SKT, Socar work on connected car

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SKT, Socar work on connected car

The country’s No. 1 telecommunications provider has taken another step towards the connected car industry, joining with the nation’s largest car sharing service, Socar.

On Monday SK Telecom inked a deal at its headquarters in Euljiro, Jung District, central Seoul, to provide a private Internet of Things (IoT) network and a mobile navigation system for the car sharing company.

Connected cars are vehicles equipped with internet access, which allows them to share information with other smart devices. If drivers are connected to their cars via the internet, they can remotely control systems like air conditioning or start up the car engine.

SK Telecom plan to install LTE-M, a variant of today’s dominant wireless system, to provide an IoT environment for Socar’s cars. Unlike existing wireless mobile technology used for connected cars, the LTE-M service will make real-time control and management of cars possible.

This year will be a testing period for the new system on several of Socar’s cars. Following test results, a full roll out of the LTE-M system may take place during the first half of next year.

The partnership will also give Socar a new navigation system. New cars registered to Socar will have SK Telecom’s T-Map system installed, while existing cars will gradually be updated to T-Map.

During the test period, both companies will accumulate data to establish a database for future connected car developments.

“The connected car is a combination of our three development goals for the future which include establishing an IoT platform” said Kim Young-joo, head of the enterprise business office of SK Telecom. “We will continue discovering new business models to contribute to the sharing economy in conjunction with Socar, a leader in the car sharing industry.”

Socar started business in 2012 in Jeju. Since then, the business has grown to 2.1 million subscribers while its registered cars have increased from 100 to 6,500. Car sharing is a relatively new concept in Korea, where registered users on the car-sharing mobile app can now rent cars on a 10-minute basis, a more flexible option compared to more conventional car rental services.

SK Group have invested 59 billion won ($52 million) in Socar, taking 20 percent of the company’s shares last November. A sharing economy and the development of connected cars are considered potential growth engines for both the telecommunications and auto industry.


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]


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