It is prospected that the 3D industry will landscape the IT business and will ultimately bring a promising future to Korea. However, there are alternating views on this prospect, in which not all Koreans agree upon the idea that 3D business will buoy their economy and cause an IT revolution. To analyze and grasp the situation of what is really going on in the 3D businesses; Korea IT Times and Electronic Newspaper ran a "3D Convergence 2010" forum at the Press Center on February 11, for five long, but breathtaking hours. The forum raised the question, how will we construct a roadmap for 3D convergence and what 3D industrial revolution will it bring In more detail, the conference brought the proper treatment and various developmental methods of 3D convergence to the table among 150 people from the government panels and industry-university-institute representatives. The forum was conducted in an in-depth discussion layout where a total of thirteen chief members carried on the discussion.
The forum began by a presentation from Lee Seung-hyun, professor at Gwangun University, and he passed the baton to Kim Eun-soo, the chairperson of the meeting and also the Chairman of Korean Communications Society. The discussion was between thirteen prominent figures and it started out smooth, but then there were deliberate pros and cons of which 3D industry will thrive in a long term or dwindle after having a short-term impact on the economy. Lee Seung-hyun's presentation in the start of the meeting was useful in that it pinpointed key notes on what the discussion will pick up on.
Kim Eun-soo, Chairperson for the evening, highlighted what the forum is about and divided the discussion into two parts. The forum will touch on individual countries’ developmental plan on occupying the global market of 3D sector, market forecast on the merger between next generation 3D industry and conventional industry, suitable management policy for conducting 2010 3D business, and standardization of 3D technology.
In addition, Hyung Tae-gun, Standing Commissioner of Korea Communications Commission and Yang Seung-taik, former Minister of Information and Communication, offered their congratulations to the attendees. And Cho Sung-kap, Chairman of IPAK, also delivered his greetings saying "3D TV, 3D cinema, and 3D IPTV have all adopted 3D technology and I can foretell, on behalf of statistical data from related organizations, that 3D technology will be incorporated into other sectors as well such as tourism, national defense, medicine, imaginary museum, construction, civil engineering, computer games, and cell phones. Once 3D technology settles down on various terminals, network, telecommunications, contents, and games, other non mainstream industries will mesh with these 3D technologies and services, causing change in how we understand social and cultural standards. Thus, 3D industry has high potential in bringing IT revolution and also in growing exponentially in all business sectors. I hope the forum that will begin will bring innovative 3D ideas to light and come up with practical 3D development policies."
Kim Eun-soo's remark (Chairperson): We are interested in 3D businesses and are willing to contribute to the flourishing 3D industry. However, we see a long road ahead in which the government, business circle, and other secondary markets should cooperate and conduct thorough R&D, merge 3D with conventional broadcasting industry, study 3D sector limits and how that will affect the entire economic market. And last but not least finalize the policy and regulations on the 3D market. Moreover, there are roughly ten issues that rise to the surface such as standardization, technology level, and possibility on searching new 3D technology. Currently, there are no ways to certify the quality of our 3D products because the lack of government support and also there are not any brilliant ideas to tackle the problems of exhaustion and fatigue caused by watching 3D videos. And this brings to my first question, what is the government's stance on all this 3D effort I would like to ask ChoYoung-sin, head of Information Electronics Industry sector from Ministry of Knowledge Economy.
Cho Young-sin, the Head of Information Electronics Industry sector of Ministry of Knowledge Economy: Small to medium sized businesses have shown interest in the 3D sector long before the larger group and small businesses began to endeavor on what 3D can offer. The government considers cameras, TVs, and other products can enhance 3D technology. The popularity of 3D movies such as Avatar is still showing in theaters and become the backbone of the 3D boom. Nonetheless, there are policies that must be followed to incorporate 3D successfully into our current IT business. First, we need to create 3D TVs, and then we need to establish 3D network. Finally, that brings us to our last step; if there are no contents following the settlement of 3D network, where is the fun of watching 3D channels via our TV So then, we should make a lot of 3D contents that we can shoot via 3D TV using established 3D network. All these three factors equally play a definitive role in wrapping up the 3D businesses. Then again, this will be time consuming and without the full support of the government, it will take even longer; especially, small to medium sized companies have ground breaking ideas on 3D, but they generally lack funds so the government should aid and lead their businesses.
