A Look into the Smart City
SEOUL, KOREA — A second wave is about to hit the next generation Ubiquitous City (U-City) dwellers.
“The motivation to push forward with the plan is alive again after two-three years of staggering due to barriers that had risen from government policies and the existing system,” said Dr. Cho Young-im, chairwoman of University Industrial Technology Force (UNITEF). She is anticipating the second wave in the U-City, recently announced on various U-City business plans.
U-City is basically based on ubiquitous computing. Ubiquitous computing is a post-desktop model of human-computer interaction in which information processing has been thoroughly integrated into everyday objects and activities. In the course of ordinary activities, someone "using" ubiquitous computing engages many computational devices and systems simultaneously, and may not necessarily even be aware that they are doing so. This model is usually considered as advancement from the desktop paradigm. More formally Ubiquitous computing is defined as "machines that fit the human environment instead of forcing humans to enter theirs."
Sejong city has introduced an education system which is dubbed Korea’s first “Educity”. Korean smart schools, one of each in pre-, elementary, middle and high, that apply cutting-edge information-technology and permit students to study anytime and anywhere, opened on March 2 in Sejong city.
The city of Incheon has also announced that it will establish a plan to construct the U-City, which had been put off by financial difficulties. Incheon has plans to construct the U-City in the Songdo, Yeongjong and Cheongna area, which is also known as the Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ).
Moreover, Seoul Yongsan International Business Zone U-City construction began in October 2011, and will open its doors in 2016. It will take off in full scale in the second half of this year under the leadership of incumbent Mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon. Its construction plan is likely to go through an extensive revision to preserve the natural environment. Yongsan U-City will be built on 566,800㎡ of land, covering 3,170,000㎡ in gross floor space. “Yongsan U-City construction is a whopping KRW 37-trillion project, and gathers keen interests from the entire nation,” said Dr. Cho.
In addition to the mentioned “future” projects, the Ministry of Land, Transportation and Maritime Affairs has selected seven local governments last year and pursues showcasing of model U-City. Eunpyong-gu in Seoul has been selected as a special U-City for disaster prevention while Busan city will focus on the prevention of natural disasters, such as radioactivity, tsunamis, and build an infrastructure to readily deal with any calamities. Ansan and Gyeonggi-do province, will transform itself into a self-sustaining Smart Green U-City; Naju and Jeollanam-do province will become Energypia City, focusing on energy conservation and low carbon emission; Namyangju, Gyonggi-do province, will utilize existing urban and rural infrastructure in combination and turn into low-cost and high-efficient U-City; Yeosu, (Jeollanam-do province) and the host of the 2012 Expo, will construct U-City for international maritime tourism, leisure and sports; And lastly, the host of the 2018 Olympics Winter Games, Pyeongchang, has decided to hold Smart Olympics and become the U-City.
U-City or Smart City? What is Smart City?
U-City is also known as Smart City and triggers much curiosity as to its true meaning.
This city of the future is mobilized by terminal used by each resident. To accommodate residents’ basic amenities, a control tower will be strategically located in the city center and provide various services. U-City is a city with artificial intelligence, made possible by information-technology attached to various basic amenities. Newly introduced Smart City is a development from U-City after the introduction of smart phones, or similar telecommunication concept, which allows connection of individuals to the city like human neural network. It is cloud computing applied to our everyday lives. In the Smart City, there is no need to physically leave home to go to work as teleporting will be a standard practice.
To better understand what the future lays ahead in U-City, there are several scenarios depicting a life of Han Nu-ri (the word also means enjoy in Korean) who will live in Seoul Yongsan International Business Zone. Nu-ri’s everyday life illustration will help readers understand what Smart City is all about.
Nu-ri’s City of Future
# The scenario takes place in the early morning in Yongsan, Seoul. Nu-ri is in his living room. He is a third grader at Future Elementary School. Nu-ri’s grandmother receives a medical checkup from home every morning.
