SEOUL, KOREA — Last December, Gangnam-gu established its own ultra high-speed communication network and opened “u-Gangnam City Control Center,” which oversees 1,079 CCTVs installed in the area. Gangnam-gu is the first Seoul district in Korea to install CCTV and set precedence in crime prevention. The city control tower controls 1,079 CCTV installed in Gangnam-gu, which is the largest number of CCTVs installed in any district in Korea, and received keen interest from other local government and businesses. “U-Gangnam City Control Center” was launched on the second floor of Yeoksam Police Station at Gangnam-gu with floor space of 575.54㎡, and an operating personnel of 68 people, which includes 47 CCTV operators, four policemen, five city control personnel and 12 maintenance staff.
The location of the center is especially convenient since the 2nd floor of Yeoksam Police Station allows the team to take immediate action to any emergency situation. The center was also designed in a way that its space and function can be easily adjusted, and, in an emergency situation, the CCTV for parking control can be quickly converted to crime surveillance cameras, enhancing the district’s security even further. In addition, a specialized system introduced an intelligent surveillance system to CCTV in elementary schools for the first time in Korea. Such an effort has paid off and Seoul City awarded the Gangnam-gu District Office in IT evaluation with the highest honor in 2011.
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Gangnam-gu Office set up a 5-year annual plan (Table 1) in 2010, in order to systematically develop their informatization project. Shin Yeon-hee, Mayer of Gangnam-gu Office, said, “Gangnam-gu e-government began in 1995 amid start of local autonomy, by establishing main computer room and LAN network. It has since received domestic and overseas recognition, winning many awards and becoming study cases for outstanding performances.” She added, “So far, over 10,000 civil servants and IT personnel from Korea and elsewhere visited the district and benchmarked Gangnam-gu e-government”
Why u-Gangnam City Control Center
What differentiates u-Gangnam City Control Center from other districts lies in the introduction of the feature called “intelligent image analysis” to 30 elementary schools in the district as a proactive step to prevent and respond to crimes involving children. The office also added specialized features including “smart search” with increased search efficiency for large volume image data; “cast net surveillance” that enables simultaneous observation of different peripheral areas when a case is notified, as well as high-precision 3D GIS map. Furthermore, in collaboration with school security personnel, the surveillance cameras installed around the elementary, middle, and high schools in addition to those inside the schools are used for observing the areas when students come and leave the school. The cameras and emergency alarms that are identical to actual models help children pay attention and learn how to respond in emergency situations.
“As the name u-Gangnam City Control Center suggests,” Ms. Shin said, “Gangnam-gu is planning to continuously evolve and develop the center as a centerpiece of smart city by providing a variety of information and contents suitable for the future-oriented information age.” She also explained that “we will actively utilized u-Gangnam City Control Center to improve security and living environment of the residents based on the data including traffic situation collected from the sensors on CCTV and broadband data communication network. The development of various contents such as child protector, u-facility management, and u-health and welfare will be part of the ubiquitous city surveillance”.
Residents’ satisfaction increases with e-government infrastructure
Gangnam-gu has been the center of attention in Korea and other countries alike, as autonomous district equipped with e-government infrastructure. With the slogan “Smart Gangnam,” the district has been striving to establish e-government and, since 2000, developed many e-government services with reduced opportunity costs while increasing residents’ satisfaction. This led to benchmarking in Korea and abroad as well as exportation in innovative cases of informatization projects. The “internet civil document issuance system, “developed by Gangnam-gu Office in 2002 allowed different civil documents to be issued via the internet at home or office, was standardized by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security and used nationwide in the form of Government for Citizen(G4C). The service then established itself as Korea’s main online civil service, named “Minwon 24” since August 2010.
Gangnam-gu also suggested an idea to utilize new technology with the TV e-government service, which provides services like civil document issuance and tax payment through TV. By implementing this idea, e-government provides accessibility to those who are unfamiliar to information technology. Moreover, the “Gangnam-gu Office internet lecture” was part of the office’s effort to improve educational equality by providing the lectures by renowned teachers in Gangnam to 1.46 million students nationwide.
Smart Gangnam goes international
With its 5-year annual plan for e-government that will be completed by 2014 Gangnam-gu is planning to establish an integrated city surveillance system for Smart city, or Ubiquitous city (u-City), and provide personalized civil service. The Broadband communication network, which was established by Gangnam-gu, was set up last year as a core infrastructure to enhance the district’s competence through ubiquitous e-government. “The broadband network has reduced the ever-increasing administrative network and CCTV circuit rental fee while improving the communication speed, consequently boosting residents’ satisfaction,” Mayer of the district, Ms. Shin explained. “Gangnam-gu will be able to provide more convenient service for its residents as we can now efficiently respond to communication demands for different informatization projects.”
In 2012, Gangnam-gu decided on “global smart Gangnam for residents’ happiness” as their e-government strategy and plans to concentrate on expanding and improving the e-government based on the existing infrastructure. The office is planning 66 projects in four informatization areas – i.e., improving residents’ quality of life; boosting the local economy; providing administrative service focused on participation and communication; and establishing ubiquitous platform – with a budget of KRW 18 billion.
“Among this year’s projects, the internet phone system, integrated server virtualization for data processing room, and enhanced security solution will not only strengthen work efficiency and residents’ satisfaction but it will also form the foundation of better e-government and information protection,” Ms. Shin said, promising e-government projects that are based on safety and convenience.