GPS taxi for Korean women

Hae-in – who is one of the members of the Lift team here in Korea – told me about “Navi Call Taxi”, a pretty cool service that women can use to be driven home safely. The concept is quite simple, even if I am afraid that we won’t see it anytime soon in Europe…

  1. Call a taxi and give your location AND destination
  2. The car picks you up, people you choose (parents/friends) receive a SMS with the name and number of the taxi you are in
  3. The car is tracked via GPS in real time
  4. If the car deviates from the normal trajectory (remember your destination is known and entered in GPS) an alarm is triggered.

The service was created after an incident where two girls got murdered by a taxi driver in this normally super safe country.

The combination of geo-localization and telecommunication technologies with our daily life will produce millions of opportunities for new and useful services like this one. More information about this future in Lift Asia’s Networked city session on Friday morning with Jeffrey Huang, Adam Greenfield and Yang Soo-In.

And during that time the North is creative too

This is Korean innovation day on this blog, and I had to also mention the north of course! Because these guys can be creative too:

South Korean intelligence authorities have reportedly learned that North Korea has developed a device capable of jamming the GPS signals used by state-of-the-art guided missiles and precision bombs, and has been attempting to export the device to Middle East countries including Iran and Syria.

A South Korean government source on Wednesday said they are keeping a close eye on the communist country as they understand that North Korea has developed a GPS jammer by copying a Russian device, and has been looking to export it to the Middle East.

The source added that North Korea has been promoting the GPS jammer to several Middle Eastern countries by offering a better price than the Russian device.

When the Iraq War began in 2003, the Iraqi Army caused a stir by using a Russian-made GPS jamming system to disrupt the U.S. military’s guided weapons systems.


Innovation, counter innovation. The story goes on and on…

VoIP number portability

Today number portability was announced by the Korean government. This move – sure to take another century in the west because it basically puts an end to the domination of historic operators – consists in allowing people to use Voice over IP (VoIP) at home with a legit phone number (instead of having to turn your computer, log into a service like Skype, and wear one of those horrible headsets).

Korea Times: Cheaper Web Phones to Debut Next Month

Telephone users from next month can switch to a cheaper Internet-based service without changing their numbers.

The government is expected to permit voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) subscribers to get access to number portability.

The policy could ignite explosive growth in the Internet telephony market given growing consumer frugality amid high inflation and the sluggish economy.

The change could reshape the telecommunication industry, with KT, which controls more than 90 percent of the fixed-line phone market, expected to lose business to smaller carriers.

KT pressured the Korean Communications Commission to delay the adoption of number portability, which had been slated for this month, saying the data systems of VoIP operators provide insufficient direction information for 119 emergency calls.


Nice try on the “VoIP doesn’t provide direction information for emergency calls”. It is probably true, but this had to happen one day. How come you can skype for free and not call free? Something had to give. The interface was the bottleneck and this is now over, VoIP will be super easy to use from now.

PS: and I hope you now trust me when I say that Korea is a laboratory of western society, a place where many innovations and changes happen 5 years earlier.

Join me at Picnic

PICNIC, a partner conference of Lift, is one of the year’s most inspiring event held in Amsterdam. This unique event brings together and disseminates the ideas and knowledge of the world’s best creators and innovators, and spotlights cutting-edge products and services at the intersection of media, technology, arts and entertainment. The event brings together entrepreneurs, investors, creators as well as scientists, and other industry leaders.

The main theme of PICNIC’08 is “Collaborative Creativity” in its many guises. PICNIC will look at new and connected forms of intelligence and creativity, from the fields of entertainment, science, the arts and business. Speakers include Clay Shirky, Jeff Jarvis, Charles Leadbeater, Stefano Marzano and, well, myself 😉

Readers of this blog will get a 10% discount on the PICNIC ’08 ticket by using code 271815 on

LIFT talks on

After some technical problems Sugata’s speech is back online. Watch is here!

I know I know, I already talked about it extensively on the LIFT blog. But pardon me while I restate my pride to see the talks of my conference go live on the website of the world’s biggest and most inspiring event. With hundreds of thousands of viewers, TED talks is another step in the right direction for the whole LIFT community, and a huge boost for the ideas and projects of the lucky speakers who got selected.

This is a special day for me and for the whole team, a day we feel like we are doing our job of promoting discussions about the social impact of technologies a little bit better than usual 😉

Hunger delaying noodles

When faced with a tough issue one always has two options: solve it, or put “lipstick on the pig” as one of my favorite American expression calls it. North Korea inventing “hunger delaying noodles” is one of the best ever example of, well, the not solve it solution…

N Korea ‘develops special noodle’

A bowl of noodles (file image)

North Korean scientists have developed a new kind of noodle that delays feelings of hunger, a Japan-based pro-Pyongyang newspaper has reported.

The noodles were made from corn and soybeans, the Choson Shinbo said.

They left people feeling fuller longer and represented a technological breakthrough, the newspaper said.


The irony of this is that these noodles will be a huge hit in the western world. Weight & watchers has probably already dispatched experts to Pyongyang to steal the formula. And patent it.

In game ads


Google continues to follow users attention by working on an in-game advertising engine that will extend the company’s reach to the non-web world. After radio and newspaper, the search giant continues to work towards being the one stop solution for any advertising need.

Online companies seem to move to the offline world when they get more mature, disturbing the established players in the process. The old guys, who usually have deep pockets, answer by going on a buying frenzy, grabbing any competitor they find. The advertising industry is a good example of that process, as the 2007 acquisitions list shows.

It will be interesting to see where the domination of Google will stabilize. Can competitors fight back or is it too late?

Mobile phone concept

This phone could send the iPhone back to the ranks of old, undesirable brick. Seen in Japan by the Csout team.




It is about time innovation starts again in this business. The iPhone is the first step of a revolution, by far not perfect. Good to see new idea again.