URENIO Watch: Intelligent cities – smart cities – innovation ecosystems

Smart Seoul: Case study of a smart city

Posted by Panagiotis Tsarchopoulos at 23 April 2013 in Intelligent / Smart Cities Strategies

This ITU-T Technology Watch Report analyses Seoul’s implementation of its “Smart Seoul 2015” project, providing a best-practice guide to the construction and operation of a smart city. The report investigates the conceptual underpinnings of Smart Seoul, the use of smart technologies and mobile-web applications to provide citizen-centric services, and the role of technical standards as the precondition for smart city functionality.​

Seoul has applied three broad phases to the evolution of a smart city:

  1. The First Phase, or the individual service level, applies ICT to improve individual city operations such as transportation, safety, environment and culture. The majority of 2012’s smart city projects lie in this phase, an example being the addition of real-time bus schedule information to public transportation services, or using closed-circuit television (CCTV) to a greater extent in maintaining public safety.
  2. The Second Phase, or the vertical service level, integrates related processes and services by smart technology within major sectors of a city, enabling the provision of more advanced services. Taking the transportation sector as an example, citizens are offered information on the public transportation system’s real-time activity as well as emergencies, road conditions, road repairs and subsequent detours. Smart city services are not yet integrated across sectors, but people will experience leaps forward in the quality of service provided by each sector.
  3. The Third Phase, or the horizontal service level, is the point of smart city development at which there is no longer a distinction between different service areas, with all parts now seamlessly integrated within an efficient smart city ecosystem.

Smart Seoul is based on three pillars, which are commons to smart cities projects:

  • ICT Infrastructure: Securing next-generation ICT infrastructure is critical to the success of emerging smart-city services. Efforts to develop ICT infrastructure must anticipate future service demands, rather than respond only to those most apparent.
  • Integrated City-management Framework: A well-defined ‘integrated city-management framework’ is essential. The many integrated subsystems, meta-systems and individual, building-block systems of a smart city will work in harmony only through the strictest adherence to common standards.
  • Smart Users: ICTs are the tools to enable a smart city, but are of no use without smart-tech users able to interact with smart services. Increasing access to smart devices and education on their use, across income levels and age groups, must remain one of a smart city’s highest priorities.
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    Download the report: “Smart Cities Seoul: a case study” (PDF file)


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