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Industry Report

Industry reports, briefs issued by Samsung Economic Research Institute

The Age of Mobile Convergen

The Age of Mobile Convergen

MIN Byung-Suk

Apr. 25, 2005

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Electronic devices are turning into mobile devices at unprecedented speed, and mobile products and services are bringing a new explosive growth in the field of communications, computers, and home appliances. Digitalization of analogue devices is accelerating this process of change in our lifestyles and working environments.

The spectacular growth of the mobile industry is spurring the pace of mobile convergence. An increasing number of functions, such as those of camera, games, and multimedia services are working their way into mobile phones. At the same time, brand new services such as digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) and a Portable Internet system are coming to the fore. So far, the concept of mobile convergence has been limited to upgrading functions of mobile phones. That, however, is now shifting to industries and services.

Mobile convergence will induce changes in technology greater than those brought by wireless communications of the 1990s. First, it will trigger the rise of a variety of new services, hardware, and contents. One of them is radio frequency identification (RFID) technology that will create innovative business in areas as diverse as logistics, distribution, textiles, and the environment. Development of mobile convergence technology will blur the boundaries between different business segments, and sharpen competition between different industries. Competition will turn acute between mobile service carriers and broadcasting stations, between fixed communications service providers and mobile service providers. The concept of mobile convergence, which first appeared in the information technology (IT) industry such as broadcasting and communications, is invading the territory of conventional industries and business sectors such as health care, security and safety, even disaster relief work.

With the business prospects looking so bright in this new area of technology, both the government and business community require a good, ambitious strategy to exploit the new opportunity. An appropriate strategy and policy will be critical to secure a place in the newly evolving area of mobile and convergence industry which Korea has pioneered so successfully.

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