In a cafe in Daejeon, South Korea, a robot barista serves drinks to reduce person-to-person contact between staff and customers.
It’s one example of an innovative solution to the difficulties of social distancing. But even before Covid-19, many kinds of contactless customer experience were becoming a feature of life in South Korea.
The march of ‘untact’ services
From online shopping and ordering food remotely to chatbots and appointments with virtual doctors, digital technologies have enabled the rise of services that minimize direct human interactions.
And in South Korea, there’s even a word for it: “untact”.
A term initially used by marketers, untact services are now being deployed in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to aid the country’s economic recovery.
The Digital New Deal – part of President Moon Jae-in’s $62 billion five-year Korean New Deal stimulus package – outlines plans to prepare for “surging demand for remote services”.
Projects to boost “untact industries” include building 18 smart hospitals for remote healthcare, providing digital care services for seniors and other vulnerable groups, helping small and medium-sized businesses set up virtual conferencing and online sales support for small companies.
There will also be investment in technologies that enable untact services, such as robotics, drones and high-speed internet.
Rosamond Hutt is a Senior Writer at Formative Content.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.
You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.
We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And have just turned three.
At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is.
This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it.
If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous and questioning journalism. Please click on the link below. Your support will define ThePrint’s future.