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Friday, January 12, 2024

Seoul Smart Life Week - What happens in Vegas stays in Seoul?

So taking more space at CES was not enough: Seoul wants to be a match with the World's leading consumer electronics show and launch 'Seoul Smart Life Week' later this year (Oct 7-9 in COEX).

Mayor OH Se-hoon announced the event at the 640 sqm Seoul Pavilion in Tech West Eureka Park, where 81 companies exhibited their solutions and gizmos (very strong biotech and A.I. verticals behind  Seoul Biohub and Seoul AI Hub). 18 of them claimed a CES Award, but the prize OH and Seoul Business Agency are after means even bigger bucks.

Well the first edition 'only' aims at 100 cities and 200,000 visitors, but it takes time to install a big show in a crowded calendar, and COEX can't host a Barnum the size of CES.

KINTEX would gladly oblige, but Korea's biggest exhibition venue is in Ilsan, Goyang, Gyeonggi-do, with limited hospitality capacity nearby. Seoul wants to become a global or at least an Asian leader, to put for good Tokyo, Hong Kong (and its half-yearly Electronics Fair), or Singapore (COMEX- ITSHOW-The Tech Show-Consumer Electronics Exhibition) behind. 

Seoul plans to change venues after the Jamsil Sports Complex is fully transformed into the Jamsil Sports MICE Complex, with a business hub connecting the COEX, SETEC, Hyundai Motors Global Business Center, Dominique Perrault's new Yeongdong-daero, and of course the Han River in this very vegassy vision mentioned in my recent focus (see 'Seoul waterways and urbanism - the full story'):

Seoul already hosts many tech-related events, but no top-of-mind brand emerges. At least, if it may not seem very original, 'smart life' sounds definitely more human-oriented than the old-tech-y 'electronics' or 'IT'. Unlike CES with the CTA, this new SSLW will not be led by an industry but by a local authority, with city pavilions rather than national spaces. To compete with Vegas, Seoul will not only need new hardware and software, but also the power hitters Korea Inc. sends to the national pavilion. And ultimately, Samsung LG, and Co. will have to be convinced to release buzzworthy novelties 3 months earlier than usual.

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