Ucomm Technology Co., Ltd. (Juno Kim, CEO)
Product-development through the utilization of IT, which is evolving constantly, as well as accumulated big data, plays a crucial role as a future growth engine for companies. Against this backdrop, technology innovation through the utilization of IT and big data is taking place across all sectors. The field of leisure and sports-to which the greatest attention is paid by people of today-is no exception. Ucomm Technology, which is considered one of the nation’s top-tier sports IT companies, has developed a wristworn smart golf caddie by taking advantage of GPS technology and MEMS movement sensors, an invention that is drawing keen attention.
Achieving another breakthrough following the launch of
Founded in 2005, Ucomm Technology Co., Ltd. is a wireless semiconductor fabless company that develops RFID (radiofrequency identification) tags and SoC (System on Chip) products. Now, the company is set to become one of the nation’s top-tier sports IT companies. The biggest turning points in the shift have been the forward-looking insight of the company’s CEO Juno Kim and the launch of “Voice Caddie,” the world’s first voice GPS distance measurement device, in 2010. Kim commented, “In the nation’s golf industry dominated by imported brands to the extent that even golf apparel is licensed by foreign brands, the launch of Voice Caddie carries a great significance in that it has not only localized golf distance measurement devices, but also is he only export item in the industry.” He added, “Voice Caddie is a key player in bringing us to where we are today and is a good example of convergence of three elements-namely universal technology such as GPS technology, the ever-evolving IT and big data.”
It is no exaggeration to say that the golf industry in Korea is currently mainly concentrated in golf clubs and apparel. As CEO Kim mentioned earlier, imported goods mostly dominate the market and only a few local companies are engaged in cutthroat competition in the market inundated with imported goods. Under the circumstances, therefore, golf has not become a popular sport in Korea. Even though a greater number of people play golf compared to the past years, golf is not yet a popular sport in Korea compared to other countries such as the United States.
One of the reasons is the inadequate local golf industry, which has led to a loss of global competitiveness.
In this light, the launch of Voice Caddie by Ucomm Technology carries great significance. In order to actively respond to the short life cycle of the project, the company has developed “Voice Caddie Watch” T1 and T2 which are well received not only in the local market, but also in the global market. The latest product has evolved further from the original Voice Caddie as it takes the form of a wearable watch that not only measures distances, but also offers swing analysis through the installed MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) sensors.
The existing golf distance measurement devices are not only expensively priced at a few million won, but also bulky, while Voice Caddie is small-comparable to that of a smartphone and inexpensive, gaining huge popularity among golfers overseas.
Serving as a trendsetter in the golf GPS industry
The “Smart Golf GPS Watch” developed by Ucomm Technology has combined a GPS device for the golf field with a swing analyzer, demonstrating the company’s outstanding technological edge and product competitiveness.
In terms of hardware, Ucomm Technology has achieved miniaturization and weight reduction that does not burden the wrist, while securing maximum operating time by using minimum capacity battery through low power design. In terms of software, which is the most important element, the product has realized “shot recognition function,” which involves swing tempo and pattern analysis algorithm and an algorithm distinguishing practice shots from actual in-play shots, as well as “automatic scoring function” which involves various algorithms suiting different situations to boost scoring accuracy. Finally, the Smart Golf GPS Watch offers smartphone applications and web service by utilizing automatically-stored play-related data. It also provides the “review service” in which the user can view and analyze his or her own play, thereby providing various analysis information such as driving distance, average number of putts, and Green-in-Regulation (GIR), as well as swing information.
What is more surprising about the product is that it contains database information on 40,000 golf courses around the country and the world-including the United States and Japan-which enables golfers to add enjoyment of golf and manage individual scores by fully utilizing the aforementioned functions no matter what golf course they choose to play.
CEO Kim stated that the “wrist-wearable smart golf GPS watch not only offers GPS service, which is the basic function in the golf course, but also provides such services as swing pattern analysis and smart scoring, which will help golfers play better and enjoy various add-on services.” He added that Ucomm Technology is expected to become a trendsetter in the golf GPS market from display-type to voice-type and ultimately wrist-wearable watchtype, greatly contributing to creating a new market.
Kim also said, “It is not an exaggeration to say that our company has created the golf GPS market represented by Voice Caddie in Korea and thus our products account for 60% of the local market.
However, in the overseas market, there are numerous companies that are renowned for golf GPS devices such as Garmin, Tom Tom and Bushnell. Compared to those global competitors, which have dominated the market for 10-20 years, our company is a mere starter. However, unlike our competitors that are differentiated into GPS companies and golf swing analysis companies, we are a company that seeks to become a total golf IT company that provides total services ranging from GPS to analysis services.
Given this, we had an advantage of providing new benefi ts to consumers through synergy among technologies and services.” His strong confi dence has signifi cantly prompted the launch of “Voice Caddie T2,” a watch-type golf GPS device, this year using relevant technologies. As a result, the company recorded additional sales of KRW 3 billion by October 2015. It aims to reach 10 billion in sales by next year and to increase the share of export from the current 30% to more than 50%.
Advancing to becoming a global sports IT company
Meanwhile, as the nation’s top-tier sports IT company and a frontrunner in the golf GPS device industry, Ucomm Technology is actively engaged in corporate social responsibility activities.
CEO Juno Kim has been sponsoring junior golf tournaments since 2013, remarking, “In terms of sponsorship for golf players or golf tournaments, many leading sponsors such as banks, construction and telecommunication service providers mainly sponsor top golf players or big golf tournaments. However, there are few sponsors who support junior golfers. That is why our company has been sponsoring junior golf players since we set foot on the golf industry.” Regarding the company’s future plans, CEO Kim mentioned that his company will primarily apply its GPS and MEMS sensor technologies to various sports such as running, mountain climbing, and skiing and fi rst develop products and software that can be applied to marathon and jogging.
CEO Kim stated with confi dence, “Our company will not be confi ned to devices, but will expand its service into Web-based service to develop various wearable devices and services. By doing so, we will become the nation’s top sports IT company, while making our best efforts to become a global company like Garmin, a leading global sports IT company.”
Existing golf distance measurers cost millions of won and the size is large, whereas Voice Caddie is as small as a smartphone with moderate price, so it is popular abroad with golfers.
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