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’ll introduce a company that is a recognized developer of enterprise-class unstructured data management and digital marketing software solutions, I-ON Communications. Let’s hear from the CEO of the company, Oh Jae-cheol (오재철).
Established in 1999, we specialize in software development for digital solutions in three main areas; enterprises, energy ICT and sports tech. We are also an export-driven company, exporting services worth around 40 billion won or 37 million dollars worth of software solutions to the world for the last 20 years. We are currently doing business in eight different countries around the world including the US, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Sweden and Korea. We have a pretty solid international network and because we have many global clients, we actively engage in international cooperation. We also collaborate with around 40 companies, mostly IT-related companies, domestically. We are working hard to advance into new markets.
I-ON Communication’s CEO Oh Jae-cheol has an interesting background. He is a bestselling author in IT and also hosted a computer-related TV program. Being an author, TV host and CEO may not seem related in any way, but Oh has consistently worked in the IT field since he was in his 20s. In 1999, he founded I-ON Communications and nurtured it to become Korea’s top Content Management System (CMS) expert, which has established the largest number of web content management systems in Korea.
We call audio or video files, documents on Word or PowerPoint unstructured data. We have the software technology that allows users to easily find the data they need from a large amount of data ranging from 300 to 500 million units. One of our clients is KBS. Just imagine how much data KBS dramas can amount to, which goes back for decades. If you search for a particular drama on the KBS website, you can find it easily because the data is well organized. The software tech that organizes such large amounts of data is called unstructured data management technology. The wording is a bit difficult so, we usually call unstructured data “content,” and if we show the organized data on the web, it’s called web content. If it's shown as a video, it’s called video content. We sell this content management system software internationally. We have about 1,600 clients all over the world, with the most in Japan followed by Korea.
A corporation’s digital content can be organized through I-ON Communication’s CMS. Such content can be used for marketing and advertising by being transferred to various mediums using distribution solutions. Members of the organization can also efficiently search for the content they need, which increases work productivity.
Recently, I-ON Communication expanded its business to include various industries like energy and sports. The reason why this company, which has focused on supplying CMS for the past 20 years, is expanding its business portfolio to diverse sectors is to advance into the global market. The energy and sports sectors are two areas where international standards apply.
We’ve been creating software for companies, but the culture in each country was very different. Whenever we had a new client, we had to make many changes. International clients also had different standards as well as corporate cultures, so there were many changes we needed to make for each new project. That is why we started to think about creating software that does not require repairs every time. That’s when we thought about energy. The same international standards apply to the energy sector because it stems from the laws of nature. We began creating and exporting software for energy technology in 2007. In the same way, once a sport becomes an Olympic event, the same rules apply internationally and even the terminology is the same. That is why we are making sports-related software. The energy technology software is mostly about saving energy while the sports software is on improving athletes’ ability and recording achievement.
Even amid COVID-19, I-ON Communications made another leap forward. As demand grows for online documents due to the increase of telecommuting and video conferencing, I-ON Communications provides contactless e-contract services which has gained a favorable response from the market and increased revenue for the company. In addition, related technology was used to provide online questionnaire services at international golf tournaments. In recognition of its contribution to elevating Korea’s national image and status of industrial development, I-ON Communications received the Minister of Science and ICT award at last year’s “Software Industrial Development” Awards. The reason why I-ON Communications was able to develop software that can be used at the right time and place in a timely manner is because of its leading technology.
We currently possess 69 domestic patents and 12 international patents. Our main technology is unstructured data and we possess the technology to manage very large amounts of data. For example, a client asked us to create a system that can process 400,000 units of data per second and we are the only domestic company that can do that. Japan’s Hitachi Group uses our products as well as Sony, JR (Japan Railways Group) and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company). These companies all use our software to process large amounts of data. KEPCO (Korea Electric Power Company) is also our client, as well as KBS and other major broadcasters in Korea. The top four news outlets as well as the top 10 conglomerates in Korea all use our services.
When discussing I-ON Communications, we cannot leave out the company’s employee benefits. A few years ago, the company’s CEO Oh Jae-cheol was featured on KBS’ “Our Crazy CEO” for his unique management philosophy that caters to employee happiness and well-being. For example, the company has a rule that cuts down the vice-president’s salary when an employee works overtime.
My life’s goal is to make I-ON Communications one of the top 100 global software service providers. There is something I really want to do when I achieve that goal. I want to let our employees work only nine months in a year. If our employees work only nine months out of the year and receive higher salaries than large companies, I think a lot of talented people will want to work here and it’ll become a fun working environment. I want three people to be happy -- first, the employee; second the client; and third, the CEO. I think that makes a good company. If I want my clients to be happy, they have to be satisfied with our products and services. If I want my employees to be happy, they have to receive good pay and benefits. If I want to be happy, these things need to all come together and I need to earn a lot of money. That is why I think three people need to be happy to make a happy and good company.
The IT landscape is a jungle where thousands of companies are born and die each day. In that jungle I-ON Communications has maintained the lead domestically for the past 20 years. As it continues moving forward without becoming complacent, we are certain it will grow into one of the top 10 global software companies in the near future.