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Seoul announces metaverse platform to boost biz, tourism, governance

Seoul announces metaverse platform to boost biz, tourism, governance
Photo Credit: Seoul Metropolitan Government
10 Nov, 2021

South Korea’s capital Seoul will get its own official metaverse platform that will incorporate a wide range of elements including administrative, business, tourism services and more.  

The move was announced by the urban planning division of Seoul’s city government, which states that the first phase of its metaverse platform will be live and operational by the end of 2022. 

The initiative also marks the first official adoption of a mixed reality metaverse platform by a city on an administrative level.  

The metropolitan government of Seoul states that once completed, the metaverse project will be an ecosystem that incorporates sub-systems featuring economic services, cultural events, tourist attractions, and educational and civic services as well.  

The latter will include a virtual mayor’s office as well as a virtual Seoul Campus Town – a community synergy already in place in the real world. 

In terms of businesses, the metaverse will also sport a virtual version of the Seoul Fintech Lab, as well as a hub for Invest Seoul.  

The eventual ecosystem, the city government says, will be built in three stages.  

From 2023, the Seoul metaverse will feature a virtual public service centre that will feature avatars of public service officials – who will also be capable of offering civic service consultations through the platform. 

“In addition, Seoul’s major tourist attractions, such as Gwanghwamun Plaza, Deoksugung Palace and Namdaemun Market, will be introduced through the “Virtual Tourist Zone,” and lost historical resources, such as Donuimun Gate, will be recreated in the virtual space.  

From 2023, Seoul’s leading festivals, such as the Seoul Lantern Festival, will be held in the metaverse so that it can be enjoyed by all people around the world. The SMG will also develop services for the socially vulnerable including safety and convenience content for people with disabilities using extended reality,” reads a statement from the Seoul city government announcing the project. 

Facebook’s announcement of its metaverse plans has led to an avalanche of announcements in similar terms. Microsoft presented its own vision of metaverse at workplaces at the Ignite 2021 conference, and also suggested that gaming metaverses would also be a thing.  

Qualcomm yesterday announced its own developer platform to help companies make apps and services geared towards metaverses, while Nvidia also announced new projects under its own metaverse initiative – ‘Omniverse’. 

The Seoul city government’s announcement offers a glimpse of what such technologies can produce in real world administrative projects. The city government’s statement says that its adoption of the metaverse is a bid to overcome temporal, linguistic and spatial limitations of the real world when it comes to producing public services.  

It further claims that such a move will help its municipal administration increase efficiency by automating a large chunk of its needs. 

The city also has a five-year Metaverse Seoul Master Plan, in which it would seek to establish an ecosystem across seven divisions – administrative, communication, cultural, economic, educational, infrastructure, tourism and urban development.