Oh Yong-soo, the Head of Radio Management Department of Korea Communications Commission: The 3D boom in Korea I personally think this is going to be unsustainable. This is because if we look at Korea's broadcasting industry, producing technologies are all in-house that requires overtime editing at night, meaning that the reality is harsh. How will manufacturing and producing processes be able to avoid heavy investment, buying new equipment or pouring money into R&D, and what business model are we struggling to create What is important is that we should make a wide network that is compatible to any device, anywhere, and anytime. Also consider the connection between convergence, network, and device, in which they all need to maintain balance while establishing 3D into our IT industry. Another factor to keep in mind is that countries such as U.S. were able to create 3D movies like 'Avatar', but we do not have enough resources to do that. Thus, we should find a way or a resolution that can satisfy everyone instead of being pressed on time and acting as if 3D future is imminent.
Seo Kyung-hak, the Director of Electronic Components Research Institute: To generate and maintain a long-term success of 3D business, we have to alternate new technologies with fundamental technologies and launch a whole new line of technology. We predict that the gaming market will embellish the 3D business into an innovative and yet useful market for children; what I mean by useful is that kids are able to have a new and different experience when playing games, not only do they get visual experiences, but a diverse, sensual experiences. Moreover, medical treatment and education are other areas where 3D technology will be focused on and it will be like hitting the jack pot for many 3D companies because medical surgeries, today, require as much visual details as possible and not to mention education, kids love 3D technology. Then again, we do not obtain our own, original technology and that hinders us from moving forward into developing more 3D products. Thus, if every sector cooperates and invests into creating a fundamental technology and source, we will walk towards hope.
Kang Bae-geun, the Director of LG Electronics: I say that the origin of 3D technology started three years ago in Korea, but I am a little disappointed because we could have begun much sooner. Nonetheless, the future of 3D industry looks bright and with new and improved technology it is only a matter of time that most home appliances merge with 3D technology. However, we are encountering some inconveniences in 3D glasses such as headaches. Then, of course, 3D technology should be standardized; for the display sector, I am pretty confident that it will find a breakthrough to apply 3D technology and make an efficient progress. However, I doubt about incorporating 3D technology into the medical treatment area.
Lee Ho-jin, the Director of the Telecommunications and Broadcasting Research Laboratory of Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI): We have promoted 3D for a long time and have been anticipating upon its booming business, but first we should consider what other people think about 3D and concentrate on the R&D sector. Also, I can see that businesses are endorsing 3D convergence, but I disagree; we must follow the order of advancing 3D technology. Instead of upholding on the 3D convergence, broadcasting and media sectors should first see the light, meaning they should achieve and pave the way for other sectors to follow and settle down. As for the contents, they are still inadequate and we are still researching on its technology. Moreover, we should develop newer technology rather than tagging along popular trend of 3D technology, because in a long term, the quality of originality is what really lasts.
Kang Suk-won, the Head of Digital Contents Industry Division of Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism: Along with the rising popularity of mobile contents market including the recent 3D video, iPhone and e-book. Thus, we are sensing the need to make persistent support to the 3D content market. Currently, Korea falls behind on 3D software technology and content manufacturing technology; thus, we and the government are backing the facility for joint manufacturing of 3D video and expanding the exemption of tax benefit and financial aid for domestic 3D contents to flourish in the global market. We are against time to adapt in a competitive 3D convergence business structure so we must consider strengthening 3D filming technology and manpower, setting smooth transition from 2D to 3D, and developing leading technology for 3D graphic projects and platforms. Diverse content market is a respectable and is certainly progressing, but there is a gap between U.S. and Korea, now that we have worked on it for five years. Real time 3D filming should be consistently performed, but we currently have none and without a successful experience like 'Avatar' it will be difficult to begin the 3D business. In order for 3D contents to be lucrative, it initially needs to be well planned, produced and to procure many channels as possible.
Oh Yong-soo, the Head of Radio Management Department of Korea Communications Commission: The reason why ‘Avatar' made a big hit is because James Cameron had procured its supportive network and broadband that made it possible to play double feature at the theaters world wide. These efforts led to expanding its business structure and digging up optional values. Compared to this business model, Korea does not have an equivalent broadcasting system, in which transformation from analog to digital is only few years ago and our overall film manufacturing system is just not mature enough to jump into the 3D movie business.
