[INTERVIEW] Expert predicts rapid transition to non-contact in post-COVID-19 society

By Lim Chang-won Posted : September 9, 2020, 09:31 Updated : September 9, 2020, 09:31

Kim Eun-ju, director of the cloud promotion center at the National Information Society Agency [Courtesy of the National Information Society Agency (NIA)]

SEOUL -- Non-face-to-face services will become a new normal in a post-pandemic society, implemented in all areas from education and culture to politics, an expert in public cloud said, calling for open cooperation throughout society to actively embrace innovation and keep pace with the rapid transition to an era of non-contact

"In order for our country to successfully adapt to the era of non-contact, we must move away from the passive position of embracing innovation through the gradual improvement of the system," said Kim Eun-ju, director of the cloud promotion center at the National Information Society Agency (NIA), a state agency that provides methodologies and solution to national agencies, local autonomies and public enterprises.

"We need to be able to go a step further and immediately create an optimal system to lead innovation," Kim said in an interview with Aju Business Daily. She is an invited speaker at the Good Growth Global Forum (GGGF) in Seoul on September 9~10.

"The recent spread of COVID-19 has caused disconnection and damage in each area that existed only offline. In order to make up for this disconnection, of course, investment in non-contact services will be made quickly," Kim said, adding that non-contact services would be implemented in all areas, including education, welfare, culture, administration and politics.

"There are already a number of successful services, and the transition to a non-contact economy is progressing rapidly in a COVID-19 situation," she said, presenting cloud and digital on-demand as key words.

Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage and computing power, without direct active management by the user. The term is generally used to describe data centers available to many users over the Internet. Digital on-demand means that products and services are implemented in a digital environment.

Kim said that cloud is essential to realize digital on-demand. "The more online contacts you have, not offline, the more data, transactions, and processes you have, and the more you have to support a variety of devices, so you have no choice but to use cloud. Already, digital on-demand has a cloud-based structure that naturally works."

With the development of digital on-demand and cloud, the experience of online and offline services will be differentiated, Kim said. For example, while offline education requires teachers to give lectures to the average level of students, online education can provide customized education through the analysis of individual students.

Kim said that if such differentiated online experience is realized in various fields, the public's desire to buy and own goods and services will be greatly reduced. In other words, she said that if it is easy and convenient to use whenever necessary, more and more people think that they don't have to spend a lot of money to own it.

"Online space can create more value than just offline imitation. This will make it easy for most people to use goods and services at all times, diluting the concept of ownership," Kim said.

Purchase and ownership were suitable for the wealthy, who could spend a lot of money, but not a useful way for ordinary people with limited resources, she said. "The future society can enrich the quality of life as ordinary people use abundant quality resources at a reasonable price whenever they want."

Kim predicted considerable friction until changes are completed because digital on-demand requires tremendous flexibility. "Because it's very difficult for a company or institution to work hard to keep pace with these changes, open cooperation and co-coordination are needed throughout society," the expert said.

In particular, existing regulations, which are offline-oriented, could also hamper the transition to a future society, Kim said. She thinks failure to create a new social system suitable for change could also be a potential regulation.

(This interview was conducted by Aju Business Daily reporter Yoon Dong.)

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