Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is already one of the world’s smartest cities. More than 95% of its residents have 4G and 5G access and the city has free Wi-Fi access at more than 100,000 access points. The city is now planning to build a metaverse in all the sections of municipal government. This city-wide metaverse ecosystem is known as “Metaverse Seoul”.
The project is leveraging digital twins, virtual reality, and collaboration in a bid to improve city services, planning, and administration as well as to promote virtual tourism in the city.
The development of the Metaverse Seoul ecosystem is already in progress. Users can already create avatars on the platform and explore a virtual recreation of the mayor’s office.
The city’s long-term vision for the metaverse ecosystem is to incorporate support for business development services, education and to provide support for city services including filing complaints, inquiring about real estate, and filing taxes. The city administration hopes to run the metaverse as an open and free service for the citizens.
The city says the project is aimed at making it easier for the residents to connect with government services and with one another. The project is also aimed at overcoming time, space, and language constraints. Finally, through the metaverse ecosystem, the city aims to explore new ways of improving satisfaction and user experience.
The metaverse platform aims to help in consolidating access to services in the city. The platform will also allow the city to simplify and easily expand services that leverage 3D digital twins to improve public infrastructure in the city, report fires, and enhance access to local security footage.
There is, for instance, an S-Map service with a digital twin for real-time fire monitoring, urban planning as well as wind path analysis. The platform also has a safety service, Ansimi App which connects users with the police services in Seoul and the police can subsequently tap into camera feeds and location data to fast-track investigations.
The team has a five-year plan to increase the capabilities of the platform in a number of key areas. The Metaverse Seoul ecosystem already offers a business services portal that gives startups a location in the metaverse where they can showcase new business ideas as well as services.
There is also an educational portal with 34 campus towns that offer coaching, networking, and collaboration opportunities.
There is virtual tourism that both local and international tourists can tap into to sample the current and historical attractions.
In the future, Metaverse Seoul will also have an infrastructure to support the city’s large festivals and museum exhibits.
Many of the large players in the metaverse are already thinking of it as a future workplace and this project, too, wants to incorporate virtual coworking spaces that will enable the city’s citizens to work remotely in this metaverse just as they currently do in a real office.
In the future, the projects want to add an “AI-based public servant” that will work in a metaverse office and closely collaborate with others to deliver public services according to Seoul’s smart city policy bureau CIO Jong-Soo Park.