Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT holds demonstration for 4 ICT-based public-use devices at the 2018 ICT Commercialisation Festival

South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT recently held a demonstration for 4 ICT-based public-use devices at the 2018 ICT Commercialisation Festival on 25th May. According to a press release by the Ministry, the 4 devices showcased include a parking management device for the physically disabled, a fire detection device for preventing large-scale fires in traditional markets, a “crop damage prevention device” and a “child bus safety accident prevention device”

Held annually, the festival provides a platform for collaboration between public institutions, researchers and companies, as well as for showcased devices to gain funding and reach commercialisation, as well as provide opportunities for SMEs involved in the development of such devices to expand their outreach. The festival is also open to the general public, and past editions have provided opportunities for festival-goers to participate in interactive technology experiences such as virtual reality simulations and smart home devices. This year’s edition saw the opening of the “4th Industrial Revolution Hall”, which allowed visitors to directly experience technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality.

The demonstration, conducted separately in a conference room, was intended for ICT officers in public institutions and small-medium enterprises (SMEs) involved in the development of public-use devices. The 4 devices showcased during the public demonstration have been commercialised prior to the demonstration and are currently in use by local governments in South Korea.

Via the ICT Commercialisation Festival, the Ministry of Science and ICT effectively taps on private sector innovation and expertise to supplement public sector efforts in addressing current socio-economic issues in South Korea. SMEs that create products to address a particular social problem are supported by scaling their products to reach commercialisation, while local governments and civil service agencies benefit from new technologies and an expanded public service delivery network that extends beyond the existing resources of the government.

All 4 items showcased are joint products of public-private partnerships between government agencies or local governments and small-medium enterprises: the parking management device was jointly developed by Pocheon City and Inno C&S; the fire detection device developed in cooperation with Gyeongnam Fire Fighting Headquarters and Rosetta Tech; Bonghwa county and Gwangjin Co. jointly developed the crop damage prevention device, and the child bus safety accident prevention device was a collaborative effort between Yong-In city and AVAD Co.

The demonstration of public-use devices jointly developed via public-private partnerships underscores South Korea’s efforts to leverage on innovation in the private sector to drive research and development in advanced technologies. Public-private partnerships play a critical role not only in the country’s push towards digital transformation in light of the 4th Industrial Revolution, but also complement the government’s other tech initiatives such as cybersecurity.

According to the Director of Science and Technology Policy Bureau (an agency under the Ministry of Science and ICT’s Science, Technology and Innovation Office) Yong Hong-taek, “[the ministry is] pursuing three tasks jointly with with local governments, SMEs and telecoms companies for developing public-use devices”, and that “[the ministry] plans to support SMEs in developing and commercialising their products via various methods, including this demonstration”.

Launched in 2015 and hosted by the Ministry of Science and ICT,  the 2018 edition of the ICT Commercialisation Festival was held at the COEX Convention and Exhibition Center in Seoul, and included more than 120 agencies, 160 exhibitions as well as commercialisation consultants. The festival also included pitching events, case lectures and business conferences on ICT commercialisation. Technologies exhibited at the 2017 edition of the ICT Commercialisation Festival include IoT, artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

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