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Smart Cities Around the World: Seoul

When it comes to Seoul, there’s absolutely no question it’s a smart city.

The “Land of the morning calm” often competes with Singapore and Tokyo for the top spot when it comes to smart cities in Asia.

Of course, if being featured in the futuristic Marvels’ Avengers: Age Of Ultron in 2015 isn’t enough, South Korea’s capital also has plenty of cool smart city projects to back it up.

But enough talk, let’s see what neat projects they have going on there!

The Owl Bus and mobile data

In Korea, their ‘Night Rider’ buses get the objectively cooler name of ‘Owl Bus.’ But the service’s true value goes deeper than that.

You see, Seoul is over 100 times bigger than Singapore – and sometimes, getting home after hours can be tough if you don’t have a car. This is particularly true for lower-income workers, who work in the city, but live in the more affordable but far-flung outskirts. For this group, getting a taxi can be challenging. Not only is it expensive, but many taxi drivers are also unwilling to drive long distances and are worried about security.

What the Owl Bus did, was to provide the equivalent of a Night Rider service to late-night lower waged workers.

The interesting thing about Owl Bus?

City Officials decided to use Big Data to make the planning of the routes far more efficient. By analysing the location of calls and text messages of late-night travellers, three billion data points made used to find specific locations of departure and destination of travellers.

The data also gave hints on which routes late-night travellers actually use, including the road networks with the largest number of connections.

Based on the data collected, nine late-night Owl Bus routes were designed, and as of 2019, it is estimated that service has replaced over 2 million car trips!

Smart elder care with smart plugs

One thing that Singapore and South Korea have in common? An ageing population – in 2020, the elderly accounted for 15.6 percent of the total population there (vs Singapore’s 15.2%).

Now, looking after the elderly has its challenges, but Seoul hopes that by bringing technology into homes, care services can be provided in a more efficient and timely manner.

One of the ways it’s doing so is via IoT devices, which detects human movement, temperature, humidity, and brightness. Data collected by the sensors are sent to several care service centres for real-time monitoring – and also a mobile app for caregivers. If no movement is detected for a prolonged period of time, caregivers will be alerted to either make a call or make a house visit.

As of last year, 5,000 households are already equipped with these devices, and the intention is to increase this number by 2,500 every year till 2023.

Songdo, the smart district

One major challenge that cities face in the transition to a Smart City, is that many of them were conceived in an era where the concept of Smart City did not exist.

Songdo, just 30 km away from Seoul, solves this problem by starting from scratch. First conceived in 2001 and completed in 2015, it’s built on reclaimed land, and is often hailed as one of the world’s first smart cities.

Not only is it equipped with sensors that are able to harness data of weather, transport and energy, it’s also home to the world’s highest concentration of LEED buildings – the most widely used green building rating system in the world.

Here’s one thing that you might find interesting – there are no garbage bins, trucks or centres on the streets. Instead, pneumatic tubes send your waste straight to a subterranean waste facility, where rubbish is processed.

In Singapore, this is very much like the waste systems seen in newer HDB estates such as those in Punggol Northshore, Bidadari, Tampines North, and Tengah.

At the same time, it’s important to acknowledge that Songdo is still very much a work in progress, and is currently home to an estimated 70,000 people.

All that being said, cities do take time to blossom, and Songdo’s story is far from over, and the city is still in its developmental years. If anything, it’s a reminder to all of us that the hardware is only one aspect of a smart city – heart ware is equally important.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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