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South Korea's first-ever smart project soon to be in action

A view of a residential area in the new smart city district in Sejong (Korea Land & Housing Corporation)
A view of a residential area in the new smart city district in Sejong (Korea Land & Housing Corporation)
South Korea’s first smart city project, involving an area of 2,743,000 square meters in Sejong, is expected to take shape soon as local firms have recently joined the bidding competition. Other smart city projects, including one in Busan, are expected to follow as well.

Parties that placed bids include a group led by LG CNS and KT-Hyundai Motor consortiums, according to sources familiar with the pilot smart city project.

The successful bidder will work on this 2.5 trillion won ($2.1 billion) project for the Korea Land & Housing Corporation, which plans to have the smart city ready to operate by 2023. The results will come out in mid-October.

The new smart city will consist of three areas -- one for startups, one for anchor companies and one for residential buildings. They will be intricately connected with cutting-edge internet of things technologies that will enable self-driving vehicles, remote medical care and smart education services, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport’s blueprint.

Residents will be able to use self-driving or ride-sharing cars powered by electricity or hydrogen, for instance. The 5G network will monitor the transportation system and traffic in real-time. Drones and robots will be used for delivery services.

The KT-Hyundai Motor consortium includes their affiliates such as Hyundai Engineering & Construction.

This consortium has the advantage of having the technology to develop 5G network-powered self-driving cars. Hyundai Motor’s hydrogen-powered buses could also give the consortium the upper hand.

The consortium led by LG CNS includes LG U+, LG Electronics, KB Financial Group and Shinhan Financial Group. This consortium also includes IT firms such as CJ OliveNetworks and Naver Business Platform, which can provide a wide range of IT infrastructure and cloud-based services.

LG CNS boasts its self-developed integrated smart city platform Cityhub, which allows users to analyze data collected from multiple locations and devices and handle urban information more efficiently.

LG CNS has experience with previous smart city projects, which enabled the company to enhance technologies related to big data, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and blockchain.

LG CNS is expected to also participate in the upcoming bidding for a smart city project in Busan as part of a consortium with Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power.

The project in Busan will focus on setting up a 100 percent renewable energy system, according to the government. The bidding will open in October this year.

According to sources familiar with the smart city projects, more city governments and companies will seek to join the projects to gain the upper hand in this market, which will see exponential growth in the near future. Currently, around 70 municipal governments are working on potential smart city projects.

By Shim Woo-hyun (ws@heraldcorp.com)
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