When it comes to being wired, the US is in the stone ages. No joke.
I've been reading this series of articles on CNN the past few weeks: Eye on South Korea. It's a series that highlights the cutting edge stuff going on in a country that only 3 or 4 decades ago was still considered a 3rd world nation. Only 10 years ago was the Asian Financial Crisis (some refer to this as the "IMF crisis" even though that is an inaccurate description) and what a turn-around. South Korea has been known as the most wired nation in the world for a while now. But do you know what that really means? Facebook? iPhone? Extremely fast broadband internet over your mobile phone? Whatever! That is all old news and a big yawn to South Koreans.
Even in Europe, the mobile technology is so much better (and cheaper). You can get a flat-rate unlimited HSDPA/UMTS pc card (for you non-techies, that's fancy talk for a broadband internet card) for like 25 euros a month. From an American perspective, I know many feel like the USA is going through a "Fall of Rome" period, technology-wise. Innovation, usability, and accessibility (e.g. - price) is not happening in the USA. It's in Asia, Europe... Africa in some cases.
Check out these facts (some of them unfathomable in the USA):
Facts from 'Digital Korea'
Tomi Ahonen's book "Digital Korea" discusses digital convergence in South Korea. Here are some excerpted statistics:
- 90% of South Koreans have broadband Internet access.
- 63% of South Koreans make payments using their cell phones.
- 43% of Korea's population maintain an online profile or blog site in Cyworld.
- Over 50% of South Koreans have migrated their cell-phone account to 3G.
- The most popular online game in Korea, Lineage, has 14 million users worldwide, twice as many as World of Warcraft.
- The second most desired car is not a Ferrari but a "Solid Pro," a virtual car from the online game Kart Rider.
- In South Korea, the average broadband connection is between 50 and 100 megabits a second (compared with the UK's average 4.6 megabits). South Korea is already rolling out pilot connections at 1,000 megabits a second.
- South Koreans pay for their broadband at the lowest rates in the world.
- In 2006, 57% of South Korea's music sales were digital compared to 10% in the U.S. (Source: IFPI January 2007)
- South Korean youth replace cell phones every 11 months. (SOURCE: NIDA September 2005)
- 99% of phones sold in South Korea in 2005 were camera phones. (SOURCE: MIC 2006)
- 40% of South Korean youth send SMS text messages in class. (SOURCE: Korea Agency for Digital Opportunity & Promotion 2005)
- 37% of South Koreans download cell-phone games. (SOURCE: NIDA 2005)
· 15% of South Koreans play video games on their cell phones every day. (SOURCE: Korea Agency for Digital Opportunity & Promotion 2005)
- Over 30% of South Korean students send 100 text messages a day. (SOURCE: Korea Times, February 9, 2006)
- 20% of South Korean cell-phone owners use Internet search on their cell phones. (SOURCE: NIDA September 2005)
- 30% of South Koreans upload pictures from camera phones to social-networking sites. (SOURCE: Seoul Magazine, December 2005)
- 42% of South Korean cell-phone owners send picture messages. (SOURCE: NIDA September 2005)
- South Korea became the first country to launch digital TV (DMV--Digital Media Broadcasting) to cell phones on May 16, 2005.
- Average amount of daily consumption of DMB digital TV on cell phones in South Korea is 129 minutes per day. (SOURCE: MIC January 2007)
- 43% of South Koreans use cell-phone-based Internet. (SOURCE: NIDA September 2005)
- 20% of South Korean DMB cell-phone owners watch digital TV in the car. (SOURCE: Irdeto January 2007)
- 63% of South Korean cell-phone owners use mobile payment. (SOURCE: Business Week, March 2, 2006)
- 25% of all VISA cards in South Korea are provided via cell phone.
- 45% of South Koreans buy MP3 files to phones. (SOURCE: NIDA September 2005)
- 97% of South Koreans buy ring tones. (SOURCE: NIDA September 2005)
- 45% of all music sold in South Korea is sold to cell phones. (SOURCE: Telecoms Korea May 29, 2006)
- 26% of South Koreans listened to MP3 songs on their cell phones in 2005. (SOURCE: TNS November 2005)
- "Ringback tones" originated in South Korea.
- Apple's iPhone is not revolutionary in Korea.
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In my opinion it's the responsibility of the government to facilitate ease of technology integration and provide support, just as the South Korean government did after the Asian Financial Crisis. It's like building infrastucture. Like plumbing and sewage! Just for the 21st century! Also the job of innovative hi-tech companies and organizations to just develop good products. The USA is currently in a really bad financial crisis stemming from subprime loans right now. This might be a good opportunity to just get caught up.
It's time for the USA to stop beating it's chest and thinking it is the 800 lb gorilla. It's not 1985 anymore! Times have changed and there is a Chinese, Korean, and some other big gorillas from elsewhere. And actually, they are not gorillas anymore either. They are big freakin robots.
Liferay mobile, anyone?