On Nov. 6, South Korean startup accelerator Sparklabs signed an agreement with the New Songdo International City Development (NSICD) to create a new Internet of Things (IoT) accelerator in the Songdo International Business District (SIBD). Sparklabs plans to launch the accelerator by early 2015.
IoT, also referred to as the Internet of Everything, refers to a network of interconnections among devices, such as security devices, pipelines, motions sensors and more, through the Internet. The collection of data from various sources enables efficient management of resources.
IoT can be used to automatically adjust room temperatures by combining information gathered from weather forecasts, usual home activity and temperature sensors. In city management, IoT can be used to gather traffic patterns, energy usage and public transportation systems to create management systems that efficiently address real-world movements of people.
Sparklabs currently operates an incubating system that provides mentorship services and investment opportunities for fledgling startups. The new IoT program would be an extension of Sparklabs’ accelerator program in that it will provide support for product development and help secure foreign and domestic investors. Sparklabs plans to open a special base in Songdo that would specialize in IoT startups, choosing up to 8 startups for the three-month incubation program. The IoT program will be open to all startups around the world.
Lee Hanjoo, co-founder of Sparklabs, stated that the Sparklabs IoT accelerator will “act as a testbed for Internet of Things startups. Songdo and its more than 35,000 residents will serve as the testing ground for new technologies.”
SIBD, also known as Songdo New City, is what many describe as a “smart city,” built from scratch. The 1500-acre city was designed to be one of the world’s most wired and technologically advanced cities. The company in charge of building the city, Gale International, along with partners including LG CNS and CISCO, helped create a city that is eco-friendly, technologically advanced, and extremely well-connected. Located close to Incheon International Airport, the city boasts more than 14 square feet worth of LEED certified buildings overlaid with fiber optic technology for easy transmission of data. This makes Songdo the optimal location for an IoT accelerator, because the city’s design and connectivity makes it easy to test out new IoT technology.
By 2020, South Korea’s IoT market is projected to grow to 3 trillion KRW (approx. 2.7 billion USD), and SIBD is expected to lead this growth, as well as the IoT expansion worldwide.