I was a speaker at the WSCE in 2022. I met with innovators paving the way in city planning. This is the future of Korean smart cities!
World Smart Cities Expo (WSCE) 2022
As someone who is passionate about urban planning, I couldn’t have been more excited to attend the WSCE in 2022. What’s more, it was such an honor to be able to read my conference paper at the 8th IEEE International Smart Cities Conference during the Expo in front of so many experts in the field.
My paper was titled Utility of Open data in municipal facilities management. Now that you have a little bit of insight as to why I was there, let me share more about the conference and some of the amazing things in store for the future of cities!
Seoul hosted the WSCE 2022 from 31 August to 2 September 2022 at the Kintex Seoul Expo center. It was the largest Smart City-related technology exhibition in Asia. More than 20,000 visitors from 60 countries and 200 cities gathered together to share their knowledge on building ‘People-centered’ smart cities.
There were many city government representatives from all over Korea. Plus, there were technology-related departments, private companies, enterprises, and startups represented. Let’s have a short tour of the expo through this post.
Zero Energy City (ZEC)
When ‘going green’ comes to mind, many think of going back to the stone age when there was no energy. Environmentally conscious people tend to cut back on consumption and tend to withdraw from modern society. But, with ZEC we are looking at cities where all modern needs can be fulfilled with renewable resources or recycling existing resources. Fossil fuels wouldn’t be burned anymore. At WSCE a hypothetical model of ZEC was introduced with the below features:
- Passive, green, environment-friendly technology
- Self-controlled shading system based on solar radiation
- Natural ventilation based on convection from various heights to prevent heat exchange.
- Insulation of indoor air by installing a heat insulation system.
- Minimizing heat insulation.
Although a lot more research and technological advancement are required to achieve an ideal zero-energy city, there has been reasonable progress. We are well on our way to developing nearly zero-energy buildings.
Smart City Data Hub
A service development environment has been established that collects, integrates, and utilizes data scattered in the city. It manages the Legacy System, Public Data Portal, U-CITY Platform, IoT Platform, Open System for NB-loT 5G GW, Massive IoT Edge Server, and media Streams. The main role of the data hub is to provide Inter-Domain Services (IDS). We can use it for data sharing among Mobility, Transportation, Energy, water and sewerage management, weather forecast, environment, etc. It provides Predictive Data models for smart living.
In short, a smart city data hub can process all of the information a city produces. This helps data get to the right people so that things can get fixed in a city before they become critical. A real-life example is if Jackson Mississippi in the United States had been a smart city. With a smart city data hub, the water crisis would have been avoided. Sensors in water and waste management systems would have detected issues decades ago. Plus, combined with weather and other infrastructure data, we would have predicted precisely when the water treatment facility would fail.
Digital Platform City
Goyan City is the best example of a Digital platform city. A digital infrastructure based on EDGE IoT, DFM, Data analysis, API, Block Chain, CCTV 360 degrees, and view track. These platforms are being used for safety, bus shelters, smart centers, and smart water grids.
Features explained for smart homes were rooftop solar facilities, electric vehicle charging, and more to make homes green energy hubs.
Plus, they introduced facility 360′ CCTV cameras which are able to identify abnormalities using AI and are connected to a city secure facility. This could help to increase home security and prevent crimes.
There really were so many amazing gadgets we could see in our homes soon. There were outdoor stretchable emergency stairs, one-pass systems, smart mailboxes, IoT Outlets, Smart Home Life Information Devices, Smart LED Lighting, smart temperature control, elderly-friendly gadgets, and many more.
Here in Korea, I have already seen smart restaurants implemented. So, this wasn’t as amazing to me in terms of future technology. However, if you are outside of Korea, you may be shocked by some of the advancements that are already a reality.
At WSCE they had a demonstration of smart restaurants. It is much like the ones I have been to in cities here. You have to place an order on a device at your table. Then, a robot serves you.
I went through a great experience during the WSCE, called the ‘Pivotal movement’,. It is where you sit on a big bench that can tilt here and there to give you the experience of virtual reality, without the glasses.
Around you, a huge circular screen gives a view like you are in the scene like an airplane or moving out from one building to the other. It was so amazing that you just feel yourself inside the scene.
AI-Based Gym Equipment
It is a real-time Gym trainer based on Artificial intelligence which first tests your abilities. Then, it makes adjustments for the strengths and weaknesses. It adjusts the weight capacities based on your current condition. As a result, it guides you towards your goals in the safest way possible and prevents injuries.
The utilization of air space for city services is also a topic of interest nowadays. ‘Hanwha Overair™’ has developed air ambulances, grocery delivery, and one or two passenger small rides within an air radius of 4 km.
According to an official, test drives will be completed in 2023. And then, commercial city-level air journeys will start in 2024. To regulate the air space for small-scale air operation and safety, the Korean Government is in the process of making strong regulations with the help of the Korean Aerospace University.
Smart Waste Management
Waste segregation is an important aspect of solid waste management. A company named ‘Nephron Basis’ introduced an automatic machine that only accepts tin cans, but rejects plastic and all other materials using AI.
Electric Delivery Motorcycles
One automobile company introduced luxurious delivery motorbikes with unique shapes that have spacious cabinets and are easy to drive. The bikes operate on electricity, hence reducing the cost of fuel and contributing to environmental protection as well.
Digital Twin and Smart Cities
LX is a Korean government institution for simulating the various aspects of urban life. Not only limited to 3D mapping, but it also provides real-time simulation of urban functions such as administration, transportation, logistics, crime prevention, energy, environment, water management, housing, and welfare.
I really loved this part of the WSCE because I could literally walk into the future. It was an experience unlike any other.
Looking Forward to the Future
Besides these details, there were hundreds of companies with various products and services related to different domains of smart cities. There was K-water, Jeju, Bukchon, Incheon, Daejeon, Dengue, and other metropolitan government representatives. Many informative sessions on various aspects of smart cities already being implemented were presented.
Participants were also from different parts of the world, especially the Asian countries. I hope that the WSCE 2022 will become a game changer session in the development of Smart Cities in various countries following the example of Seoul.