Navigate Through Lunar New Year

seollal

Many of us have witnessed Lunar New Year over the weekend. While many people think that celebrating Lunar New Year is a Chinese tradition, it is actually honored by many countries in Asia, including South Korea. This year in South Korea, the official holiday period for Korean New Year, Seollal, is from January 27th till 30th.

Seollal is time for families to gather and spend time together with the loved ones. However, this also means that swarms of people will be travelling all over the country to return to their home; hence, the traffic jam.

At the start and end of the holiday, some serious road congestion is expected. For those travelling on wheels will have to figure out which of the popular navigation applications to entrust their safe and quick driving routes.

T map, a navigation application managed by SK Telecom, is the current leader in this industry. It is used by 10 million users every month, and it provides routes based on 14 years worth of Big Data. On top of that, it takes advantage of its large number of users to analyze the  real-time congestion information. Daily road analysis counts up to 500M cases.

The runner ups  include Kakao Navi, KT Navi, Mappy and Naver Navigation.

With 6 years worth of data, Kakao Navi takes pride in using creative data. For example, Kakao  utilizes data from taxi drivers who are affiliated with Kakao Taxi, an application used commonly by Koreans to call for taxis. The company  takes pride in offering routes that take the least time even if it meant going off to an alley. It serves 3.6M users monthly.

KT Navi is managed by KT Corporation with 2.5M monthly users. It utilizes data from INavi, which facilitates 10 years worth of traffic data, to compete against companies with big data.

Mappy and Naver Navigations are relatively new to the market, introduced in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Mappy is managed by Hyundai MnSoft, which is a vehicle infotainment company. It serves 600 thousand users monthly and they utilize their own map.

Naver recently added a navigation functionality to its preexisting Naver Map application. Large number of users of the application at 5M gives high potential for the newly added navigation feature.

Currently  the number of mobile navigation users is expected to be 15M.

The next step that these companies are hoping to take is to add a voice recognition feature to interact with the users without having to physically touch the mobile phone while driving. Furthermore, personalized navigation based on one’s driving habits is yet to develop.

However, during holiday seasons like Seollal, congestion is expected in almost every major roads, and navigation application may not matter too much. The thoughts of seeing one’s family or relatives or old friends will hopefully subdue any unhealthy thoughts due to the traffic jam.

JunSu is a junior at Carnegie Mellon University majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He enjoys meeting people from all over the world and exploring the role of technology in people’s daily lives. You can reach him at: junsu.jang@techforkorea.com

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