Mobile carriers compete to make cities smarter

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Mobile carriers compete to make cities smarter

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Mobile carriers are vying to take the lead in smart city development, which is thought to be the next big growth engine for the telecoms industry.

Smart cities use various information communications technologies including Internet of Things and big data to improve the quality of urban living. While there are many different industries involved in digitizing a city, local mobile carriers are leading the initiative by offering networks and knowledge on various IoT services.

SK Telecom in particular is focusing on enhancing security using IoT technology.

According to the company on Wednesday, it has been focusing on establishing a social security net since 2012, and its services have evolved to enable emergency alerts to be sent to police with a single push of a button on a smart watch.

SK Telecom’s so-called intelligent emergency calling system connects CCTV cameras installed by local governments and nearby police stations to track the location of children or the elderly when they are lost or when a crime has been detected.

While the mobile carrier currently has partnerships with just five local governments, it hopes to ink deals with five more areas including Suwon, Incheon and Gwangju by the end of this year and also implement its security service in 25 districts in Seoul by the first half of next year.

“There are 840,000 CCTV cameras nationwide, according to government data and the number increases every year,” said Kim Sung-han, executive vice president and head of the IoT solution business at SK Telecom. “As we already have the infrastructure, we can offer diverse smart services to enhance the security of cities.”

KT and LG U+ are also actively engaging in smart city projects.

KT in January inked a memorandum of understanding with Daegu to apply next-generation technologies, including high-speed 5G networks, and establish a business ecosystem for smart health care.

Daegu, which hopes to become a test bed for futuristic cars, agreed to cooperate in establishing an infrastructure for autonomous cars and internet-connected cars there, hand-in-hand with KT.

As for health care, the city hopes to make use of KT’s artificial intelligence, big data and IoT technology and use it to improve Daegu’s medical sector.

LG U+ has been partnering with Goyang in Gyeonggi since last year. The most notable development has been the introduction of smart garbage bins that detect how much trash is in each bin and notifies trash collectors. This not only saves time and effort for trash collectors, but also helps to keep bins clean.

The carrier has also installed IoT powered sensors on nearby parks to monitor the cleanness of a lake. Sensors also monitor micro-dust levels at children’s playgrounds.


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]

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