An industry-academe partnership in South Korea aims to build a 5G-powered digital hospital that will develop specialized solutions using artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), and various media technologies.
Wireless telecoms operator SK Telecom and the Yonsei University Health System (YUHS) signed the memorandum of understanding on April 26, 2019.
Under the agreement, the two companies will work together to build the Yongin Severance Hospital, which is scheduled to open in February 2020.
According to its website, YUHS was founded in 1885 as the first modern medical institution in Korea. It employs approximately 7,000 employees, including over 2,000 physicians and 5,000 support personnel. The hospitals have around 3,700 beds and serve about 3 million outpatients and 1 million inpatients annually.
The 5G-powered digital hospital at Yongin will be equipped with SK Telecom’s AI speaker NUGU to enable patients with physical difficulties to easily control their beds, lighting, and TV with their voice.
“They can even use NUGU Call service to get medical assistance in case of emergencies,” SK Telecom said in a press statement.
The country’s first digital hospital is also expected to offer digital conveniences including an AR-based indoor navigation service for patients and visitors, a hologram solution for patients in isolation wards to virtually e-meet visitors, facial recognition and other access control system to strengthen hospital security, and quantum cryptography solutions to secure the network.
“SK Telecom’s partnership with Yonsei University Health System carries significant meaning as it represents a new level of collaboration between two different industries,” said Park Jung-ho, President and CEO of SK Telecom, in a news release.
“SK Telecom will work closely with the Yonsei University Health System to build the world’s best 5G-enabled hospital by utilizing cutting-edge ICT,” he added.
The announcement came weeks after the South Korean operator launched commercial 5G services nationwide. At a press conference at its headquarters in Seoul on April 4, 2019, it said it had built a total of 34,000 units of 5G base stations around the country.
It has rolled out its 5G network in data traffic-concentrated areas, including main areas of 85 cities nationwide (Seoul, six metropolitan cities, etc.), university districts, KTX, sports stadiums, expressways, subway lines (Seoul and Seoul Metropolitan Area) and beaches.
In the second half of 2019, SK Telecom will expand 5G network coverage to nationwide subways, national parks, and festival sites, the company said.