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Korean firms compete for attention at Olympics

Industry giants flaunt new phones, new cars and 5G at Games
Feb 08,2018
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From left: View of Samsung Electronics’ exhibition hall at the Gangneung Olympic Park in Gangwon on Wednesday; Hyundai Motor’s pavilion at the PyeongChang Olympic Plaza in Gangwon includes design elements inspired by hydrogen; and KT staff demonstrate the Time Slice feature at its booth in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, on Wednesday. [EACH COMPANY]
Major local partners of the PyeongChang Winter Games are preparing to show off their latest technologies and products through exhibition halls at Olympic venues.

Samsung Electronics, an official worldwide partner, has a Samsung Olympic Showcase hall in nine locations most accessible to Olympic athletes and visitors, including the Olympic parks, athletes’ villages and Incheon International Airport.

The exhibition halls open on Friday, the first day of the Games. Spectators can try Samsung’s latest gadgets, like the Galaxy Note8 and Gear VR headset, and experience a variety of sports-related entertainment programs through those devices.

A virtual reality zone offers visitors the thrill of winter sports in the comfort of a heated building. Gadget fanatics are invited to try snowboarding and skeleton in a virtual track as seen through a Galaxy Note8.

A Samsung-created virtual reality program called “Mission to Space VR: A Moon for All Mankind” will mimic the experience of being on the moon in the Gangneung Olympic Park. An Unbox Samsung zone gives a brief history of Samsung’s mobile phones since its first in 1988, and a Smart Home zone imagines a future home where all household objects are connected to the internet.

Hyundai Motor, a local partner of the Games, is scheduled to open a pavilion at the PyeongChang Olympic Plaza on Friday.

The 1,225-square-meter (13,190-square-foot) pavilion designed by London-based architect Asif Khan contains motifs inspired by water and hydrogen, alluding to the company’s fuel-cell-powered vehicles like the Nexo. Visitors can learn about how a car generates hydrogen for power and then releases it in the form of water vapor.

Kia Motors, an affiliate of Hyundai, is also opening an exhibition hall called Beat Play at Gangneung Olympic Park on Friday.

The 960-square-meter hall will display the revamped K3 sedan, scheduled to roll out in February, as well as other new models. To give a digital twist to the displays, the automaker has created a virtual reality theater where visitors can experience the thrill of riding in a self-driving car.

KT, another local partner, is opening its 5G exhibition hall at Gangneung Olympic Park today. The pentagon-shaped pavilion offers various experiences like virtual ice hockey with a large video screen that displays the moves of a virtual puck. The information is transmitted over the company’s 5G network.

For those who cannot travel to Gangwon to see the Games, KT has another promotional booth at Gwanghwamun in central Seoul where visitors can watch broadcasts of the events and try the 5G technologies on display at the Olympics.

One feature called Time Slice allows viewers to see skating events through different angles thanks to multiple cameras placed on the ice. Samsung’s first 5G-enabled tablets will also be on display at the booth.

From 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. every day, KT will project live broadcasts of sporting events on the facade of its building in Gwanghwamun. Passersby who want to avoid the chill and watch the broadcast from a warm spot can find a seat on the second floor of the booth.


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]