UPDATE : 2018.9.20 THU 12:21
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S. Korea shows off tech prowess at PyeongChang Olympics

South Korea grabbed the attention of global viewers of this year's Winter Games by showing off a series of cutting-edge technologies, including 5G communication, artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles.

KT Corp., one of the country's largest telecom service providers, stole the spotlight by introducing a 5G system for the first time anywhere in the world during the Feb. 9-25 PyeongChang Olympics.

KT's 5G network boasts data processing speeds 20 times faster than its predecessor, fourth-generation LTE (long term evolution). The 5G service, set to become widespread in South Korea and other developed countries from next year, was available at gymnasiums and experience zones that provided users with real-time content, such as Interactive Time Slice, Sync View and Omni View.

In this photo taken Feb. 19, 2018 and provided by KT Corp., two models show off the 5G-based Sync View service during a bobsleigh race at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. (Yonhap)

For example, Interactive Time Slice, used to good effect during figure skating, ice hockey and short track events, used 100 cameras fitted around the PyeongChang ice arena to allow for 360-degree instant replay and zooming. Sync View technology showed the start of events such as bobsleigh, and Omni View technology showed all the action as well as the athletes' times.

5G-equipped autonomous buses developed by Hyundai Motor Co. and KT transported visitors from place to place during the winter sports games. Hyundai Motor offered people an opportunity to experience autonomous vehicles, previewing what technology could bring.

To help break down language barriers, Korea's Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute and local software company Hancom Interfree jointly developed GenieTalk, a voice-recognition instant translation app that was able to translate Korean into eight languages during the Olympic period.

The number of GenieTalk downloads jumped to 1.2 million with the start of the Olympics, up from around 600,000 at the end of January. Organizers asked for the app to be shown to foreign athletes and visitors.

Local AI firm Future Robot provided 30 of its Furo-D robots to act as guides and translators across the ICT Pavilion in PyeongChang. The robots roamed the area during the global sports event and attracted attention by playing songs and even performing dances.

A total of 85 robots, including the Furo-D robots, were mobilized during the event to offer services ranging from serving drinks and guiding people around venues to cleaning.

In this photo taken Jan. 29, 2018, two models promote GenieTalk, a voice-recognition instant translation app that can translate Korean into eight languages. (Yonhap)

Foreign media responded well to Korea's high-end technologies. Newspapers and newswires such as the Financial Times and Bloomberg wrote about some of the new tech in their articles.

South Korea, a global leader in internet speed, expects its nationwide adoption of 5G network to set a precedent for how the technology will change daily lives around the world.

Tech observers have claimed that once the 5G network is established across the country, the adoption of other technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles and augmented reality, will gather momentum.

On top of these technologies, the fantastic show of 1,218 drones based on Intel's Shooting Star platform was another eye-catching moment for spectators at the Olympic stadium and global television audiences, even though the aerial performance had to be prerecorded due to adverse weather conditions at the resort town. Cold temperatures hurt the drones' battery life, while winds can cause havoc with their ability to fly and hover. (Yonhap)

Kim Sua  edt@koreapost.com

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