Cho Young-sin, the Head of Information Electronics Industry Sector of Ministry of Knowledge Economy: I think all this boils down to the question of how 3D localization will be able to succeed. I say definitely start with R&D investment. We have currently finalized its planning and now we are working on choosing businesses. We will invest KRW5 billion for three years to R&D on improving 3D TV broadcasting system and work on being standardized. Moreover, we will place more emphasis on developing interactive, HDTV and IPTV and there will be additional investment in making 3D cameras that are used in media and broadcasting.
Dr. Kim Sung-kyu of KIST: There are two kinds of visions that people interpret once they see a visual. First is the binocular vision, which both eyes are used together, where two eyes interpret separate information once they see a same vision. Another vision interpretation is where one eye analyze the whole vision he or she sees. The reason why I am bringing this topic is because by accurately manipulating these two kinds of vision analysis, we can solve the tiredness and dizziness when we watch 3D movies. As of now, this is only a hypothesis because we have not done 100 percent examination on this, but once we incorporate these two visionary factors into 3D film making process, we can eliminate some parts of dizziness that we encounter. As far as I am concerned, Korea is still limited to 2D so we should place more time in R&D especially on the technique called holography. Holography is a technique that allows the light scattered from an object to be recorded and later reconstructed so that it appears as if the object is in the same position relative to the recording medium as it was when recorded. This technique is perfect in producing 3D movies because it can provide the most accurate, real visual as possible. Moreover, this technique can allow watching 3D movies without 3D glasses. Therefore, if we put more attention into R&D investment and holography, it is highly possible for Korea to succeed in making 3D films.
Kim Chang-yong, Executive Director of Samsung Electronics: I think we are too focused on 3D glasses and movie contents and I want to say that those two have already been standardized two or three years ago. Therefore, since we finished technology standardization, we should move on to industry standardization such as blue-ray disk in the broadcasting sector. In other words, we have entered and started working on the industry standardization from last December. Actually, technology standardization on watching 3D without glasses is in the progress and other research on developing multi video format. I can say that the war on getting standardization has already begun. Usually it takes three years to acquire technology standardization so by 2013 or 2014, we should be done with technology standardization and moving on to industry standardization. If that process meets the end, new technologies for display and capturing equipment will rise to the surface. Thus, we should focus on coming up with initiatives when that era comes; actually that should have been started like five years ago. Also the government should make a roadmap for the companies to follow but that has not been completed either. We need the country's roadmap because it expedites research and development and leads to faster technology standardization. If all these occur with no hindrance, it will benefit media content manufacturing and display and other industrial factors. Most importantly, technology standardization is the basis for industry standardization so we must procure original technology.
Kim Tae-sup, CEO of KDC: Most domestic movie producing equipments are from KDC. We have started supplying them from 2007. We produce 3D phones, navigation, and PMP that is the best even when compared worldwide. Our success resulted from competing with global companies and local conglomerates. However there be should a specific, and a separate roadmap for the conglomerates and small businesses. Thus, I would like to make a few suggestions to the government officials that are here today. I humbly ask that the government draw a line between the conglomerate and small to medium sized businesses. More specifically, on what sectors or fields that we should each export to or develop on. I hope that the government will actively aid small businesses and also make a portal that will engage everybody that informs and alerts on how 3D technology is coming closer to our lives.
Hyung Tae-gun, Standing Commissioner of the Korea Communications Commission, delivered his congratulatory greetings saying,"I believe that we are here at this ‘3D Convergence 2010 Forum' to discuss and analyze what we will come up with by emphasizing and extracting 3D's strength. As you all know, Korea is under the spotlight for having foremost 3D technology than other countries. Although the development of IPTV lagged behind, its persistent improvement upgraded internet and test bed settings; thus, we expect standardization of 1 GB network within the next three years. Moreover, we can sense that an era of broadband mobile is already knocking at our door, in which increasing popularity in smart phones paved the way. Also, considering our early adaptation skills to new technologies, it is highly possible that we, Korea, will easily surmount 10,000,000 applicants of broadband, two-way communication, and mobile, building fast-speed information telecommunications network. This 3D forum tonight is significant because it gives us the time to talk about what kind of contents we are going to make and what services to provide. Under the condition that 3D will be a major breakthrough in the IT industry, I hope that we, in particular, go over 3D businesses and ease its rising doubts and concerns and of course, find accurate solutions. Korea excels in hardware, but meanwhile software is weak and it requires more research and development. Unfortunately, Korea's broadcasting and communications run in separate ways so their technological achievements are hard to make impact in the overall business structure. However, 3D success is not so much implausible considering our transition from hardware to digital and black to color televisions. Thus, we cannot lose hope that 3D sector will surface with the model that suits our environment and bring national benefit after a range of research and development I suggest that instead of trying to chase after Hollywood's strength in 3D movie making, Korea should focus more on its strength in world's fast-speed internet network and eventually create cyber 3D education and cyber 3D medical service that fit with the country's service model. From this angle, the 3D forum that we are having today is significant."
