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The future of convergence: Next steps for the smart era

Technological evolution has brought about many changes to human life and has served as a “big momentum for growth” for emerging market economies.

That’s according Suk-Chae Lee who was speaking at the Korea Communications Conference about our connected natures, the future of smart convergence and the new opportunities they provide.

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Lee is the CEO of KT Corporation, a South Korean integrated wired/wireless telecommunication service provider.

“People are now living in world where they can be connected wherever they are with introduction of smart devices — the smart era,” says Lee.

He reckons that this new era, which is the third industrial revolution, can be characterised by digitisation in manufacturing, which is one aspect of smart convergence. Lee believes that smart convergence will lead to innovative changes in how we communicate.

“The core of smart convergence lies in the connectivity of people in a world without and space restraints. [The] fragmented virtual goods market will be integrated and create the global single market. The creation and consumption of virtual goods, such as apps, games and music are continuously growing and what used to be physical are converted into virtual goods, such as e-health, e-book, e-learning and smart city,” says Lee.

He explains that this new era will see the global virtual market exceed US$160-billion by 2015. Digital content such as music, ebooks and movies will take two-thirds of this sum, while the rest will comprise the app market.

“The size of the market will grow exponentially due to lack to transport costs and tariffs,” says Lee.

He cautions though that all this will depend on the speed of smart device penetration. Even if only 50% of the world population have smart devices, more than 4-billion people will be connected, which makes the “revolution” possible.

Next major steps for the smart era

Lowering startup risks: Lee believes smart convergence will lower startup risks, due to virtual offices and easy connectivity. This will also allow companies to focus more on the business than the infrastructure.

Smart working: If more organisations make smart working a trend, this will help build a work force that is not restricted by geographical location. This could help curb unemployment.

Mobile payment will be the norm: The smart era has already begun ushering in mobile payments. Soon there will be no need for cards or cash. More devices will be NFC-enabled or have some form of mobile payment system.

Machine-to-machine and peer-to-peer connection: Lee believes that will see more machine-to-machine connections as well and more peer-to-peer connections.

There are some risks to the smart era, he warns. The more connected we become, the more data we will require and diversification of smart devices. Data speeds may increase but combating things like piracy will be key to success in the smart era.

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