KT brings technology to isolated, traditional area

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KT brings technology to isolated, traditional area

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Kang Dong-gyun, an instructor in Cheonghakdong Village, South Gyeongsang, demonstrates an interactive board built by KT at the village’s community library on Monday. Provided by the company

HADONG COUNTY, South Gyeongsang - Committing themselves to a traditional way of living, many residents in Cheonghakdong Village in Hadong County, South Gyeongsang, still wear hanbok, the traditional Korean clothing, and rubber shoes. Located at an altitude of 800 meters (2,625 feet) in the slope of Mt. Jiri, students attend seodang, a private village school where they recite Chinese classics and learn Chinese the same way kids did in the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).

Telecommunications provider KT is bringing advanced Internet infrastructure and tech breakthroughs to this remote village in a bid to connect them through communications.

The company has turned a village library into a tech-forward learning place.

Dubbed GiGA Seodang, the library is equipped with interactive electronic boards that allow for remote learning through mobile devices.

When an instructor writes characters with a brush fitted with a motion sensor, students can see the writings through their smartphones or tablets.

With the electronic board system developed by a startup called AnyRactive, people in other cities can watch the instructions if they install an app.

The project is the latest of KT’s initiative to build information and communication technology infrastructure in remote rural areas. Other places include the fortified demilitarized zone (DMZ) and Baengnyeong Island off the northwestern coast.

“Combining old customs preserved in Cheonghakdong Village with the latest technology advancement, KT added fresh value to the region,” said Hwang Chang-gyu, CEO of KT on Monday during an event that celebrated the use of the technologies.

Also at the event were Yoon Sang-gi, head of Hadong County, and Lee Jun-won, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

To better facilitate remote video lectures, KT also installed a high-speed Internet network with speeds of up to one gigabit per second.

KT leveraged beacon technology to engage tourists visiting the village. Beacons are a Bluetooth low energy (BLE) technology designed to locate the whereabouts of people by detecting signals from mobile devices. With the signal, the operator can send real-time messages relevant to the locations.

When tourists install a smartphone application called Cheonghakdong, they can receive information about the places they pass by.

The use of beacons is not limited to tourists.

The technology can enable teachers to manage students’ record of attendance.

“When students with a beacon-enabled device around the neck enters a seodang, the record is automatically kept and their parents can get notifications that children arrived at the school safely,” said Kim Soo-yeon of KT.

The company also donated a drone designed to enhance safety. The safety drone can be sent to high reaches and detect potentially dangerous phenomena.

If the village is isolated due to a flood, the drone can carry aid.

The Agriculture Ministry and KT signed an agreement on Monday to cooperate on developing technologies for the agriculture industry.

The two sides plan to revamp online markets to connect farmers and consumers.

BY PARK EUN-JEE[park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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