Lee Jae-kwon, CEO of RealScope: Since Disney created the Hannah Montana concert in 3D in 2008; a few Korean companies have made attempts to film concerts in 3D. One of the content developing companies, nFX Media, filmed the Big Bang concert in 3D, but the result was a disaster. There are still several problems to overcome in order to make great 3D contents. From developing to distribution, the work environment is very poor compared to other countries who lead the content business. There are no 3D video cameras available to film movies or concerts. All the equipment is rented from foreign countries and the rental fee for one 3D video camera can cost approximately US$900,000. Thus, the market for Korean content makes it impossible to create profit out of 3D contents. Without the government's help, it would be really hard for content developers to have great success in the 3D industry.
Kang Suk-won, Head of Digital Contents Industry Division of Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism: Currently, the separation between broadcasting and telecommunication has slow down the content development. We are on the verge of changing from color to 3D displays, which requires a new paradigm shift. Korea is a leader in electronic hardware and high-speed Internet network, which give us an edge in the 3D industry. It is very difficult to catch up with Hollywood in 3D content business because of the difference of market size and investment. However, the market for education and medical industry is still wide open, and we can have great success in these service areas by being a leader in hardware and network capability.
Oh Yong-soo, head of Radio Management Department of Korea Communications Commission: 3D content can be used in different sectors. Whether the content is 2D or 3D, it needs to be distributed to the market for TV, PC, mobile and other devices. 3D contents are actually 2D contents with depth information. Considering the display purchase cycle, and backward compatibility are important issues. 3D content should be supported in 2D displays to increase market share. 3D content such as documentaries, sports, and digital contents are consumed through broadcasting, but more content should be distributed through the off-line service. Documentaries such as "Tears of Amazon" will be edited and released in theaters and more 3D sports games will be available for consumers through off-line services. Instead of Business to Business (BTB) model, Business to Consumer (BTC) model should be developed to vitalize the content distribution market, especially, to improve the environment for the whole content industry.
Kim Nam, Professor at Chungbuk University: 3D stands for dangerous, dirty, and difficult. No one made profits in 3D related businesses. Most of the early investors and pioneers have not even survived and only a few early adopters are still working in the 3D industry. The 3D that we are seeing is not actually 3D. It is 3D alike images on a 2D display. The true 3D image is holography. We need to build a long term plan by educating and training more people for the real 3D industry. When the market expands, more investment will follow and true 3D development will lead the future.
Lee Ho-jin, Director of the Telecommunications and Broadcasting Research Laboratory of ETRI: The convergence of content and broadcasting technology needs to improve together. The 3D video format has to be reusable through various devices. The codec for 3D images and videos are still under development. Currently, MPEG's codec technology is under review and more efficient 3D codec will be introduced for exporting. The technical standardization for 3D glasses is completed and we are at the level of industrial standardization for broadcasting. Also, 3D technology without glasses will take about three more years for standardization for displays and capturing devices. The standardization will have a great impact on broadcasting services and content creation. By 2015, a new debate for technical standardization will arise.
Lee Seung-hyun, professor at Gwangun University: All movies will eventually evolve into 3D based content. As contents evolved from black/white to color to HD, they were developed to satisfy consumers' desire to have more realistic experiences. The development of 3D industry will not only increase the consumer satisfaction, but it will create new job opportunities for many people. We cannot change all the content in one day. It takes a lot of time and effort to change from 2D to 3D. New programs at universities will create more people power to improve 3D technology. Currently, there is no 3D certification institution and no standardization for 3D equipment and content, which means that we can create a certification institution to review 3D content and provide good materials to consumers. We also need to set a safety guide line for 3D contents which may cause dizziness and medical problems for some people. Considering for the next 10 years, we need to prepare and develop current 3D convergence industry and take it to the next level.