Image from The Korea Times / Courtesy of Seoul Metropolitan Government
Several months ago, Cheonggye Stream in downtown Seoul set up a marriage proposal spot near Dumul Bridge, where citizens can have their own video clip played on a big screen as the backdrop to a romantic proposal. The clip can feature their marriage proposal, which will be played to their prospective lover.
That may sound like a once-in-a-while occasion, but the the famed ubiquitous city (U-city) project in Seoul also promises several new experiences in the day-to-day lives of citizens. I am listing eight here. Some of them are already operational, others are due anytime.
- You are at a restaurant. To catch a waiter’s attention, no need for waving or calling out any more – just touch a wireless device at your table, and your waiter will show up.
- Bus stops carry displays that show you where your bus is, so you can decide whether to wait for it.
- Media poles along sidewalks help you search for city information.
- You need a copy of your vehicle registration. At any subway station, walk up to a kiosk that recognizes your thumbprint and issues public documents. You have your paperwork in minutes.
- A child wears a U-tag which alerts parents on cell phone if he/she leaves a designated safety zone, such as a school campus.
- Before you venture along a route, check air quality and traffic conditions over cell phone.
- Leave a city-issued RFID tag on your car’s dashboard. If you don’t take your car out on the streets for a day, you automatically receive an insurance discount.
- When you get on and off a bus, swipe a plastic card and it calculates fare based on how far you went.
It is easy to see how the downtown’s four-mile long Cheonggye Stream walkway will be a fertile ground for launching innovations in interactivity.