Everyday digital in Korea

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.

Korean license plate

No need to pull a ticket when entering a garage; a computer will track when you enter and exit.

Apartment license plate scanner


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.

Tmoney


Widespread wifi coverage

High-speed broadband and wireless LTE network coverage are widely available; so is wifi.

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 10.13.57 PM

In subways,  many riders pass the time by streaming video to their mobile (usually Samsung) devices.

Subway wifi


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.

Galleria 494 - wifi table service


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.

1 thought on “Everyday digital in Korea”

  1. And in my country – Poland here! – they tried to use electronic voting system during last elections. Finally they had to cound all of this votes manually, cause the software broke within few hours.. 😀

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