Busan is at the forefront of something big.

As South Korea’s second-largest metropolitan city, Busan boasts a population of about 3.6 million, and is home to a slew of major companies, government agencies, universities, annual festivals, and conferences. Busan is the country’s largest container-handling port, and the fifth- largest in the world. Like other metropolitan areas, the city struggles with managing terrible traffic congestion and the attendant high logistical costs; maintaining job-creation momentum for the 60,000 high-quality and high-skill job seekers who graduate from area universities each year; and meeting the demand for an innovative city operations system that helps ensure global competitiveness.

Cisco IBSG has been working with Busan’s Metropolitan Government to develop plans for a “u-City.” U, in this case, stands for “ubiquitous,” which also describes the city’s broadband penetration. Busan’s “smart and connected” urban communities use the network as a platform—on top of which it can deploy innovative urban-planning solutions and city management services. The city uses the network to connect, process, and share information efficiently, and in real time.

By building a “green U-city,” Busan is:

  • Giving talented young people a chance to participate in knowledge-based industries by creating an environment where they can utilize public data assets as key resources, just as they would use start-up capital or legal tools.
  • Enabling a better quality of life for its citizens, such as enhanced safety, through the provision of high-quality “Smart City services.”
  • Promoting sustainable development by placing ICT enablement at the heart of economic development.

Busan’s Metropolitan Government funded the Busan City IT Industry Promotion Agency. The Agency, in turn, established the Busan Mobile Application Center (BMAC). The objective of the BMAC is to boost the local economy and create diverse job opportunities—all by providing a shared mobile application development platform and cloud-based services infrastructure that encourages young entrepreneurs. BMAC acts as an open innovation center by providing training and resources to individual developers and SMBs for co-creating citizen-centric Smart City services.

BMAC marks the first phase of the city’s deployment of a new suite of “smart and connected” services, and it’s doing so in collaboration with two companies: KT, the country’s leading service provider; and Cisco.

Through cloud infrastructure, Busan is creating a new ecosystem for economic development. The effective distribution of smart services helps create quality jobs while also facilitating innovative start-ups. It’s a world-class example of how to tackle unemployment and unleash innovation through intelligent use of ICT.

Want to know more? Check out this new video, which tells the story behind the “green u-city initiatives under way in Busan, arguably South Korea’s most dynamic city.


Gordon Feller

Director, Urban Innovations, Public Sector Practice Internet Business Solutions Group

Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG)