Less than a minute is how long it takes 25-year-old med school student Oh Seung-han to search for a nearby fried chicken joint when he and his buddies go out for beers.
“These days there are smartphone apps for practically anything that you might need,” said Oh.
Mobile applications add vigor to South Korea’s nightlife as app developers zero in on providing useful and convenient services after dark ― such as the one Oh used to find a list of businesses that are open 24 hours.
“Twenty-first-century South Korea is, needless to say, huge on smartphones and information technology. And its cities, particularly Seoul, are among the few places in the world that truly never sleep. Put the two things together and you’ve got yourself a decent market in the mobile app industry,” said one local app developer.
App developers have introduced a wide range of nightlife apps that are useful in different ways.
For starters, there’s the “Night Selfie,” an app that grants higher-quality selfies at night so that users do not have to bother finding better lighting.
Then there are handy apps like the “Late-Night Owl Bus,” which is the official app for Seoul’s late-night bus system, consisting of nine bus routes in service between midnight and 5 a.m. when all other public transportation has stopped.
The app provides route and station information as well as real-time tracking of bus locations.
But the most interesting, and perhaps the most beneficial app during nighttime, is the “Smart Control System.”
Designed primarily for safety, the app emits signals to a local control center when switched on, which then utilizes the global positioning system embedded in smartphones to trace the user via the nearest closed-circuit televisions. This ultimately provides the user with peace of mind while returning home late at night.
By Kim Joo-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)