Inside the home of LG, part two

By Pat Pilcher

Pat Pilcher goes behind the scenes at Seoul's LG factories.

Day 2

Today we're heading to Seocho to LG's research and development centre. I'm looking forward to seeing what gear the boffins at LG are about to unleash on an unsuspecting public.

The R&D centre occupies a huge campus and is one of the largest R&D buildings in Korea. The building spans 11,500 square metres and employs 4,000 people. This is where researchers and designers craft eye pleasing gadgetry and spot future technology trends.

The first hint that we're heading into a secure area is the buildings massive foyer where the contents of our pockets, cameras, and phones are all fed through airport style x-ray scanners before we can enter the facility.

We walk through a hallway covered floor to ceiling with golden plaques listing LG's technology patents. This is where the LGs brain trust lives.

There's lot of screens on show including an impressive selection of curved ultra HD OLED screens. I also spy a 21:9 ultra wide PC screen. It's Wide enough to display email, spreadsheet, and browser windows all at once, I'm just hoping that it makes it to the NZ market.

Another gadget that grabs my attention are WiFi speakers. The LG guide explains that you can have different sound zones around the house. They'll pull music off networked hard-drives or stream it from online services like Spotify and should be significantly more affordable than other existing alternatives.

The RoboKing is also a real find. It's a robot vacuum that'll not only vacuum at times you specify, but it is also controllable using an Android smartphone. You can access its built-in camera and intercom to see what it sees, or even interact with people and pets, making it a low cost home telepresence robot.

There's also a bunch of washing machines, dryers, ovens and dishwashers on display. They don't seem all that exciting until I discover they can intelligently report on their energy consumption and be programmed to use cheaper off-peak power.

I've only scraped the surface of what is on show. There's so much on display. Even though I'm rushing around trying to take in much as I can, I run out of time.

In the end I manage to catch a quick glance of a bunch of cool wearable fitness trackers and phones before we're herded out of the showroom.

We head to LG's global HQ (or the twin towers, as it's known locally). Security is tight. All phone cameras have their lenses covered with red tape.

We meet with Ken Hong, LG's Global Communications Director. He's a personable guy with a strong Chicago accent.

Ken gives us a potted history of LG. I didn't know it but LG actually started out as a chemical company, which explains why the toothpaste in my hotel room was LG branded.

According to Ken, the decision to get into electronics was driven by the need to sell more plastic. Since then LG haven't looked back.

The day finally draws to a close, we're all pretty shattered - which is worrying as tomorrow is a 4am start.

Pat was flown to Korea by LG.

- NZ Herald

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