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Hong Kong unveils Smart City Blueprint with initiatives in 6 areas: Mobility, Living, Environment, People, Government and Economy

Hong Kong unveils Smart City Blueprint with initiatives in 6 areas: Mobility

On December 15, the Hong Kong Government released the Smart City Blueprint (“the Blueprint”) for Hong Kong with a vision to build Hong Kong into a world-class smart city. The Blueprint maps out development plans in the next five years, aiming to enhance the effectiveness of city management and improve people’s quality of living as well as Hong Kong’s attractiveness and sustainability by making use of innovation and technology (I&T).

The Government had commissioned a comprehensive consultancy study which made short-, medium- and long-term recommendations in six major areas, namely: “Smart Mobility”, “Smart Living”, “Smart Environment”, “Smart
People”, “Smart Government” and “Smart Economy”. The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer invited
members of the public
to give views on the recommendations made in the report of the consultancy study on the smart city blueprint, during the period from August 1 to September 30, 2017.

The Blueprint lists out the final strategies and initiatives in the above mentioned six major areas. The Government has taken into consideration Hong Kong’s challenges, unique local situation and strengths and opportunities ahead, and maps out in the Blueprint its smart city development plans in the next five years, and beyond.

Some highlights of the initiatives are as follows:

Smart Mobility

  • Integrate existing e-transport applications into an all-in-one mobile app by 2018 to facilitate journey
    planning;
  • Release real-time information o franchised buses through mobile devices by 2018 and information display panels at government public transport interchanges and covered bus stops by 2020;
  • Complete the installation of traffic detectors in all strategic roads to provide real-time traffic information by 2020;
  • Install new on-street parking meters to support multiple payment systems starting from 2019-20 with provision of real-time parking vacancy information; In light of the results of the feasibility study, engage the public to develop a detailed Electronic Road Pricing Pilot Scheme in Central and its adjacent areas and its implementation strategy in 2019; Facilitate trials of autonomous vehicles in the West Kowloon Cultural District and other areas as appropriate;
  • Establish bicycle-friendly new towns and new development areas;
  • Continue to take forward “Walk in HK” by providing a pedestrian-friendly environment; and
  • Provide hassle-free experience for passengers with a smart airport.

 Smart Living

  • Develop a Faster Payment System by 2018 which supports e-payments anytime and anywhere;
  • Facilitate a QR code standard to promote the wider use of mobile retail payments and bring greater convenience to customers and merchants;
  • Launch a $1 billion funding scheme in 2018 to support trial use and procurement of technology products by elderly and rehabilitation service units;
  • Set up a Big Data Analytics Platform by the Hospital Authority for facilitating healthcare-related research
    in 2019, and start adopting a smart hospital approach by 2020; and
  • Provide all residents, by 2020, a free electronic identity (eID) which is a single digital identity for authentication when conducting government and commercial transactions online.

 Smart Environment

  • Phase down coal-fired electricity generation gradually and replace with natural gas and non-fossil fuel sources;
  • Apply renewable energy on a wider and larger scale based on mature and commercially available technologies with the public sector taking the lead;
  • Install LED lamps in public lighting systems progressively starting from 2017-18 and encourage retrofitting
    LED lighting for existing government buildings;
  • Promote retro-commissioning and building-based smart/IT technologies; and
  • Use remote sensing devices to monitor air pollution, cleanliness of streets and public places, and usage
    of litter and recycling bins.

Smart People

  • Organise intensive training programmes on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education for curriculum leaders of primary and secondary schools from the 2017/18 to 2019/20 school years;
  • Encourage industries to hire STEM graduates for research and development (R&D) through the Postdoctoral Hub programme and the enhanced Internship Programme;
  • Attract and retain more I&T professionals, especially in biotechnology, data science, artificial intelligence, robotics and cyber security. Launch a fast-track I&T talent admission scheme in 2018; and
  • Provide support to young entrepreneurs and start-ups to build a stronger I&T culture.

 Smart Government

  • Fifth generation (5G) mobile networks can offer ultra-high speed and high capacity, support device-to-device ultra-reliable/low-latency communications, and enable massive machine-to-machine communications for better implementation of the Internet of Things. Hong Kong is all geared up for the commercial launch of 5G services and applications in 2020;
  • Open up more public and private sector data in digital forms to facilitate research and innovation;
  • Adopt eID common login by 2020 and enhance the e-services user experience with the help of artificial
    intelligence, chatbot and big data analytics;
  • Implement the multi-functional smart lampposts pilot scheme starting from 2019 to facilitate collection of
    real-time city data to enhance city management and other public services;
  • Build a new big data analytics platform by 2020 which will enable real-time data transmission and sharing
    among government departments;
  • Revamp the government cloud infrastructure platform by 2020 to enable digital government services delivery; and
  • Adopt Building Information Modelling for major government capital works projects starting from 2018 and develop Common Spatial Data Infrastructure by 2023.

 Smart Economy

  • Facilitate the introduction of virtual banking as another model of service delivery;
  • Provide tourist facilitation services through smart technologies by 2018 at the Hong Kong International Airport, the West Kowloon Station of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link and the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge;
  • Provide enhanced tax deduction for qualifying expenditure incurred by enterprises on R&D in 2018-19 to
    incentivise companies to increase investment in technological R&D;
  • Review the Government’s procurement arrangements by 2018 to include I&T as well as design thinking
    as tender requirements to encourage local technological innovation; and
  • Review existing legislation and regulations so as to amend outdated provisions which impede I&T
    development.

The Government recognises that smart city requires collaboration among the Government, industry, academia and citizens. The Government will consider appropriate implementation models, including public-private partnership, for smart city projects. New technology solutions will also be tested in a smart region living lab.

The Steering Committee on Innovation and Technology chaired by the Chief Executive has started operation to steer development of I&T and smart city projects.

A Smart City Office will also be set up in the Innovation and Technology Bureau to take charge of the overall co-ordination and monitoring of the progress and effectiveness of smart city projects.

The Blueprint notes that smart city is people-centric and that it should be built upon the needs of the people. To enable the public to stay well informed of smart city development, relevant bureaux and departments will provide progress updates on their work plans, as well as relevant facts and figures from time to time. The Government will also review from time to time the effectiveness of work and introduce new measures to bring in more I&T applications to Hong Kong.

Read the Hong Kong Smart City Blueprint here.

Access the dedicated smart city portal here.

Featured image: Jim Trodel/CC BY-SA 2.0

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