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Homo Convergence

Posted May. 29, 2010 09:51,   


Lee Seung-hoon, the gold medalist in the men’s 10,000-meter speed skating competition at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in February, excels in cornering due to his background as a short-track speed skater. “By utilizing short-track techniques, I developed a racing technique that speed skaters cannot perform,” he said. With the technique, he speeds up at curve sections and leisurely skates in straight sections. Through convergence of speed skating technique and short track skills, he amazingly struck Olympic gold just seven months after being converted into a speed skater.

Convergence is integration between two different species. Gadgets that integrate diverse functions represent product convergence. Technology convergence involves IT or mobile technology being integrated with cars. The concept of “trivergence,” which combines the three elements of hardware, software and network services, has also emerged. Under this method, digital terminals including mobile handsets, MP3 players, game machines and TVs are converged. Software for operating the converged gadgets is offered at very low cost. Their providers charge fees for maintenance and repair of these gadgets and services. At the World IT Show 2010 that closed Friday at the Seoul COEX, a company introduced a service offering all functions including business, shopping and learning with a smartphone.

The Korean telecom industry had focused on Internet protocol TV, a convergence of telecommunications and broadcasting, until last year. The sector has significantly expanded the objects of convergence this year. SK Telecom singled out eight core items including distribution, logistics, finance and education, and is developing related convergence businesses. KT’s efforts to forge partnerships with completely different industries, including Hyundai Motor, Lotte Department Store, KTX, Kookmin Bank and Nonghyup, is another type of convergence. LG Telecom has dropped the word “telecom” from its name and renamed itself LG U+. The company is preparing more than 20 projects including those on media, education and utility.

In this era of convergence, “homo convergence,” or “humans of fusion” who go beyond certain areas, is catching on. These people have a well-developed left cerebrum, which controls math and logical capacity, and right cerebrum, which oversees creativity. Major countries are racing to develop educational programs designed to cultivate such people. Top managers are seen as people of fusion and growing more popular. The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, or KAIST, will open a management school for convergence for top managers. The goal is to present the creative management strategy required in the era of change, including fusion of industries, conventional industries, IT, management and security.

Editorial Writer Hong Kwon-hee (konihong@donga.com)