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Shown above is an image of a smart city. South Korea’s Osan plans to build a blockchain-based smart city by 2024. Photo courtesy of Pixabay

US tech giant NVIDIA joins the mega-sized project

South Korea plans to build a smart city by 2024 to brace for blockchain technology in a full-fledged manner. U.S. tech giant NVIDIA will also join the project.

Echo&Smart, the developer of the Osan smart city situated about 50 kilometers south of Seoul, recently said that it had joined hands with domestic blockchain company Bloom Technology.

Under the partnership, Bloom Technology will help establish a blockchain system so that residents and commuters in the new city will save and control their data safely and securely.

Once the “personal data vault” system is set up on the blockchain infrastructure, corporations will be able to take advantage of the data, and in return, people will receive rewards.

As the personal data vault includes such private information as locations, movements, and even health data, blockchain-based security is significant, according to Bloom Technology.

People, who agree to offer their data, will receive rewards based on “smart contracts,” in line with the amount of their information used by interested companies.

Bloom Technology also noted that its blockchain technology, called Locus Chain, can process many transactions in a fraction of a second, unlike other blockchain technologies, which typically slow down in dealing with transactions.

“By cooperating with Bloom Technology, we will create the artificial intelligence-enabled smart city step by step,” Echo&Smart CEO Kim Sang-ryeol said.

Bloom Technology President Lee Sang-yoon said that the blockchain infrastructure will benefit citizens.

“We have had a deep thought about the blockchain ecosystem for a smart city, which is an unprecedented attempt as far as I know,” he said.

“Our blockchain technology will help accumulate data necessary for the AI industries. And the advantages will be enjoyed by people.”

NVIDIA in Osan smart city

During the first half of 2022, Osan plans to start building a smart city complex at a 600,000 square-meter site with the goal of completing it by 2024. Headed by Echo&Smart, Korea’s Hyundai Engineering, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor, will work as the main constructor.

In February, Osan and Echo&Smart signed a memorandum of understanding with NVIDIA. The U.S. powerhouse is set to help make the smart city’s master plan while offering expertise to various AI projects.

In March, South Korea’s leading telecom operator also opted to join the project. It will be in charge of setting up a data network ecosystem.

Osan smart city would invest more than $1 billion to construct nine high-rise buildings to accommodate around 1,700 corporations and employ some 20,000 people.

The city strives to attract high-tech companies in AI and research outfits focusing on information-communication technology.

In particular, Osan has announced that the city aims to create a live AI laboratory in the smart city where people’s everyday data can provide valuable sources to corporations.

To house the new workers in the smart city, such contractors as Keumho Engineering & Construction are building apartment complexes there.

“All other smart cities in Korea are spearheaded by central or regional governments. But the Osan city is headed by the private sector. Hence, it can be much more efficient and faster,” Echo&Smart CEO Kim said.

“In addition, we are closely cooperating with Osan to secure the land and get the necessary approvals. We will build the leading smart city in Osan by 2024.”

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The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at voc200@gmail.com or 82-2-6956-6698.