EghtesadOnline: The Seoul Metropolitan Government, widely acclaimed as a success story in implementing e-governance and now a leading force behind promoting the concept of smart city, is eager to join hands with other global players to embrace the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution for the betterment of the global community.
This offers a precious opportunity for Iranian megacities desirous of utilizing ICT solutions to improve the standards of living for their citizens.
Iranian authorities, spearheaded by the Information and Communications Technology Ministry, Tehran Municipality and Vice Presidential Office for Science and Technology, have made significant efforts to employ ICT for delivering government services.
They are now looking into the tremendous potential presented by technologies associated with the latest industrial revolution, such as 5G Internet networks, big data analysis, blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) for the enhancement of administrative efficiency and citizens’ access to public services, according to Financial Tribune.
Seoul, as the bustling capital of a country that has experienced exponential, innovation-driven, broad-based and sustainable economic growth in recent decades on the back of exploiting cutting-edge technological solutions, has embarked on a full-scale mission to position itself as a frontrunner in the global pursuit of a better future for humanity through harnessing the ever-evolving technological landscape.
In an interview with Financial Tribune, Seoul’s Mayor Park Won-soon said, “Seoul is aspiring to become a smart city. We believe that a smart city is very important for increasing the convenience of citizens and raising urban competitiveness, so we are making a lot of efforts to become a smart city.”
A smart city deploys IoT sensors to accumulate data from citizens, devices and assets that are processed and analyzed to use resources efficiently and manage transportation systems, power plants, water supply and waste management networks, information systems, schools, libraries, hospitals and other community services.
The concept integrates ICT and various types of physical devices connected to the IoT network to optimize the effectiveness of city operations and services.
Mayor Park stressed the launch of the initiative to pave the way for the smoother movement of people and more efficient distribution of public facilities and services.
“In terms of transportation, we are utilizing technologies such as big data and IoT. We identify the traffic flow and provide this information to citizens to increase their convenience. Also, in terms of population, we have analyzed the call data of KT Corporation [formerly Korea Telecom] and identified the actual number of [floating] population [in a given area of the city at a particular time] and we are formulating many policies based on this big data,” he said.
Big data refers to extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns and trends, especially those related to human behavior and interactions to help the authorities devise well-informed policies and make more efficient decisions.
Park cited the example of the Transport Operation & Information Service Center in Seoul, through which city officials can monitor in real time the traffic flow and provide this information to citizens, apart from formulating better strategies.
As explained on its website, TOPIS is a general transport control center responsible for operating Seoul’s overall traffic. It does this by collecting traffic information from various systems and institutions such as the Transport Card System and Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency.
The system is designed to clear heavy traffic and avoid sudden traffic issues by collecting information on bus operations, the number of people using public transport, traffic density and speeds, incidental situations such as traffic accidents and demonstrations and the status of expressways, and establishing scientific public transit policies through the analysis of this integrated traffic information.
The mayor also pointed to the Smart City Platform, a state-of-the-art display mounted on the wall of his office, and said, “I can see and monitor and give feedback on everything that is happening in the city in real time and also take the right policy decisions based on that.”
Park said Seoul pursues the policy of “urban diplomacy” and is ready to engage with other cities to share its technological know-how and achievements in the area of urban management.
“We have currently 70 sister cities and friendship cities in the world. Most of them are capital cities of countries. Through these partnerships, we are increasing and promoting economic, societal and cultural partnerships with citizens around the world. And Seoul is sharing and exchanging its development expertise and experiences with cities worldwide.”
He said the Seoul Metropolitan Government believes that it needs to cooperate with other cities regarding the concept of smart city, so it launched an organization called WeGo or World Smart Sustainable Cities Organization.
“Currently, 171 city members and corporate members are registered in WeGo and we have a general assembly that convenes every three years and Seoul is the chair city of WeGo,” he said.
The World Smart Sustainable Cities Organization, established in 2010, is an international association of city and other local governments, smart tech solution providers and national and regional institutions committed to the transformation of cities into smart sustainable cities, according to its website.
WeGo serves as an international platform with a vision to create “Smart Sustainable Cities for All”; in other words, these innovative cities leverage digital technology and connectivity to improve the quality of life, efficiency of urban operations and services, and the economic prosperity of all citizens.
Another case in point is a major drive launched by Seoul to move from the world’s best e-government to a much-coveted smart city.
The local government earlier this year unveiled the big data-based Smart City Master Plan in several categories, including IoT-based Shared Parking System, AI Taxi and intelligent surveillance cameras, according to the website of the Seoul Metropolitan Government.
Under the scheme, Seoul will invest 1.4 trillion won ($1.19 billion) to introduce innovation in the daily lives of citizens and plans to install 50,000 IoT sensors throughout the city to amass diverse urban life data.
The list of remarkable technological endeavors made by the Seoul Metropolitan Government is long and if city officials worldwide are looking for a treasure trove of creative ideas, they could find no better place than Seoul, where an amalgamation of tradition, leading-edge innovations and environmentally-conscious and people-oriented initiatives offers a truly dazzling display.