Prof. Soo-Mook Moon, SNU College of Engineering becomes the ‘guide to the Fourth Industrial Revolution’(The Korean Economic Daily, 20190113)

2019-01-28l Hit 496

Spanning from product development to commercialization… 1500 technical advice cases over five years

Abrupt increase in requests related to AI and robots at SNU Engineering Consulting Center
One-stop cooperation between industry and academy’ where matches with experts are arranged after diagnosis of technological concern…
Partners with Korea Credit Guarantee Fund and KOTRA… 1:1 customized consulting
270 out of 320 engineering professors participating in technological development and consulting

At a technological consulting organized by SNU Engineering Consulting Center, SNU Engineering Consulting Center Ki Chang Choi(right), professor for industry collaboration, is listening to the concerns of company executives related to technological development. /Photo Credit: SNU College of Engineering

O2M, a company manufacturing masks, was the first in Korea to start the development of ‘oxygen generating masks’ in 2016. CEO Joon Geul Seo, who used to work at a secondary battery manufacturer, said, “I decided to create a startup after watching how workers with masks frequently pulled them off because they found trouble breathing.” As a result of technological development, O2M succeeded in developing a mask with ‘Eco-cube’ attached, which effectively removes carbon dioxide and generates oxygen.

The problem was how to acquire certification. As the company was the first to develop oxygen generating masks, its product performance could not be tested by certificate authorities. For two years, it went about imploring to administrative institutions and members of the National Assembly but had to return empty-handed. Eventually, CEO Seo, with his mask in hand, went to the SNU Engineering Consulting Center operated by SNU College of Engineering. The center introduced him to the lab of Professor Woojin Park of Department of Industrial Engineering. After six months of deliberation, in December, 2018, a simulation device that could test out the mask’s performance was developed. A project to apply a design suitable for Asian face shapes to masks is still in process.

CEO Seo said, “Thanks to the simulation device developed by SNU, we were able to receive sanction and certification in authorization agencies such as the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. During the first half of this year, our product will be officially launched and we will also expand to foreign markets.”

A sudden increase in consulting requests related to Fourth Industrial Revolution technology

According to SNU College of Engineering on January 13th, the number of company requests for technical advice at the SNU Engineering Consulting Center has reached over 1500. The SNU Engineering Consulting Center opened in March, 2014, with the aim to actively use the resources of SNU College of Engineering in academy-industry cooperation. Consulting requests have increased over 70%, starting from 214 in the first year to 280 cases last year. The accumulated project scale also exceeded ten billion won last year.

In particular, some note that as businesses related to topics in the Fourth Industrial Revolution such as AI, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, and robotics are emphasized, there has been a significant increase in businesses looking for collaboration in SNU College of Engineering. Topics related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution has increased from a meager 4 in 2014 to 135 in 2018. Last year, among the technical advice cases, approximately 30% were related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

VITCON, which makes module IoT devices, with help from the SNU Engineering Consulting Center, transformed into a company related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. VITCON CEO Mingyu Kim, who worked in manufacture for 10 years, decided to jump into a new field called Smart Factory. He wrapped up his previous business and began a startup in 2015. VITCON possessed excellent hardware manufacturing technology but faced difficulty in establishing a software operating system.

With industry-academy collaboration with SNU ECE Professor Soo-Mook Moon for nine months, the company was reborn as a company professional in smart factory systems. Dong Sin Han, a technical expert at the SNU Engineering Consulting Center, commented, “Various small and medium sized businesses are extremely uneasy about adapting to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. They come to the center hoping for even the tiniest clue.”

SNUECC possesses top experts in Korea

Small and medium sized companies come to SNU College of Engineering because of the one stop industry-academy cooperation system that systematically diagnoses their technical concerns and connects them to experts in the necessary fields. SNU Engineering Consulting Center provides solutions to technological problems in all levels including technology development, consulting, education, and establishing a business model. It holds hands with Korea Credit Guarantee Fund and KOTRA to provide one-on-one customized consulting every year.

The strength of this center comes from its pool of top experts in Korea. Out of a total of 320 engineering professors, 272 (about 85%) are participating as technology advisors. There are also cases in which clients are matched up with professors in non-engineering colleges or other universities. Animal Industry Data Korea, a startup in livestock technology, visited SNU College of Engineering to develop technology that analyzes bio data collected from pig blood.

CEO Nohkyum Kyeong of Animal Industry Data Korea said, “We secured technology to collect the data, but had difficulty biologically analyzing it. Through the center, we were introduced to Professor Hyuk Song of Konkuk University Department of Stem Cells and Regenerative Technology and could successfully establish a healthcare system based on data for farmhouses with livestock.”

The Chair Kyoung Phile Nam(Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor) of SNU Consulting Center said, “Even professors who were reluctant to participate in industry-academy cooperation with small and medium sized companies are now actively participating as they were able to experience ‘dynamic industry-academy cooperation’ compared to collaboration with major companies where they fulfill a limited role. In the future, we will act as the stepping stone for domestic companies that will expand globally by strengthening cooperation with major companies as well as small and medium sized businesses.”

Translated by: Jee Hyun Lee, English Editor of Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering,