South Korea’s second city of Busan hosted this year’s ITU Telecom World event, bringing together governments, tech firms and startups to discuss new digital technologies.
One of the main goals of the event was to promote home-grown innovations, in particular ‘smart city’ technologies.
Itself a pioneering smart city, Busan showed off some of its own novelties including a traffic-monitoring system that can inform drivers about accidents ahead, a healthcare system that monitors patients in real time and sends the information on to doctors, and even a system which switches off a user’s access to his/her smartphone when crossing the road to avoid them being distracted and getting involved in a traffic accident.
According to Aidan Lew of the Internet of Things Business Team with Lotte Data Communication, “the important thing is to make people’s lives more convenient and safe, because Korean people already have experience of the IoT (Internet of Things) devices, and they want even higher services and applications.”
It’s not just the South Koreans who are embracing smart city concepts.
In Switzerland, a leading mobile phone company is testing how its data could be used to analyse traffic congestion.
“We have lots of mobile phone information. We generate 20 billion events every day – that’s to say that each time your mobile connects to an antenna, it creates a digital imprint. And we approached the towns to say, ‘Here we go, we’re going to be able to show you the traffic in real time. And then on that basis we’re going to be able to pinpoint more targeted town planning,” explained Raphaël Rollier, head of Smart Cities at Swisscom.
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