Ubiquitous City

Imagine a city where everything is as people have been dreaming but can not do in USA — equipped with ubiquitous computing. Sensors of different types to observe what is going on and to facilitate communication. Everything connected using computers. Well, I don’t have to describe such a city — South Korea is already designing and planning to build this city by 2014.
As described in an article in NYT,

IMAGINE public recycling bins that use radio-frequency identification technology to credit recyclers every time they toss in a bottle; pressure-sensitive floors in the homes of older people that can detect the impact of a fall and immediately contact help; cellphones that store health records and can be used to pay for prescriptions.

These are among the services dreamed up by industrial-design students at California State University, Long Beach, for possible use in New Songdo City, a large “ubiquitous city” being built in South Korea.

A ubiquitous city is where all major information systems (residential, medical, business, governmental and the like) share data, and computers are built into the houses, streets and office buildings. New Songdo, located on a man-made island of nearly 1,500 acres off the Incheon coast about 40 miles from Seoul, is rising from the ground up as a U-city.

Although there are other U-city efforts in South Korea, officials see New Songdo as one apart. “New Songdo will be the first to fully adapt the U-city concept, not only in Korea but in the world,” said Mike An via an e-mail message. Mr. An is the chief project manager of the Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority, the government agency overseeing the project.

In the West, ubiquitous computing is a controversial idea that raises privacy concerns and the specter of a surveillance society. (They’ll know whether I recycled my Coke bottle?!) But in Asia the concept is viewed as an opportunity to show off technological prowess and attract foreign investment.

These are exciting and bold ideas. But S. Korea has been progressing as rapidly as they are because they have bold ideas and they go ahead and implement those. It is not enouth to have bold ideas, implementation and experimentation with those is equally important.

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