Mobile firms want to put technology in apartments

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Mobile firms want to put technology in apartments


An SK Telecom employee demonstrates the company’s “Smart Home” system. [SK TELECOM]

Telecommunications companies are collaborating with construction companies to put high-tech systems in new apartment buildings to enable “smart” residences.

Top player SK Telecom has joined forces with Hyundai Engineering & Construction to supply Internet of Things (IoT) technology to the Hillstate apartment complex in Dongtan New Town in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi.

The two leaders in their industries signed a memorandum of understanding for the smart home business in February and are opening a model house tomorrow that will demonstrate how the cutting-edge system works. The complex goes on sale this month, and owners are scheduled to move in by February 2019.

Korea’s smallest mobile service provider, LG U+, also inked a partnership on Wednesday with Daewoo Engineering & Construction to install LG’s IoT system in apartments under Daewoo’s Prugio brand, in both existing buildings and buildings going up in the future.

KT is using its own real estate development subsidiary, KT Estate, to equip residential complexes with built-in smart home systems in former locations of landline telephone offices. The project will begin in Dongdaemun District, central Seoul, in July and spread to Yeongdeungpo District and Gwanak District in southern Seoul.

A smart home is supposed to allow residents to use their smartphones to control lighting, heating, refrigerators, washing machines and air purifiers that have been designed to work with IoT technology. Residents can check which parking spaces are available. When they return home, the gate recognizes them automatically through an app and summons an elevator.

LG U+ claims it is building its technology with information on people’s lifestyles that it has gleaned through big-data analysis. When a user of the system tells an app, “Let’s clean the house,” a robot vacuum cleaner starts to function, ventilators and air purifiers are turned on, and curtains automatically open.

Faced with saturated growth in mobile subscribers and stalled revenues, mobile operators hope their partnership with builders can serve as a new revenue stream.

“The mobile market was able to grow on the back of an increasing number of long-term evolution [LTE] subscribers over the past four years,” said Kim Hee-jae, an analyst at Daishin Securities. “But now that the penetration rate for LTE has surpassed 70 percent, telecom operators will inevitably see sluggish performances.”

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