Seoul says that it will become the first local government in South Korea to launch a metaverse public service platform.
The initiative is the brainchild of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, which will launch a metaverse platform as part of its attempts to create a “contactless communication channel in the post-pandemic era.”
The South Korean capital said, in an official release, that its tentatively named Metaverse Seoul “high-performance platform” would be operational “by the end of next year,” forging a metaverse ecosystem “for all areas of its municipal administration, such as economic, cultural, tourism, educational and civic service.”
The city government said that its platform would debut “in three stages from 2022,” and a pilot event has been slated for the year’s end.
Most years on December 31, crowds gather in downtown Seoul to the belfry at Bosingak, where a historic bell is traditionally rung at midnight to usher in the New Year.
The city wants to take its 120 telephone information service and helpline onto the platform, with a new tentatively named Metaverse 120 Center slated for debut in 2022, featuring “avatar public officials in the metaverse,” who “will provide convenient consultations and civil service, which was available only through the [bricks-and-mortar] civil service center at Seoul City Hall.”
And Seoul pledged to create “business support facilities and services,” such as a “Virtual Mayor’s Office, Seoul FinTech Lab, Invest Seoul and Seoul Campus Town” on the platform.
Tourism is also a focus: Domestic and international “visitors” will be able to tour Seoul landmarks such as the Gwanghwamun Square, the Deoksugung Palace and the lively Namdaemun Market on a “Virtual Tourist Zone.” And no-longer-extant historical landmarks, such as Donuimun Gate, part of the old city walls, “will be recreated in the virtual space.”
Seoul’s signature street parade, the Seoul Lantern Festival, will also be offered to online “tourists” from 2023.
Certain Seoul districts have also begun exploring metaverse-powered HR solutions in recent months. NSP Tongshin reported that Yangcheon, in the southwest of the city, conducted two employee training using metaverse solutions on September 17 and October 1.
The media outlet quoted the Yangcheon District Council leader Kim Soo-young as stating,
“The metaverse will also play an important role in administrative infrastructure. We will provide opportunities for its utilization and look at various administrative services that can be implemented within the metaverse.”
The South Korean commercial bank KEB Hana has been exploring metaverse solutions, too. And, per the Simin Ilbo in September, the bank has already created a financial advisory platform to help customers maximize their tax savings, allowing them to chat with avatars representing its financial assistants.
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