As the traditional land-line phone business migrates into the new mobile wireless smartphone world, it is causing some telecom companies to lose their way and stumble while others are seeing the opportunity to create whole new futures for themselves. One such company that is creating a whole new future for itself is KT. It was formerly known as Korea Telecom but is now moving far beyond telecommunications, thus its name is now just KT.
I spoke about doing business in the cloud in Seoul last week at the Smart & Cloud Show and met some influential people who are guiding development of cloud computing in Korea. One such person was Hong-Jin Kim, a senior executive vice president of service transformation at KT. He talked about how Koreans spend more time at work than their European or US counterparts and still they earn less. He presented ideas from work of the Korean National Information Society Agency. In collaboration with Korean companies they are building “Smart Work Centers” using cloud computing and related technologies to restructure the way work is done, increase productivity and income and create new jobs.
[ I do lively presentations on this and related topics – www.MichaelHugos.com ]
Using Cloud Computing and Smart Devices to Decentralize Work Environments
Korea is encouraging what they call “smart work”. By this they mean using cloud and smart devices to restructure company business and operating models so employees can work out of distributed work centers that are closer to their homes and they can operate more collaboratively with customers and suppliers. A handful of smart work centers are already in operation and more will be opening every year.
Companies can rent space at smart centers where their employees in that area can work. This cuts down on time wasted commuting to and from work and cuts down on traffic congestion and carbon emissions as well. Mr. Kim also talked of the need to create more new small and medium businesses that can create new jobs especially for young people entering the workforce who need an opportunity to get their start.
In a conversation at dinner he drew an analogy between power companies and telecom companies. They both have wide distribution networks, he said, but the power companies also have a product (electric power) that they make and deliver over their distribution networks. So they make money on both operating their network and on making and selling their product.
He went on to say that at present, many telecom companies only operate their networks; they don’t have a product to sell and this hurts their profitability. He said KT has a wide distribution network they are upgrading and expanding and now they want to have a set of products that they can make and deliver to customers over their network.
Thoughts on a Similar Situation in the United States
This got me to thinking of a situation in Chicago where I live and the traditional telecom provider, AT&T, is being squeezed out by a competitor, Comcast. Comcast created a distribution network originally for delivery of cable TV, and now they are using it to deliver other products such as Internet access, movies, video-on-demand and lately, phone service.
AT&T spent the last 20 years buying up other telecom companies after the breakup in the 1980s of the former nationwide telecom company known as AT&T. It did this in order to recreate a seamless and wide reaching