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Hong Kong: Empowering Construction with Tech

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The Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) held an inauguration ceremony for the “ConTech and PropTech Alliance,” an initiative designed to advance the construction industry through innovative technologies. This alliance aims to enhance construction efficiency, quality, and safety, ultimately accelerating industry development. The event was officiated by the Secretary for Housing of the HKSAR Government, along with the Chairman of ASTRI, and the Chief Executive Officer of ASTRI.

Image Credits: ASTRI, Press Release

The Secretary for Housing of the HKSAR Government emphasised the government’s commitment to integrating advanced technologies into public housing construction and management to improve residents’ well-being. Highlighting collaboration with organisations like ASTRI, she pointed to ongoing research in technologies to enhance Modular Integrated Construction (MiC) and Multi-trade Integrated Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MiMEP) methods. The goal is to improve the speed, efficiency, quantity, and quality of public housing development.

ASTRI’s ConTech and PropTech Alliance unites representatives from universities, research institutes, and industry players, fostering innovation and collaboration. This alliance encourages industry upgrades and transformation through cutting-edge technology integration.

The Chairman of ASTRI noted that the construction and real estate sectors are significant contributors to Hong Kong’s GDP. However, the industry faces challenges such as high construction costs, an ageing workforce, and frequent accidents. He expressed confidence that advanced technologies can address these issues, reduce construction costs, improve efficiency, and enhance site safety, thus expediting the development of “New Quality Productive Forces.” With major projects expected to cost HK$300 billion annually over the next decade, the industry can leverage technology to boost productivity and capability.

The Chief Executive Officer of ASTRI highlighted the Alliance’s role in creating a comprehensive ecosystem involving government bodies, academic institutions, industry stakeholders, real estate participants, technology providers, and industry organisations. This ecosystem aims to revolutionise traditional construction and property management processes, enhancing efficiency and safety, and supporting Hong Kong’s progression towards becoming a smart city.

ASTRI’s collaboration with the Hong Kong Housing Society (HKIS) and Hip Hing Construction demonstrates its commitment to the practical application of innovative technologies. Under this agreement, Hip Hing Construction will implement ASTRI’s technologies in HKIS’s projects to enhance efficiency and safety.

Key technologies developed by ASTRI for the construction and real estate industries include:

  1. Site Safety: A solution using passive cooling and edge AI technology to identify hazardous areas, issue warnings, detect abnormal motions, and prevent collisions. A neuromorphic sensing-based site safety monitoring system is also deployed in Hong Kong to improve construction safety in confined spaces.
  2. Crane Safety: Solutions track head movements, analyse body posture, monitor heart rates to detect operator fatigue, and use Fibre Bragg Grating (FBG) sensors for real-time metal frame abnormalities. A real-time intrusion alert system enhances safety monitoring in extreme environments.
  3. MiC Positioning: A Smart Optical Sensing System provides millimeter-level precision positioning from hundreds of meters away, enhancing efficiency in Modular Integrated Construction (MiC) positioning and alignment with digital twin technology.
  4. Mixed Reality Helmet: This solution integrates Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Building Information Modelling (BIM), and Metaverse technologies for education, simulation, training, and operation assistance, with the potential for 5G integration.
  5. Universal AI Predictive Maintenance System for Lifts: Using IoT data, this AI system predicts lift breakdowns and reduces downtime through remote, real-time monitoring and accurate breakdown prediction, compatible with various lift manufacturers.

Industry leaders shared insights during panel discussions on construction safety, sustainability, and the future of PropTech innovation. The discussions emphasised the potential of ConTech and PropTech to address industry challenges and drive future growth.

Through the ConTech and PropTech Alliance, ASTRI aims to spearhead the integration of advanced technologies in construction, enhancing industry standards and supporting Hong Kong’s development as a smart city.

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