Songdo: Big Data @ the smart city

While megacities around the world turn to the latest technology to become “smarter”, South Korea, one of the countries at the forefront of technology, is creating what will be the first smart city on the planet: Songdo International Business District.

Songdo will be located only 40 kilometers from the capital Seoul andis the most expensive development project in history, with an approximate cost of 35 billion dollars, mainly provided by the company Gale International and the bank Morgan Stanley.

This smart city of the future will have a 40 percent green space, will be fully interconnected and able to control the use of electricity, water and even the degree of street lighting depending on traffic.

The company Cisco networks cabled every inch of the city, installing wireless sensors that will send their data to a central system.Information about traffic, temperature and energy demand will be analyzed and smart decisions will be taken to make these platforms more efficient. For instance, through this system, the cameras installed in the streets will monitor the traffic of pedestrians and cars, and if a street is empty, the intensity of the lights may be reduced to enlarge it in another busiest district.

Each home will have touch screens on their walls that will allow to easily control your home temperature, sound system, opening or closing the curtains. All the devices at home will be connected to a smart grid capable of distinguishing between energy use of a TV or a microwave, allowing to adapt to the peak hours of consumption.

Homes at Songdo are selling well, and some companies are beginning to emerge spontaneously from the boulevards and empty windows.

But, Would you like to live in a city where everything is interconnected, monitored, optimized?

How data privacy should be enforced, protected, controlled?

While some of us would probably be happy living in a non-smart home inside smart city where big data is gathered only outside our door. Somebody else wouldn’t even like the whole idea and would be happy sitting in an un-optimized traffic jam every morning always that a central system would never change the lightning in one of our favorite streets where he/she would like to have his/her evenings walks.

While Smart Cities are a huge opportunity for improving energy efficiency and inhabitants comfort, these benefits come to a price. In this case we might need to pay with part our privacy which will directly impact our perception of our freedom.

How much would you be willing to pay?



8 thoughts on “Songdo: Big Data @ the smart city

  1. Alex says:

    I guess the biggest problem with such cities is privacy. Although technology brings a lot of benefits, many people, including me, would feel like being under surveillance 24/7.

    Some say it supports protection and security, but at the same time it could become a desirable target for hackers.


    • Alex says:

      Diana, I guess half of the population of a city like that would be worried about their privacy. And some wouldn’t appear outside without being wrapped up in a tin foil…


  2. martia12 says:

    After watching the robosapiens documentary yesterday and seeing how we can already give movement orders to rats already, I would rather not going out for a walk without proper tin foil protection either in a totally connected city.

    Better safe than sorry! 🙂


  3. martia12 says:

    Great article! l think it is a great idea to store data in DNA. I will keep reading in the subject from now on…
    Who knows we might go back to use pigeons to send messages but this time we wont be tying notes to their legs 🙂


  4. chewardy says:

    But Alberto, soon you’ll have wifi in your head and then it’s only a matter of time before commands are run through your wifi connection! You could be the next remote-control rat!


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