14 innovative Korean companies you need to know about [GMV]

GMV Awards

GMV Awards

Think Korea’s tech scene extends only as far as Samsung and LG? Think again. We’ve already told you about how instant messaging platform KakaoTalk managed to accumulate hundreds of millions of users and shown you some of the startups from that country trying to disrupt their way onto the world stage, but there’s plenty more innovation coming out of the East Asian country.

One attempt to highlight this is the GMV Innovation Awards, part of the Global Mobile Vision conference in Seoul. The awards were judged by a panel of international journalists (including this writer) across a variety of categories and all the companies below won either gold or silver in the awards.

1. 9Pixelz

Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a comic book nerd, but I really like this company and its product. Essentially it’s an app that brings an extra dimension to comic books, including sound and small levels of animation.

Unlike other straightforward comic book reader apps therefore, 9Pixelz’ product uses touchscreen capabilities for more than just flicking from page to page.

It hooks in readers by offering the first three editions in any series for free, before asking them to pay for the next using its virtual coin currency. If you wait a week you can get it for free a la Candy Crush, but if the comics it brings in are good enough, then it should be able to feed off people’s need for instant gratification

2. Unidocs

PDFs are necessary and an incredibly vital to our communication efforts, but they can also be a little bit boring. Unidocs is aiming to change that with a product that allows you to embed rich media within PDFs for presentation, education and memo purposes.

Unlike a lot of other PDF readers, it also allows you to make annotations on the fly and cut out scraps without losing any PDF functionality.

3. BitnPulse

BitnPulse’s Beepi is a low-energy Bluetooth beacon that has a variety of potential uses, including in the growing location-based retail space as well as in museums and galleries, where it can be used to provide context-aware information around any items on display.

4. Fit.Life

There are plenty of fitness measurement devices out there, and Fit.Life’s Fitmeter certainly doesn’t stick out on the looks front.

It does however have the fact that its technology is clinically-approved on its side, as well as the fact that it recommends other activities for you to take part in based on its measurements of your current activities.

5. Qode Interactive

We’ve already told you about Qode and its bonkers Internet of Things-based interactive drinking game.

The big benefit for Qode is that it’s entering the space early and will most likely benefit from its inevitable explosion.

6. Soso

Another area set more massive growth in the next few years is brain-computer interface technology. One of the companies trying to ride that wave is Soso with its low-cost Brainno device.

The device sits on your forehead and right now is capable of measuring two kinds of brain activity. As it stands, the product has been trialled for possible application among Alzheimer’s and ADHD sufferers.

7. BallReady

The idea behind BallReady — a telepresence device for pet owners — isn’t new, but it is one of the more complete options we’ve seen.

The device includes a bowl for food, a ball launcher, speakers so the pet can hear its owner’s voice and a camera so the owner can see the pet’s reactions.

8. Bridge Mobile

Another competitor in the Startup Battle Korea competition we told you about yesterday, Bridge provides a fresh approach to making VoIP calls on your smartphone.

Rather than having to launch as a separate app, Bridge allows you to make VoIP calls directly from your phone book. Think of it as a cross-platform version of FaceTime.

9. CallGate

CallGate’s offering is pretty interesting. The company’s built technology that allows call centres to deliver relevant digital content to a customer’s smartphone during a voice call.

10. Tenjoy

Tenjoy’s Smartboard is just the latest in a long line of companies that have tried to use tech to get people exercising. Its particular selling point is that it aims to get people to enjoy exercise by integrating physical activity into conventional games, tailor made activities and virtual experiences.

11. Korea Creadic Life

It looks like there’s plenty of life in the Point of Sale (PoS) space yet. Its Adpop device is really intriguing because it looks like it’s designed specifically with the mess of payment options we currently find ourselves faced with.

It can process NFC, RF and QR code payments and can also recognise mobile coupons.

It also has a seven-inch screen that can be used for digital signatures as well as adverts and videos.

12. Spacosa Corp

Founded in 2012, Spacosa Corp has a few mobile products on the market, but the service that’s won it attention at GMV is Famy, a family tracking app with group chat and messaging capabilities.

13. Bench Soft

Given the amount of time we spend charging our devices, it’s a little surprising that there haven’t been more companies trying to speed up the whole process. Emergency charging solutions sure, but not many trying to make sure you can charge your battery quickly.

Bench-Soft is one of the rare companies doing the latter. Its 2X Faster Android charging cable isn’t aimed so much at home use as it is for car and PC charging, which is inevitably much slower than at home.

The reason for that is connecting your phone to your PC or car USB sockets inevitably triggers its data transfer mode. What the 2X Faster cable does is give you a “charge only” option in those scenarios. It’s a simple, but innovative way of dealing with what can be a pretty frustrating problem.

14. Puzlook

Not having anywhere convenient to store all your smartphone camera attachments while still keeping them on you might sound like the ultimate first world problem, but when you combine the possibilities open to really good mobile photographers with the cost of these camera attachments, then it fairly obviously becomes a problem worth solving.

Puzlook’s solution is, again, pretty simple but really effective. It’s an iPhone case that allows you to rotate lenses in a puzzle like fashion so that you always have the lens you want on you.



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