South Korea is deploying 5G MEC (Mobile Edge Computing) tech at Incheon International Airport to help fight COVID-19.
While, like many countries, COVID-19 cases have spiked in South Korea in recent days—the country is often considered as conducting one of the world’s most successful responses to the pandemic.
Incheon Airport is South Korea’s largest and the main gateway into the country. The MEC technology is being installed at both the arrival and departure halls of the airport.
The country’s Ministry of Science and ICT said the system uses AI to flag passengers who aren’t wearing masks and/or people displaying symptoms like a high temperature or continuous cough.
Rather than send the data to an off-site centre for analysis, MEC is used to process the information locally. The use of MEC helps to drastically minimise latency which is vital when dealing with large flows of passengers.
Where potential COVID-19 patients have been detected, the system can automatically send out autonomous robots to carry out disinfection of the area.
SK Telecom, South Korea’s largest carrier, set up the 5G MEC system. The carrier installed mmWave 5G base stations around the airport that are powered by the SAPEON X220.
The SAPEON X220 is SK Telecom’s first in-house AI chip. The company says the chip’s deep learning computation speed is 6.7 kiloframes per second, “which is 1.5 times faster than that of GPUs for inference that are being widely used by AI-service companies.”
Earlier this year, the carrier said its new semiconductor will target a global AI chip market which Gartner predicts is set to grow to $45 billion by 2024.
SK Telecom also announced a partnership with Samsung and messaging giant Kakao this week. The partners are developing an AI platform to predict COVID-19 hotspots and recommend appropriate measures to protect users.
Around $108 million is being set aside by the Ministry of Science and ICT over the next couple of years to support further 5G MEC deployments.
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