CES 2021: Tasks for Korean Industries in a Digitally-Transformed World
|Author||Shim, Woo Jung; Kwon, Ohsung; Kim, Jongki||Date||2021.02.26||Issue No||104|
CES 2021, an annual consumer electronics exposition, featured innovative products for the “changed-everyday” that is expected to characterize the post-COVID-19 world. Such products demonstrate that the so-called “digital transformation” is already well underway.
AI is now a mandatory foundational technology across industries. Innovation is particularly visible in AI and 5G-based areas, including “home-conomy” (home + economy), bio-health, and eco-friendly technologies.
▣ Korean Innovation Outcomes
Korea received more innovation awards this year than it did in 2020. However, Small and Mid-size Enterprises (SMEs) received relatively few awards.
Korea received more than one-quarter (26.4 percent) of all awards given, a proportion higher than the 21.8 percent Korea received in 2020. However, SMEs accounted for fewer awards than in 2020.
Of the 45 total awards Korea received in the Health & Wellness category, SMEs received 10, a relatively large number. However, the majority of these awards were for wellness and beauty products rather than for applications such as remote medical care (telehealth).
Two factors threaten Korea’s digital transformation: 1) a lack of AI capabilities and 2) systemic rigidity in bio-health.
Korea maintains the lead in 5G and IT manufacturing. However, this lead is jeopardized by vulnerabilities in the country’s AI technologies and platform-related capabilities as well as by excessive regulatory control over remote medical care.
▣ Policy Recommendations
In order to dominate the convergence-based new product and services market and gain a competitive edge in the current era of digital transformation, Korea must develop innovative strategies, take bold steps, and never hesitate to break the mold.
The following measures are necessary: promote an open innovation industrial environment, address industry weaknesses via mergers and acquisitions (M&A), develop core technologies based on expected future demand, strategically strengthen platform capabilities, and undertake systemic reform to create an industrial environment conducive to the digital transformation.？