The 2020 SEOUL DESIGN INTERNATONAL FORUM has obtained written consent from the speaker to publish the summarized and edited content

SPEAKER: Kim Woo Young (Chief Researcher, Construction & Economy Research Institute of Korea)

Due to the contagiousness of the COVID-19 virus, the number of infected patients is increasing, and the resulting decline in social interactions is leading to a global economic crisis. Social distancing means that face-to-face contact with others is considered dangerous, and recommends staying at home as much as possible and refraining from outside activities such as going to work, eating out and shopping. The crisis of COVID-19, which is ongoing, is urging the transition to a non-face-to-face culture and society.

Housing in the non-face-to-face society needs to be redefined with a new concept and function. Nowadays, when we think that a smart home can offer the possibility of an alternative, we understand it as a house that can provide convenience in our lives based on cutting-edge information and communication technology. However, this definition of a smart home is rather clichéd and indistinct, and I don't think it accurately describes the essence of a smart home. In the 1990s, there was already an intelligent home, and in the 2000s, the term ubiquitous home was used. In the 2010s, the smart home appeared, and they are all defined and used with almost the same concept. If the “homes” mentioned above have passed without becoming reality, can a smart home, which is being developed with the same concept, be an alternative in this era?

The smart home systems in today's homes are operated and controlled by various smart devices provided for the convenience of residents. This system adjusts the proper temperature and humidity, manages fine dust, cleans, and saves energy. These 'convenience services' directly provided by smart home devices are basic specifications, but in a non-face-to-face society, various video conferencing systems for telecommuting, delivery services for meals, shopping and delivery services to purchase necessary items, and home 'Life services', which offer goods and services provided by external companies or institutions, such as training, health care, hobbies, and entertainment, will be the mainstay.

Smart homes in non-face-to-face society are focusing on platform businesses that build social, economic, and cultural relationships for the purpose of providing living services for direct convenience rather than the realization of cutting-edge information and communication technology. It is time for a new idea and design for the technology-intensive smart home of the past.

 [Activities in houses that have changed due to COVID19]

The residential environment in which we live is accompanied by problems such as sound, light, air, temperature, humidity, dust, especially fine dust, in relation to the family, neighbors, and the environment in the house. In addition, a house has a number of things for property, security, maintenance, and various activities such as health, entertainment, education, communication, and food. The biggest change since the outbreak of the coronavirus is the change in living patterns due to telecommuting. As the time spent at home increases, we have been able to engage in a variety of different activities, such as frequent food delivery, exercise at home, an increase in the amount of online shopping, and non-face-to-face education and video viewing. The demand for media and content has increased rapidly.

[Smart Home Related Technologies and Devices]
We call a smart home a form in which the space of a house and various information and communication technologies are combined. This is referred to as the same concept as home automation, and there are many aspects related to security management, such as automatically adjusting light, temperature and humidity, and various indoor environment values. However, after Corona, the concept of 'smart home' started to have different meanings as various additional functions were given to residential spaces.

The smart home basically functions through sensor technology. It examines the situation through various sensors to see how the environment is changing at home, recognizes people living in the house, processes the information received through the sensors, and processes the smart devices in the house, and so a control process that coordinates all the smart devices in the house is necessary so that they can work together. Under the existing process, the majority of users directly issue commands and it processes them. In the past, if the power of the light was operated with a switch, now it is automatically activated by sensor detection to turn on the light. A number of functions for which action is taken are being applied. Artificial intelligence technology has also evolved to understand the situation based on data and then take appropriate actions according to the situation.
It requires a process in which information generated by a sensor or a command given by a control process is transmitted. It is the network that does this. The network has technologies for short-distance communication such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and RFID, and long-distance mobile communication such as WCDMA and LTE, and each information communication technology is used appropriately depending on the situation. Recently, a number of smart home devices to which these technologies are applied have been released, and representative examples of artificial intelligence speakers or robot vacuum cleaners that have been used for a long time are examples. Recently, devices with various functions, such as devices that automatically adjust temperature and humidity, and smart refrigerators that immediately inform the status of food ingredients in the refrigerator, have been released.

[Interface of Smart Home]
A smart home requires an interface between the house (home) and a person. It acts as a response to what a person is saying or wants, taking appropriate action, and so on. For example, in terms of voice, artificial intelligence speakers generally recognize human speech, or there is an interface that recognizes visually and processes it after confirming it with an image. These are called input functions, and conversely, output functions refer to a speaker delivering content to a person or displaying an image output through a monitor or a mobile device.
What must be basically provided for such an interface is a technical platform that can distribute one common form of information in order for various devices to operate. These days, companies that make and supply smart equipment are engaged in various activities to preempt the standard of the platform. A variety of smart devices are supplied, and in order to exchange information between devices, communication must be performed according to standardized standards, so a platform is important as a basis for communication.
We are living in a world where information from the actual physical space is transmitted to cyberspace through technological devices and synchronized, and the space in which we live is recognized in the computer. When a certain command is given, smart devices operate and a change in the physical environment occurs, which is called a kind of digital twin. Smart homes are basically based on these digital twins.

