicitis. Then, his smartphone beeps on a new text message saying, “Your medical examination has been booked. Please come to our hospital right away.” Upon reading the text message, Mr. Kim hops into his self-drive car to go to the hospital. His self-drive car, which makes the most of real-time traffic data feeds, stays clear of traffic jams and any other delays to find the shortest route to the destination. Thus, despite his acute abdominal pain, Mr. Kim can go to the hospital without asking someone for a ride.

Kim arrives at the hospital after only a 10 minute ride. He immediately finds his doctor. American surgeon Albert, wearing smart eyeglasses equipped with a speech-enabled language translation system has no trouble communicating with Mr. Kim. Following the face-to-face medical examination, they are headed to the operating room.

Dr. Albert operates on Mr. Kim with the help of “the 4th generation robotic system,” which serves as a surgical hand promising enhanced dexterity and precision in dissection and suturing. Dr. Albert orchestrates all the surgical procedures while watching 3D images from the outside control seat. The entire surgical procedures are broadcast live to interns and other relevant visitors through the smart goggles Dr. Albert is wearing. The surgery takes only10 minutes.

After the robot-assisted surgery, Mr. Kim is sent to a recovery room and stays the night at the hospital. Generally speaking, an appendectomy requires the patient to be hospitalized for at least three days. Thanks to the newly-developed medical materials used in the closure of the surgical incisions, however, Mr. Kim is good to go after a one night hospital stay.

This story is not an excerpt of some future science fiction that is set in 2040. This is either already happening somewhere in the world or will become a reality within 10 years.

Medical Biotechnology

At the HT (Health Technology) Forum 2012 on Health and Medical Technologies of Today and Future Outlook, the bio diagnostic pill given to Mr. Kim was mentioned as one of the most promising technologies expected to be developed within three years. At the HT Form 2012, smart pills, intelligent diagnostic imaging, patch-like pain-free shots, super flu vaccines, cancer biomarker, etc. were put on the list of new technologies anticipated to be developed within 10 years.

In addition, researches on new medical materials, such as stem cell therapies for incurable diseases, artificial blood vessels, surgical mesh, dental implants, etc., have gone into overdrive. And researches on 3D printing-based synthetic organ transplants are also underway in a sustainable manner. Thus, our society is projected to evolve into a much healthier one over the next decade.

Self-drive Cars

Efforts to develop self-driving cars like Mr. Kim’s autonomous car have been made around the globe. At the CES 2014, BMW demonstrated its self-drive coupes, which skillfully hurtled round a racetrack and controlled a power slide without any driver intervention. Using 360-degree radar, ultrasonic sensors and cameras, the cars sensed and adapted to their surroundings. Furthermore, Ford, Toyota, Porsche, etc. have been continuously putting their unmanned self-driving technologies to the test.

As a matter of fact, automated parking systems (APS), which have already been put to good use in our daily lives, can be viewed as the early version of self-drive systems. For example, Hyundai and Kia Motors have already introduced SPAS (Smart Parking Assist System) to their vehicles. Once the driver pushes the SPAS button at a parking lot, distance-measuring, obstacle-detecting ultrasonic sensors attached to the front bumper and both sides of the car pick out suitable parking spaces and control the wheel to pull into them automatically. What’s more, the Volkswagen Tiguan, a compact SUV, comes with “Park Assist,” which helps with not only parallel parking but also perpendicular parking.

Robot-assisted Surgery

Surgical robots have been widely used in many hospitals in South Korea. One of the most well-known robotic surgical systems is the da Vinci Surgical System, which was released by Intuitive Surgical back in 1999. The da Vinci Surgical System allows surgery to be performed remotely using robotic manipulators like 3D high definition vision cameras and a robotic surgical wrist. As is the case with many standard laparoscopic procedures, a few small incisions are made to insert robotic manipulators during laparoscopic surgery assisted by the da Vinci Surgical System. Armed with three-dimensional high-definition images (which can be magnified up to 15-fold) and patented EndoWrist® Instruments allowing for enhanced dexterity, precision and control, The da Vinci Surgical System has continued to produce improved clinical outcomes (e.g. small incisions for less scarring; shortened hospital stay; and fast recovery and return to normal activities), thereby proving how effective surgical robots can be in the operating room.

Voice-activated Translators

The voice-activated translation system exploited by surgeon Albert is not a thing of the future. We have been taking advantage of real-time text translation and video translation technologies – albeit somewhat disappointing accuracy-wise - via Google Translate, Google's free online language translation service that instantly translates text and web pages. In addition, as Google is employing voice recognition technologies in developing a new translation system that translates foreign languages into mother tongues, a voice recognition translator of decent quality is likely to be available within three to five years.

The Smart era Moves Forward with Wearable Smart Devices.

The smart eyeglasses worn by Dr. Albert during the surgery are a wearable device similar to Google Glass, a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD). Google Glass is capable of recording what the wearer is seeing in real time and comes with navigation and voice recognition systems.

At the IFA (Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin) 2013, Samsung Electronics also took the wraps off the Galaxy Gear, a smart watch that syncs with Galaxy smartphones to enable the wearer to see messages as they arrive.

Google Glass and the Samsung Galaxy Gear are not the only two that lead the wearable device market. Various smart watches have been released – for instance, the Sony SmartWatch, the i'm Watch, The Pebble. And a variety of wearable devices, based on the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, is increasingly being put on the market.

In the late 1990s, Korean portal sites such as Hitel and Chollian spearheaded a boom in personal computer communications based on ISDN (integrated services for digital network) and PSTN (public switched telephone network). Today, we share our thoughts and everyday life stores with others by reciprocating SNS messages, videos, photos, etc. Our wild childhood fantasy of delicious-looking food shown on TV popping out of the screen with a single button press has gotten much closer to becoming a reality. Now, we can order what we want via TV or smartphones.

It is said that looking back on the past teaches us something about the future. Technologies that we thought would be available in the very distant future have materialized much sooner than we expected. If so, now seems like a good time to take a closer look at future technologies and make preparations for upcoming new trends.

The 13 most promising future technologies

1. 3D printing and materials: 3D printing-based innovations in manufacturing and the revitalization of the 3D materials industry.

2. Connected TV: The development of connected TV technologies that seek the convergence of broadcasting, communications and computing; and speedy development of contents.

3. Wearable computing: wearable computing based on Augmented Reality (AR), which includes HUD (Head-up Display) and Semantic Technology

4. Wireless charging: the acceleration of the development of wireless charging technologies in tandem with the spread of smart devices.

5. Near-distance data sharing: new mobile ecosystems like Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi Direct, etc. are budding.

6. Self-directed robots: The next-generation computer hardware market (e.g. self-directed robots based on the convergence of different information technologies) is expanding.

7. 3D computer sensors: The transition to 3D computer sensors from sensor technology imitating the five human senses is underway.

8. Internet of Things (IoT): The promotion of platforms based on hyper-connectivity technologies such as IoT

9. Mobile payment systems: The expansion of mobile payment systems based on apps, barcodes, OR codes, etc.

10. Ultra HD Transmission Technology: The sophistication of UHD technology in consideration of each medium’s characteristics

11. MMT (MPEG Media Transport): The acceleration of convergence with application industries based on MMT, a next-generation media transmission technology.

12. Social Curation: The emergence of professional social curation services that offer information tailored to each individual’s taste on the Internet.

13. HTML5: The expansion of next-generation web standard technologies and growth in demand 

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