Entries tagged as SK Telecom

SKT Smart Home: making of a motion sensor

Small lifting electromagnet

SK Telecom's Smart Home device line-up was conspicuously missing a motion sensor. It would have nicely complemented the Jikimi home security devices. Considering that the PIR (passive infrared) sensor itself doesn't cost all that much (some as low as US$2) or complicated to work with, it wouldn't have been so hard to create a product out of it.

It turned out that SKT wanted that as a part of a much more beefed up home security solution called "T View Sense" that came out last month. It's a cloud-connected IP camera with the optional sensor package (motion, door, temperature/humidity, smoke, and carbon monoxide). The sensors requires the IP camera to function because they communicate to the server via the camera's integrated gateway. I appreciate the effort SKT is finally making to counter the IP camera efforts from the other mobile carriers (LGU+ had theirs since 2013), but the pricy nature of the camera (official price of KRW159,000 or about US$140) is off-putting to someone who's just interested the sensor alone.

So I decided to be a bit creative and repurpose one of the existing Jikimi devices into a motion sensor instead. Initially, I wanted to modify the SOS button because it was cheaper. But the fact that the alarm it makes doesn't get differentiated between the buttons made it a deal-breaker. With the door sensor, I needed to simulate the door closing/opening with a magnet, meaning that I could either attach the included magnet to a motor or use an electromagnet to fake such action.

Getting the door sensor to sense the electromagnet

Obviously, I chose the electromagnet because it would be far more simpler if it worked. If it generated enough magnetic field, it would act like the original magnet and cause the sensor to send a "door closed" signal. The problem was that I wasn't sure what kind or how big of an electromagnet would be necessary. After looking at various offerings on the internet, I decided to take a stab in the dark and buy a small "lifting electromagnet" used in machines for picking up metallic items. The particular model I bought for about US$5 was rated for 2.5kg at 12V DC, consuming 3W. The model number KK-P20/15 apparently indicates a 20mm outer diameter and 15mm thickness.

12V was tad higher than what I wanted, but the electromagnet works at a lower voltage with reduced pulling power. All I needed to know was whether that pull is just enough to trick the sensor, so I created a quick testing platform with my kids' electric circuit kit. As you can see here, 3V was just barely good enough for the sensor to activate. At 6V, it worked more reliably. This confirmed two things - the electromagnet I had was fit for the job and that I could make it work with a battery pack, e.g. single-cell Li-Ion battery (3.7V nominal).
Continue reading "SKT Smart Home: making of a motion sensor"

SKT Smart Home: Jikimi SOS button & door sensor

SKT Jikimi - SOS button (left) and door sensor (right)

On December 12, 2016, SK Telecom expanded its Smart Home suite by releasing a device set called Jikimi ("Protector") for basic home security. It consists of an SOS button that can notify either the police or someone you know, and a door sensor that can detect intrusion. They can be bought separately, and while the list price is KRW35,000 (US$30.70) for the button and KRW45,000 (US$39.50) for the sensor, it's currently being sold at a significant discount - KRW22,500 (US$19.70) and KRW24,000 (US$21), respectively. As far as networked sensors go, the discounted price is reasonable. I managed to buy a few of these shortly after they became available to gauge their usefulness.

Contents of the package - manuals (left), security stickers (center), SOS button (top right), door sensor (bottom right)

Both devices come in an identically sized box roughly the size of a hockey puck. An instruction manual and two security stickers are included with each device. The stickers are meant to warn off would-be intruders. While I doubt they would be much of a deterrent, the large one refers to an actual NSOK security dispatch service for the SOS button which you can optionally enroll for an extra KRW40,000(US$35) per year. It's not available for door sensor users, but this sticker is included with that device as well.
Continue reading "SKT Smart Home: Jikimi SOS button & door sensor"

SKT Smart Home: Smart Button Kkuk

Several boxes of Smart Button Kkuk ordered online

SK Telecom, the biggest mobile carrier in Korea, is the parent company of SK Planet, which owns Korea's 2nd largest online shopping mall, 11st (11λ²ˆκ°€, 11th Street). So it was natural to see that SKT would come up with a clone of Amazon Dash, which simplifies online ordering with the push of a physical button. It's called "Smart Button Kkuk(슀마트 λ²„νŠΌ κΎΉ)", and became available in September 19, 2016, about 18 months after Amazon Dash's announcement.

