– Korea-Colombia Business Forum –
On April 18th, a Korea-Columbia business forum was held in Colombia with presidents from both countries and over 500 major business people. The topic of this forum was the Korea-Colombia FTA and LG CNS’ ICT cooperation.
It’s very rare to mention a private corporation’s suggestion for ICT cooperation as a main topic to be discussed. This shows that ICT cooperation is drawing attention as a new paradigm for economic cooperation between two companies and developments.
President Manuel Santos’ message at this Korea-Colombia Business Forum recognized the achievements of the LG CNS transportation card system project in Bogota, and President Geun-hye Park also mentioned that LG CNS as an exemplary case of successful economic cooperation.
LG CNS, ‘Korea-Colombia ICT Cooperation’ which suggested Colombia e-Government project to adopt the Korean system was also a highlight for many participants.
As the first Korean IT service company to succeed in entering Colombia’s ICT market, LG CNS played its role successfully even in economic diplomacy with Central and South America. This was possible thanks to the reputation LG CNS earned in Colombia as a strong ICT company.
LG CNS won the contract on the project for Bogota’s transportation card system in July, 2011 as well as the Colombia ICT education capability building project in December, 2013 and has been running them successfully.
Bogota Transportation Card System Drawing Attention in Central and South America
Bogota was one of the cities that were suffering from traffic congestion caused by the large number of cars and taxis, trunk buses, zonal buses, and feeder buses with complicated public transportation systems and frequent traffic violations. Public transportation like zonal buses and feeder buses were also known to worsen this problem as they tend to pass designated bus stops or stop at random spots wherever people flag them down to get on.
The competition among thousands of small bus companies with just a single bus also caused inconvenience including ineffective bus intervals and complicated bus routes, as well as environmental problems such as exhaust fumes. Besides, average monthly expenses for public transportation were up to 70,000 pesos (about 3.5 USD) which is too high at around 10% of the monthly minimum wage of 600,000 pesos (about 300 USD), so it was necessary to find a way to lower the cost.
In order to solve these problems, Bogota decided to pay full attention and created a project worth $320 million for the international bidding. This was to construct a transportation card system for 151 bus terminals and 12,000 buses in the city.
TransMilenio S.A., the Bogota transportation organization, opened the entire process to the public from bidding announcements to the evaluation on technologies and prices. Citizens were so interested in this process that they broadcasted the public hearing for the project live on TV to ensure impartial assessment and selection.
LG CNS went through fierce competition with global companies from Spain and Brazil for three months starting in May of 2011, and won the contract for the Bogota transportation card system project. Major media outlets in Colombia like EL TIEMPO also covered the news that the Korean transportation card system would be adopted in Bogota.
The system has been constructed over 26 terminals and 7,700 buses, and all 151 terminals and 12,000 buses are expected to have the Korean transportation card system within a year.
Thanks to the technology from LG CNS, citizens in Bogota can now transfer much quicker with a single transportation card, and the city can provide a much simpler transportation system, merging bus companies and adjusting intervals and routes by analyzing big data from buses connected to the GPS system.
When passengers tag their cards on the reader on the bus, information on the ride, fare, and GPS is sent to TransMilenio through the network. They analyze this information to see where buses are and what’s causing traffic congestion in order to come up with solutions like adding more buses. The accumulated data helps optimize routes and intervals as well.
Such operational information for buses creates the additional effect of lowering crime rates in Bogota. This is because the number of crimes targeting people waiting for buses in the past when there weren’t any bus stops has decreased dramatically.
Through such innovation on public transportation, Bogota solved a number of transportation issues: getting rid of traffic congestion by reducing the number of cars, increasing the amount of collected transportation fees by creating a transparent and integrated card system, reducing the cost of bus management by merging bus companies, lowering the bus service distances by optimizing bus routes, improving the air quality by reducing CO2 emissions, lessening the burden of transportation fees for the citizens by providing transfer discounts and discounts for low-income people, the disabled, teenagers, and senior citizens.
Entering the ICT Industry in Central and South America
Reflecting their recent economic growth, the demand for IT infrastructure is increasing in Central and South America. Korean companies have a good chance of getting into this market as there aren’t many local companies with high-end technologies. Based on the success in Bogota, LG CNS is looking for a new project in other countries in the region related to smart transportation in which they’re specialized, such as railway communication, automatic fare collection, transport operation and information service, bus management and information system, fleet management system, and platform screen door systems.
LG CNS is working hard to show the excellence of Korean ICT in many Central and South American countries including Sao Paulo in Brazil (bus service information system), Lima in Peru (transportation card system), Mexico, and Ecuador besides Colombia where a discussion for the smart transportation system (subway communication, fare collection, platform screen door, etc.) in Bogota and other smaller cities are in process.
The CEO of LG CNS, DaeHoon Kim visited Colombia on an economic mission and stated “based on Colombia as the starting point, LG CNS will do its best to spread Korea’s advanced ICT in all regions of Central and South America like Chile, Peru, and Brazil, with the responsibility of Korea’s leading IT service corporation.”
Another successful project carried out by LG CNS in Colombia was the ICT Education Capability Building worth $35 million which began in December 2013. This project, by the Ministry of Education in Colombia aims to resolve the educational gap between the rich and poor, raising the quality of education by innovating the educational methods and environment, and passing on the technology to create educational content.
This project distributes educational content and equipment from five Educational Innovation Centers furnished with ICT educational equipment to over fifty elementary and middle schools. Each region operates five education centers to instruct 16,000 teachers on how to use the content and equipment. It also selects 50 schools to build smart classrooms with 250 experts creating educational content and assessing them. LG CNS had been recognized for its technological capability in Ubaté for the success of its Funding Project for Overseas Expansion of Korean Education Service prior to this project.
One of the reasons for the projects that LG CNS ran in Colombia are meaningful is because they pioneered a new market in helping other smaller Korean companies penetrate this market as a major corporation. We look forward to seeing LG CNS spread Korea’s IT skills in Colombia, Central and South America, and around the world in the future.
Written by LG CNS New Media Team