Now it’s time to take a look at a Korean business bringing about changes in the global economy with some new ideas.
Today, we’re going to introduce IoTPLEX, a provider of a real-time location control solution. Let’s hear from company CEO Park Moon-su (박문수).
IoTPLEX is a location control service provider that was established in 2015. Its main business is to develop a wireless communication-based device to collect location information and build a location control platform to manage the information. It has been working on the location control system through GPS over the last six years, spurring research and development of relevant hardware, software, and firmware.
Park was always interested in the field of information and communications. Previously, he was in charge of supporting wireless communication technology at an IT company. He found that GPS solutions failed to meet market demand and requirements, and he made up his mind to develop a high-performance GPS tracking unit himself. The decision led to the creation of IoTPLEX, a provider of GPS location tracking devices based on the Internet of Things or IoT.
These days, location services are offered by smartphones. But what makes the company’s device more special?
We call a location tracking device a GPS tracker. The GPS function on the smartphone and location tracking apps determine the location of your phone, to be more exact. So, if you move without your phone, your location cannot be identified. Also, mobile phones can only provide the current location information.
On the other hand, a logistics company that uses our GPS tracker can check real-time travel routes of their vehicles and track multiple targets. It can also manage vehicle information such as the driving distance and the vehicles’ parking and stopping through the computer or mobile devices in real-time. Using the collected information, the company may adjust vehicle operation schedules and routes to cut fuel costs. Our product is widely used by logistics companies, manufacturers and construction firms that need transport vehicles. An association of persons with disabilities and local governments also buy our product to ensure the safety of the socially weak, including children and disabled people.
The company’s signature product is called “Fourguard.” The tiny GPS tracker is easy to carry around and it is the first such device to use the LTE communication network in Korea. Previously, the market was dominated by 3G communication-based products, which would check the location once a minute. But “Fourguard” checks the location every two seconds, so it can identify the location, almost in real-time, for more precise location control.
A company that operates vehicles can figure out where they are and whether they are running, stop for a moment or remain parked through their travel routes that are checked every two seconds. The company can therefore manage vehicle operation effectively and also prevent the drivers from using them for personal use. In doing so, the company can save fuel costs. Operators of vehicles for business purposes have to fill out the vehicle log for tax cuts. “Fourguard” allows them to easily download the driving records for more efficient vehicle management. Thanks to these various advantages, “Fourguard” is used in various areas.
Our customers include a famous cosmetics company, which operates more than 100 vehicles. It used to spend nearly 30 million won a month on fuels alone. But after using our product, it could save 30 percent of the cost, or 9 million won a month and over 100 million won a year. Of course, the company is quite satisfied with our product.
Our headquarters are based in Busan, and we have a number of customers in the marine leisure sports area. Using our solution, an organizer of an annual paddling event has been able to control a large crowd effectively. The association of persons with disabilities has also introduced the “Fourguard” system to detect the location of those with disabilities and manage their safety. The association has been very pleased with the system.
IoTPLEX continues to upgrade “Fourguard,” making it smaller and more accurate. It comes as little surprise that it is being used in a wider range of areas. The GPS location tracking system was mostly used for vehicles, but it is now used on land, air and sea to protect human life and prevent theft.
It is also used to keep preschool children and older people with dementia from going missing. Customers are looking for the product for various other purposes that even the company didn’t really expect, including cash handling bags for banks, expensive bicycles, buoys used for current flow measurements in the river and beehives of a beekeeping association.
Having confirmed diverse market requirements and the possibility of market expansion, IoTPLEX accelerated its R&D efforts further. It set up its own research institute in 2016 to provide solutions tailored to customer demand. On the back of its constant efforts and dedication, the company has seen considerable growth year after year.
The company has recorded an annual sales growth rate of over 40 percent since its establishment in 2015. It has built a business network with public institutions and many firms. Foreign countries, especially those in Southeast Asia, show great interest in our product. The company has signed a letter of intent with firms in Thailand and Vietnam to lay the groundwork for its export drive. It has also formed a partnership with a major rental firm in Korea to jointly provide the location control service. The company has now entered the future service market of the logistics industry, and it is expected to post the largest sales since its foundation.
IoTPLEX’s next goal is to expand the location-based service from outdoors to indoors. At present, GPS signals do not penetrate thick, solid materials such as concrete and metal, so it is difficult to use the GPS location control service inside buildings. IoTPLEX is developing ways to guarantee industrial safety and efficient personnel operation by using Near Field Communication to identify the location of workers in enclosed areas such as tunnels.
The company’s endless innovation enabled the late starter to become an industry leader and receive prestigious awards as well.
Thankfully, our technology has been highly recognized. We’ve won the Minister of Science and ICT award, the Minister of SMEs and Startups award and the Minister of Employment and Labor award. The credit should go to our excellent technical personnel. I believe the company has successfully entered the vehicle location control service market. We’re planning to advance into the location control market for special-purpose vehicles such as delivery bikes and vehicles transporting fresh products. We’ll also make the location control service work both outdoors and indoors within the next two years to grow into a leading provider of the service.
IoTPLEX has developed an innovative location-based service that can be applied in real life. Based on GPS technology, the company constantly blends new technologies to create added value. With more and more countries paying attention to this company, it will surely achieve some noteworthy results in the global market.