South Korea is one of the world’s most wired countries (if not THE most). While living here, It’s easy to overlook the extent to which technology is just a part of going about your business every day. For example:
Easy in and out of parking garages
Most parking garages have license plate scanners, at apartments, department stores, and office buildings. Almost all cars have European-style plates with black type on a white background.
No need to pull a ticket when entering a garage; a computer will track when you enter and exit.
A national NFC payment system
A national stored value contactless payment system called T-money enables people to pay for public transportation with a tap. T-money is also accepted in taxis, eliminating the need for cash or credit. Beyond transportation, convenience stores and some other small shops accept T-money as well.
Widespread wifi coverage
High-speed broadband and wireless LTE network coverage are widely available; so is wifi.
In subways, many riders pass the time by streaming video to their mobile (usually Samsung) devices.
Wifi restaurant service
Dining in many food courts is a modified cafeteria-style, where patrons place their orders at a centralized location and pay in advance, then pick up their food when ready from a specialized outlet. In some upscale food halls, patrons place their order and then find a seat, then place a wifi beacon on the table so servers know where to deliver the meal.
Keyless building entry
Most people don’t carry around keys, because most apartment buildings are accessed by a NFC device, while apartment units use a keycode or fingerprint to unlock the front door. I guess young people never have to ask to get a key back if they break up; just change the code.
Thankfully in my daily life, none of this technology is used to serve ads or otherwise overtly monetize interactions for brand exposure. On the other hand, monitoring technologies like CCTV and internet filtering are also in use, so it’s likely that the digital enablers of everyday convenience have a latent governing and compliance purpose as well.