A nano robot embedded in her body cleans her blood vessels, analyzes the condition and reports it to the hospital. Then her doctor reviews the data and updates her status. Nu-ri’s grandmother doesn’t have to go through the stress of commuting to the hospital to receive best medical attention, which has been made possible by Smart health care, using video conferencing.
The grandmother’s doctor cautions her of high cholesterol after reviewing her genetic profile. After the conversation, his grandmother remembers Nu-ri’s grandfather who passed away 25 years ago due to the same ailment.
# The bedroom of Nu-ri’s father: Even before his dad wakes up, the home health care system scans for his medical well being. The scanning result shows that he should avoid intense exercise and his virtual secretary checks his schedule accordingly.
# Breakfast is sizzling in the kitchen: Nu-ri’s mother checks ingredients in the refrigerator with her smart pad and begins to cook. Today’s breakfast menu is Korea’s soul food, soybean paste (doenjang) stew and tofu dish, rich in vitamins.
After preparing breakfast, Nu-ri and his mom sit at the table. His father joins with a newspaper in hand. The newspaper he holds is not a printed version on paper, but a flexible display newspaper, which can be rolled up or even cut up with scissors. Today’s headline is about a youth who has won the marathon. The father explains, “The winner once suffered from heart disease, but recovered and won the marathon after receiving an artificial heart transplant created from stem cells”.
# Today is the day that Nu-ri goes to school, which he now attends once a week. Nu-ri sits at his desk, getting ready for class. The class is unsupervised and he can communicate with his classmates through a computer network, to share opinions and class notes.
Nu-ri is not stressed about going to school or studying because the class is tailored to his academic progress and interests. After the class, he goes to the school’s multimedia production room to edit a video that he will give to his grandmother as a present at the family gathering tonight.
# At the same time, at an ecological park in Chuncheon. His older sister, Han Seul-gi, ecotechnology major, is now checking pollution rate at the park using harmful pollutant measuring system.
The ecological park was the result of a major pollution cleanup using special environmental cleanup plants and became a famous case study on international level.
Seul-gi transmits the field data to an environmental study center at Cambridge University. After receiving the data, David and Elizabeth (Cambridge students) begin conversing with Seul-gi. The meeting is conducted in both Korean and English, but everything runs smoothly because they are using real-time translation software.
# Meanwhile, their mother, who works at a travel agency, goes to work on a fuel-cell run environment-friendly car. Nu-ri’s mother gives her navigation command on a voice recognition program and switches to auto-drive mode after entering the main road. She takes a call from her client, who wishes to reserve a seat on a low-altitude flight.
The road that Nu-ri’s mother is travelling on is similar to the street depicted on a film, the Fifth Element, in which Bruce Willis drove a taxi. A monorail lies across the sky without support and hologram models in commercials are running to attract customers.
# Today is the day that his father uses a robot with artificial intelligence, which will guide visually impaired individuals on the road.
After the launching ceremony, his father opens his wrist watch, rather than a mobile phone, to have a video chat with Seul-gi. She is on her way home from Chuncheon on a magnetic levitation train. While they are talking, mother joins in and starts a three-way talk.
# Nu-ri’s entire family gathers that evening. Nu-ri and Seul-gi’s grandmother, who greets them with kindness, turned 70 this year, but looks 20 years younger, due to age prevention technologies. The family asks Nu-ri why he had asked everyone to come together for dinner. “Today is grandma and grandpa’s golden wedding anniversary, remember?” answered Nu-ri and reveals the video message that he had edited earlier.
He shoots a beam in mid air and his grandfather with a mid-50s appearance, gives a speech that was recorded at his silver wedding anniversary. Nu-ri found the video by chance and decided to edit it into a hologram. The family is deeply moved by the gesture and embraces each other.
The first story of the Smart city in a five-part series.
Smart City plans five-part series
1. A scenario of Smart City
- A Look into the Smart City
2. Core technology and issues of Smart City
3. Strategies for exporting and support from government
4. Case study ; domestic and abroad
5. Future models of Smart City