A Deeper Look Into Samsung’s Massive Digital City

The choice by Samsung to host its annual Samsung Unpacked 2023 event back home in Seoul, Korea for the first time not only marks a homegrown affinity for the chaebol, it allows provided the hundreds of media in attendance an opportunity to visit one of the key places of Samsung’s success – Suwon. Located about an hour from Seoul, the city of Suwon is the capital and largest city of Gyeonggi-do, South Korea’s most populous province.

Both the tech giant and Suwon have had a long and close relationship with each other – since its founding in Suwon in 1969, Samsung Electronics’ main headquarters still calls the city its home and is known as Samsung Digital City.

samsung digital city

In the last 50-plus years, Samsung has tapped on Suwon’s skilled workforce with its partnership with the local Sungkyunkwan University and Suwon benefits from Samsung’s economic activity and its investment in the city’s infrastructure.

This partnership goes further than economics as Samsung owns a local football club, Suwon Samsung Bluewings, which has seen some success over the years though recent accomplishments evade the team.

Samsung Digital City packs in a potential 48,000 employees within 390 acres producing the next breakthrough in smartphones, TVs, and semiconductors.

Our first stop of the day was the Samsung Innovation Museum. Open only on Saturdays to the public for walk-ins, the museum is a tech geek’s dream come through as it documents different developments in electronics as a whole and it’s not entirely Samsung-centric.

While Samsung Electronics saw its founding in 1969, the Samsung group goes much further back from its origins as a humble trading company back in 1938. Fast forward to the present and Samsung is a different beast, viewed in different ways by many individuals across the board.

Proudly on display are a whole suite of gadgets and electronics that Samsung has dabbled with in the past. One would imagine how the world might have differed if the Korean portable tape player became the dominant brand of choice.

While it might not be a norm these days, it’s interesting to see that even staff passes of a long-serving employee have a dedicated display at the museum itself.

The upper halls of the museum contain focused exhibits in the areas of telecommunications, televisions, and semiconductors which are all key verticals that Samsung continues to carve dominance in. All the exhibits are tastefully presented and it was interesting to learn that televisions of the past, like the one above, were susceptible to dust which required built-in sliding doors to keep it going at peak performance. If not for the distance from the central city of Seoul, the museum would be a great stop for anyone looking to check out the history of ubiquitous electronics we use and see day to day.

samsung digital city

Moving on to their latest building named R5, this building houses pretty much all the R&D facilities of all things mobile for Samsung Electronics. While no one would tell us if an R6 building is in development, Samsung would build entire buildings for a single category vertical. Before R5, the previous building R4 was focused entirely on televisions and this continues to be the case even in the present day.

Sadly, pretty much the entire area was under lock and key so we were able to unravel what else was cooking away behind these doors like the brand-new Samsung Z Flip and Fold devices.

samsung digital city

While Samsung is a massive company as a whole, the company encourages employees to come up with innovative ideas and the company would be happy to incubate selected projects via their C-Lab program. Since 2012, the program accepts ideas from all Samsung employees, regardless of their job title or department and these employees will be given a year to bring their idea to fruition.

The best example of the C-Lab’s success would be the IGNIS thermal imaging camera which is used by firefighters and emergency responders to detect heat sources in fires. At the same time, Samsung’s rotating TV, ‘The Sero’, and robot butler, Bot Handy, would have seen their origins in some form from the C-Lab halls.

Among one of the upcoming projects showcased, an autonomous EV charging robot might have the best prospect. The idea behind the concept stems from alleviating EV owners having to hunt down a charging point. Instead, the robot will seek out your car and charge it while you sleep. While convenient in theory, it might take some time (and plenty of regulation) to bring this concept to life.

samsung digital city

With so much space at Samsung’s disposal at the Digital City, it seemed that even putting in an Olympic-sized pool was a simple affair. When we visited the facility, there were individuals using the facility in the middle of the day.

And Samsung’s investment in facilities didn’t stop there as a 9-metre rock wall is just one of the many surprising discoveries at Samsung Digital City. While swimming might be a more individual activity, we’re certain that the rock wall here is part of many team bonding exercises at Samsung.

samsung digital city

Perhaps the most impressive investment Samsung has done would be to build an entire smart home just to integrate its entire electronics ecosystem into one place. For most, living in a home with such space is a dream, having it filled with all the best smart systems Samsung has to offer is a whole new level.

If it’s plugged in, it’s pretty much all controlled by Bixby in this Samsung smart home. From the lights, curtains, and television, everything is controlled via voice through a Samsung mobile phone or smart fridge.

Complete with a gaming room as well, we know from our reviews of Samsung devices that the company is making an effort to focus more on this segment. When you’re the type of consumer that will invest to squeeze every ounce of advantage over an opponent, Samsung would love to build out your next gaming room if possible.

samsung digital city

From history, to cool facilities, and even a physical concept home for Samsung’s entire ecosystem of smart devices, the Samsung Digital City is an insane look at how far the company has come from its humble beginnings.