August 27th, 2010
The Korean Ubiquitous City Association is organizing a first U-City World Forum this year, calling for international participation.
A U-city is a city where you want to live, by definition. South Korea has seen an astounding rate of urbanization. A large part of the country’s population lives in Seoul, a megacity. No wonder building attractive and sustainable cities is a hot topic in Korea. Large-scale projects are underway to take principles to practice.
May 13th, 2010
The word ubiquitous is a key to understanding Korean and Japanese information technology (IT). An example: U-city (U as in ubiquitous) is a concept heavily promoted in Korea. All the major Korean cities strive to earn the U-city label. Ubiquitous, according to an English dictionary, means found or seeming to be found everywhere. How can a city be found everywhere? The very ambition to be found everywhere may seem mysterious, or even suspect to a Westerner.
However, to Koreans and the Japanese ubiquitous has a different meaning. The double semantics of this word is little known. Since I couldn’t find any previous work on this subject I recently wrote an article about it, now published in the proceedings of the ICISA 2010 conference.
March 26th, 2010
This blog has featured a few posts and reports about “ubiquitous”, the way this word is used in Japanese and Korean information technology. Submitting these ideas to a reality test was tempting, so I decided to write up a paper for a Korean IT conference. The paper was accepted even though the conference is mainly technical.
October 12th, 2009
There may be life on March, and there just may be people out there wondering why I wrote a post about ONS under the “ubiquitous” theme. What’s ubiquitous about an Object Name Service?
(Note in passing: If my use of ubiquitous seems suspect, please download the “U-Essence” report from this website.)
The reason is wireless sensor networks, also known as Ubiquitous Sensor Networks (USN) in Korea and Japan.
Wireless sensors are regarded as an extension of RFID technology even if they differ in several respects. Simply put, a sensor is active, transmitting a varying measurement value and depends on continuous power supply. A plain RFID tag is passive because it relies on radio frequencey energy beamed to it by the tag reader. It transmits the same identity every time.
The ONS (Object Name Service) was invented for passive RFID tags. By extrapolation the ONS is also found in some sensor network architectures. My previous post raised objections about the ONS for passive RFID tags, mainly based on security considerations. For sensor networks the ONS functionality is plain irrelevant in many cases. Let me sketch an alternative.
September 15th, 2009
The Object Name Service (ONS)  proposed by EPCglobal is specified to use DNS (the Domain Name System) for looking up object identities. An object identity in this case is essentially an Electronic Product Code (EPC).
I have strong misgivings about this ONS design. Primarily because it is a fundamental mixing up of concerns. But also because DNS should not be entrusted with sensitive information.
August 22nd, 2009
The novelty of the e-era (e as in e-government) was to elevate digital documents to legally binding status. Before that time a word processor was a tool for preparing paper documents.
The u-era (u as in ubiquitous) introduces a new breed of communicating participants: objects. The e-era was concerned with digital people-to-people communication. The u-era adds people-to-object and object-to-object channels. The number of communicating devices keeps growing at an explosive rate. The “device big bang” is here. Devices will outnumber people on the Internet, creating the Internet of things.
Let me suggest that a new infrastructure is needed. Why would devices need more infrastructure than just the Internet? Let’s go through an example.
July 16th, 2009
The West generally knows little about the ubiquitous wave that has swept into Korean and Japanese information and telecom technology with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. In some measure Westerners are hampered by a perplexing language issue.
Korea and Japan both attest to having passed from the e-era to the u-era. Is this just buzz?
January 5th, 2009
Cloud computing is the wave of the future, isn’t it? These days many voices would make you believe that only total blockheads could have doubts about it. The Cloud is touted as the ultimate outsourcing solution.
As often is the case: The difference between theory and practice is greater in practice than in theory. In my experience the weakest link is the ISP. Here is a mini case study.
November 5th, 2008
With South Korea’s new president Lee Myung-bak came a major reshuffling of the government. For those who, like me, try to follow up on Korean information technology there will certainly be a period of confusion. The reorganization is radical.
October 13th, 2008
A medieval knight wearing a clunky metal armor could hardly move if left on his own. He needed a horse to carry him around. In our age the CPU cycles of our computers are increasingly used for protection. Continue »