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[Science Summit] LG makes big push on IoT

LG Group is gearing up for the Internet of Things era that connects all mobile devices and electronic machines through the Web.

Affiliates of the group have secured technological know-how in diverse fields of electronics, telecommunications and information technology services. They are seeking synergies to lead the still nascent but lucrative market.

LG Electronics is already a major force in the field as it owns 139 IoT-related patents as of 2014 -- the largest in Korea and the fourth globally, according to Korea Electronics Technology Institute.
Models pose with LG Electronics’ SmartThinQ sensors at the IFA electronics trade show in Berlin in September. LG Electronics
Models pose with LG Electronics’ SmartThinQ sensors at the IFA electronics trade show in Berlin in September. LG Electronics

The company’s key IoT platforms include LG webOS and LG Wellness.

LG webOS, an award-winning smart TV operating system, is currently used in LG’s smart TVs around the home and in hotels to provide high-speed content. The company plans to expand the OS to other IoT services.

The Wellness platform, based on the company’s bio-signal analysis technologies, collects data on a user’s sleep patterns, heart rate and movement, then uses the data collected to improve the user’s environment through lighting and air conditioning.

Another new potent product is the Smart ThinQ sensor that was unveiled at the IFA electronics trade show held in Berlin in September. They are designed to work paired with traditional home appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines and others to turn them into smart appliances.

The circular small sensor gets feedback such as temperature or vibration and transmits its reading to the Smart ThinQ app on the user’s smartphone or other smart devices.

Attached to a traditional washing machine, the sensor can sense when the machine completes a laundry cycle, sending a notification to the user’s smartphone. When attached to a refrigerator, it can send a notification when a food item is approaching its expiration date.

During the show, the company also showcased its first smart oven and air conditioner products that work on AllJoyn, an IoT platform used by AllSeen Alliance, the world’s largest IoT alliance of some 180 global home appliances makers. Under the platform, all products can be connected to each other regardless of the producers and brands.

LG Uplus, an LG-affiliated telecom operator, is also speeding up its home IoT business, pledging to become the global No. 1 in the field by 2020.

In July, the company launched a new home IoT platform, called “IoT@home.” It is a complete smart home solution that allows people to start monitoring, controlling and securing their homes, such as lightbulbs, locks and sensors, from anywhere

The company recently signed partnership deals with local venture capital companies to support venture firms and start-ups on the development of their own IoT technologies. The company also plans to offer other technological and business supports.

LG Innoteck, the group’s component unit, launched electronic self label or ESL early this year, a key component for the IoT adoption at retail stores, expanding its presence in the field.

An ESL system is used by retailers for displaying product pricing on shelves, fast replacing traditional paper displays.

Based on wireless communications and display technologies, the system offers consumers more information, while allowing retailers to better monitor products on shelves.

LG CNS, the system service affiliate, also launched an intelligent surveillance camera system equipped with a video analysis engine -- the first of its kind in Korea -- in March.

The new closed-circuit television system, dubbed “Smart Vision Sensor,” is capable of monitoring and recognizing a subject and its movement pattern to provide users with alarms when any stranger nears.

The system also stores data collected from cameras and analyzes them to provide database statistics.

By Lee Ji-yoon (