Cisco invests in Korean venture for smart buildings and cities

Cisco's collaboration with a Korean telecommunications company is aimed at bridging the IT and communications markets

Cisco is acquiring a minority stake in a subsidiary of KT, a South Korean telecommunications services company, which will offer managed services for smart buildings and smart city projects from January.

The investment in KC Smart Service (KCSS) is part of a global strategic collaboration between the two companies to bridge the IT and communications markets, Cisco said on Monday.

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The new venture will be funded with starting capital of US$30 million from KT and Cisco. KT will be in charge of the overall management of the operations of the new company which will be headquartered in Korea.

KCSS will initially target 14 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan and China, Cisco said. The company will have 30 staff to start with, including experts in the areas of smart space, which may be increased to 70 by next year.

The venture will deploy technologies from both KT and Cisco, including Cisco's Unified Service Delivery Platform, Cisco said. The companies have executed agreements that establish the framework for their collaboration, enabling KCSS to have the ability to incorporate the technologies and tools of KT and Cisco.

KT and Cisco are also looking at collaborating in business-to-business services and cloud computing. KT has plans to establish a cloud business by the end of the year, and establish a research and development (R&D) center in Silicon Valley early next year.

Cisco said in July it was taking a minority stake in U.Life Solutions, a company focused on delivering managed smart and connected community services to residents and businesses in Songdo International Business District, a new city on the coast of Incheon in South Korea.

KT said last month it would launch a tablet, called the Smart Home Pad, that includes a number of smart home services such as home security on a Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 Wi-Fi

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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