Strong standardization strategy for high ROI
Koo explains that technology-based companies have to significantly invest in R&D on the one hand and to find the right balance between protecting their innovations and IP (intellectual property) while building their income and markets on the other. LSIS is successful in both.
LSIS has understood the need to standardize to allow its products to connect and communicate with those that are already in the market place, and also with those that will come later.
Koo says that LSIS creates technology solutions that can be used by many others, adding that the company prefers to have a big share of a very big pie, rather than its own small pie. In his opinion, this business strategy provides the most concrete ROI (return on investment).
Interoperability advances technological development
Koo looks at this from both the technological and the business point of view. On one side, engineers often don’t want to make their technology available to others. They fear they will lose their competitive advantage and their ability to make money from their innovation. For him, this is exactly where the problem lies: making sure that other companies have products that can connect to your technology is better for business; it gives them good reasons to build interoperable products and advances further technology development.
When a company makes its technology broadly accessible, it creates a much bigger market. A successful technology will also stimulate competition. However, with a good standardization strategy, focused innovation and a high-quality manufacturing process, companies can achieve a good ROI. The ability to use standardized components in the manufacturing process also lowers production costs. Koo adds that it is not only important to innovate, it is equally important to allow markets to develop.
On active participation in IEC work
“Participating in IEC work allows us to link IP with business” says Koo. He cites as an example the development of an industrial automation technology which became part of the IEC 61158 series of International Standards on fieldbus specifications for industrial communication networks. “Having this kind of recognition not only helps build our business and increases our overall revenue, it also strengthens our IP.”
According to Koo, active participation in IEC standardization work offers other benefits, such as the opportunity to learn in advance where technology is moving and the ability to share new technology development broadly. He is convinced that many more technology companies in Korea and elsewhere should take advantage of this and participate actively in the IEC.
Committed to investing more in standardization
Koo, who was a professor before joining LSIS, admits he knew next to nothing about standardization and didn’t appreciate its importance and business impact. Only when he became CEO of LSIS in 2009 did he come to understand the major role played by standards in building Smart Grids or power equipment as well as in increasing overall efficiency. At that time Koo was also designated as the private sector member of the Korean Industrial Standards Commission.
Today, Koo expresses his firm belief in the importance of standardization, so much so that several members of his staff now actively participate in IEC work. “I am committed to investing more in this area because standardization will become more and more important. With it we are able to increase convenience and efficiency for everyone.
Innovation brings success
LSIS actively participates in all areas of IEC work that directly impact their business, for example the technologies that touch upon the Smart Grid. The company continuously innovates in renewable energy technologies. Koo explains that LSIS is probably one of the few profitable companies in the field of PV installations, with the development of a humidity- and freeze-proof floating solar structure that helps reduce impact on land. With these structures, trees don’t have to be cut down to make space for solar farms. Instead these PV farms can be installed on open water and they can double up power generation on lakes behind hydro dams. In warm waters, the installation provides shade that can limit the growth of green algae.