Initially affiliated with about 60 items in 11st and given away for free with first 50,000 orders of the website's "Now Delivery(NOW배솑)" service (this itself is 11st's version of "Fulfilled by Amazon"), it's now able to order from more than 140 items and shipped for KRW100 (US$0.09) when ordering certain specially marked items through Now Delivery. As of this writing, the stock of these buttons have apparently run out, but I expect it to be replenished soon.

Contents of the box - instruction manuals and the button

As with other SKT Smart Home devices, the button comes in a brown box with standardized instruction manual included. Looking at the device, the red button with 11st's logo on the left side is what you use to both pair and eventually order items online. The body is elongated to the right to house the battery. Like Amazon Dash, a removable hook is provided so that it can be hung.
Continue reading "SKT Smart Home: Smart Button Kkuk"

SKT Smart Home: Tale of two smart plugs (Witty & Dawon)

Smart Plug "Witty E" WIP-02A, unboxed

Lots of companies are hopping on the wave of Internet of Things (IoT) these days, each trying to build an ecosystem of their own. Major Korean mobile carriers (SK Telecom(SKT), KT, and LGU+) are no different, each setting up proprietary efforts. I used to largely ignore them because they required monthly fee, ranging from a few dollars per device to tens of dollars for "unlimited" (discounted with multi-year contract). With many non-carrier solutions usable without fees, I felt this to be undesirable.

However, SKT must have felt that this arrangement was hurting their chances for wide acceptance, because it began offering some of their affiliated products free of monthly fees, charging only a nominal (KRW 5,500, US$4.80) one-time fee included in the sales price since last October. I decided to take the bait and started integrating their home IoT products, sold under the "SKT Smart Home" brand, into my house. The very first one was a smart plug. The one you see here is the one made by Witty.

Smart Plug "Dawon Power Manager" PM-B400-W2

Over time, I installed several of these plugs around the house and some of them came from another company, Dawon DNS. Because SKT was selling them, lots of things were made to be nearly identical, namely the packaging and the functionality. The frugal-looking brown paper boxes contain the plug and the instruction manuals, all of which look almost exactly the same except for the diagram of the plug. Both companies' plugs are controlled by the one and the same official app, and works largely like as if they are the same product.

Even the price is similar, at around $22.50 to $26, which makes them one of the most inexpensive options. This includes the aforementioned fee, so the pricing is rather aggressive. The deal is made even sweeter by the fact that the plugs do not need any gateways or hubs to operate as some other solutions do (namely that of other carriers'). It will interface directly via Wi-Fi, so if you already have a wireless router at home there's no additional cost involved.
Continue reading "SKT Smart Home: Tale of two smart plugs (Witty & Dawon)"

A quirk with SKT VoLTE on iPhone 6 Plus

For the past two weeks, I've been having a strange problem when attempting to place calls with my iPhone 6 Plus. Many of the phone numbers that I know for sure exist would be met with "the number you dialed is not in service". If I switch the "Enable LTE" option in Settings app to "Data Only" instead of "Voice & Data", the phone calls would go through just fine. So it had to be an issue with VoLTE.

I first contacted my carrier, SK Telecom, to see if this was a problem at its end. But nothing turned up and I was eventually advised to contact Apple instead. Sure enough, colleagues using iPhone 6 on the same carrier did not have the problem. Digging deeper, I discovered that the problem did not occur only if I had country code prefix (e.g. +82 for Korea) on the phone number. So while +82-10-xxxx-yyyy would work, 010-xxxx-yyyy wouldn't.

Seeing that it might be some sort of a weird software issue, I contacted Apple support about this. Unfortunately, no clear solution came up, either. As a last resort, I was told to do a complete factory reset and see if that helped. As the troubleshooting was reaching a dead-end, I got a carrier settings update as I opened up the "About" page in Settings app. It updated the carrier settings from SK Telecom 18.x to 19.1. I told the support that I'd see if this update did anything, and if not, I might try the factory reset.

I attempted several calls to various places with the VoLTE setting on, and I saw that all of the calls now made through regardless of the country code prefix. The update apparently fixed the problem. It was indeed a software problem, but it was somewhat caused and fixed by the carrier. I reported this success to Apple support.
Defined tags for this entry: , , , ,

Copyright (C) 1996-2016 Wesley Woo-Duk Hwang-Chung. All rights reserved.