In our country, there have already been studies or attempts at intelligent homes since the 1990s. Although the smart home does not have a short history, I think that the reason why it has not been universalized is that factors such as livability and adaptability of residents were not properly considered when developing an intelligent home. If appropriate attempts were made in consideration of these factors, it is assumed that various smart devices could be universally used in our current lives. In addition, there are technical limitations that limit the current smart home adoption, but it is thought that there will also be a problem of increasing the cost of building a house due to various cutting-edge devices.

[The future of smart home that can be found in smartphones]
The term smart home is now used instead of the term intelligent home. The reason the term 'smart' is used for smart cities, cutting-edge products, equipment, and technologies is thought to have started with the iPhone, which can be said to be the beginning of smartphones. When we look at the reasons for the success of the iPhone and what is the key to its success, the part that can be said to be different from existing mobile phones is the existence of the App Store. The sales of the App Store is about $5 billion, or about KRW 56 trillion, and this is possible because developers provide various apps through the App Store to provide users with a variety of options. As the App Store itself became a platform, an ecosystem of app developers was formed, which was a space in which the strongest thrived. If the quality is low, it is quickly overlooked, so an environment has been created where there is no choice but to make an effort to improve the quality, and the competition is endless. The accumulation of these factors led to the success of the iPhone, a phenomenon in which the term ‘smart’ of a smartphone was equated with success, and terms such as smart home and smart city were born.

[Expansion of Value Chain]
The business pipline, as we know, is a process of designing a process to make a product, receiving various materials or equipment, manufacturing the product, and selling it. Customers take the final value by purchasing a product, and there is a tendency to create a business that can achieve this by considering the ultimate purpose of purchasing a specific product by customers who are recent purchasers. For example, when a consumer's purpose of purchasing sneakers is identified as the purpose of pursuing health or happiness by wearing sneakers, it is a concept to include it in the business so that the related experience or ultimate purpose can be achieved in the same way.
This trend can be called a kind of value chain expansion. The platform business can be understood as an example of value chain expansion, as the iPhone mentioned earlier does not stop at actually making and selling a product, but also providing various apps necessary to use the product and creating a new business through it.

A smartphone is a product that integrates various technologies that have been applied to mobile phones in the past, but it has not been smart enough by itself. When the iPhone creates an app store, forms an ecosystem, and provides high-quality apps and users can use it as a mobile phone that suits their tastes, the product value of the iPhone has been activated and it can be said that it has become smart. We can apply these factors to the house.
There is concern that if the limitations of the existing intelligent home are not overcome in making a new interpretation of the smart home, it will follow a similar path to the intelligent home.
A different approach is needed to overcome these challenges. Starting from the concept of 'smart', in general, when construction companies supply houses, they move in there. If you think of this in the same context as purchasing a smartphone, it could allow us to think about whether it would be possible to bring home a variety of activities which were previously done outside the home, such as health issues, shopping or education. Through these things, it will be possible to create a new value chain.

The iPhone is supplied by Apple, and customers purchase and use the iPhone. This means that there will be as many customers as the number of iPhones sold. When app developers supply their developed apps to the App Store, customers purchase the app, creating a transactional relationship. At this time, Apple generates revenue from the platform business.
If you think of this in terms of housing, when you think of a smartphone as a platform, it is assumed that a construction company has built a platform, and various supply chains can be utilized for customers who use it, that is, residents. For example, there are online shopping malls like 11st Street, Coupang, and Gmarket today, but a shopping network can be operated in a similar form, and networks such as online education, health, medical care, online health care, home training , health channels and diet.
If construction companies create their own platforms, various construction companies will create similar platforms, which will cause complexity and problems. Therefore, construction companies can think of ways to manage customer networks and new platform operators appear and operate. Currently, it is only a virtual concept, but a platform business based on a smart home is seen as a sufficiently feasible form. I think that the smart home will become more active and common, and in a non-face-to-face society, the smart home can create an environment that can handle the above-mentioned things as a new culture.

 [Convenience services and living services in the smart home]
Smart refrigerators that are being released today provide users with a variety of information on food material purchases by identifying changes in stored food materials. In addition, AI speakers play music or provide information, security-related equipment such as CCTV is responsible for safety, and various types of equipment such as smart equipment related to door opening and closing, devices that control temperature and humidity or lighting, and smart vacuum cleaners. Smart home appliances are being used all over the house. In the form of direct service provision, they provide convenience services to users on their own regardless of external providers. Since the aforementioned shopping, medical service, and non-face-to-face education cannot be solved with a device alone, it is necessary to connect to the outside and receive services or products from suppliers. This should be understood as a concept of living service that is distinct from convenience services.
We generally think of a smart home as 'the integration of information and communication technology and systems into the home'. However, this is only the most basic premise. In order for the smart home to have a clear presence and continue to spread, the environment in which the smart home can operate like a smartphone, that is, the establishment of a platform and business model, must be considered, and a lot of thought and research and development must be carried out for continuous supply.

As social distancing continues due to the coronavirus, a new phase is taking place by utilizing the functions that smart homes have for non-face-to-face activities. Smart home residents will enjoy non-face-to-face shopping in accordance with the lifestyle of the new normal. Various new areas are being built at the industrial level, areas including the construction industry, information and communication industry, home appliance industry, digital twin technology, artificial intelligence, big data, platform business. In line with this, if digital twin, the basic technology of the 4th industrial revolution era, and smart home construction are combined, smart home will be a good way to respond wisely to the urban crisis caused by the coronavirus and a new paradigm.

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