The seventh annual Gerontech and Innovation Expo cum Summit (GIES), a pioneering tech-centric event co-organised by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) was inaugurated at the esteemed Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The global pace of population ageing is accelerating at an unprecedented rate. According to the United Nations, the demographic aged 65 and above is projected to burgeon from 10% of the global populace in 2022 to a staggering 16% by 2050.
This demographic shift is particularly pronounced in Hong Kong, with projections from the Census and Statistics Department indicating that the proportion of elderly individuals will surge from 20.5% in 2021 to a staggering 36% by 2046. This extrapolation signifies that more than one in every three Hong Kong residents will belong to the elderly demographic.
Dr Sunny Chai, Chairman of HKSTP, emphasised the pivotal role of gerontechnology in revolutionising the city’s landscape, stating, “Gerontechnology stands as an indispensable tool in our efforts to craft a smarter and more adaptive urban environment, particularly tailored for our ageing population. With a robust gerontech ecosystem comprising over 70 companies, HKSTP remains steadfast in its commitment to elevate the well-being of the elderly and fortify our healthcare infrastructure through seamless collaborations encompassing governmental bodies, industrial entities, academic institutions, and research sectors.”
GIES has evolved beyond its initial role as a mere platform for gerontechnology awareness. It has transformed into a pivotal nexus for industry stakeholders, facilitating collaborative engagements, policy formulation, and technological advancements crucial for steering Hong Kong’s societal, economic, and technological growth.
Apart from being a stage for innovation, GIES is a networking hub fostering partnerships aimed at enhancing elderly care and fortifying Hong Kong’s status as an elder-friendly city. This year’s edition, spanning from November 23 to 26, boasts an impressive showcase featuring close to 800 innovative solutions curated by over 200 exhibitors, representing a remarkable two-fold increase since its inception in 2017.
Under the overarching theme of “Age Smarter with Hub of Gerontech,” the HKSTP pavilion stands as a testament to innovation and progress, uniting 43 Park companies to showcase breakthrough advancements across seven pivotal categories. These encompass health screening, vital sign monitoring, rehabilitation and cognitive care, fall risk management, service operations, tech-enabled care, and sensory aids.
Occupying a gross floor area of 500 square meters, this year’s HKSTP pavilion represents the most extensive showcase since the inception of GIES in 2017. Notably, the inclusion of seven InnoHK centres, including three from Health@InnoHK and four from AIR@InnoHK, debuting their pioneering gerontech solutions at the adjacent “InnoHK Zone,” further accentuates the depth and breadth of innovation on display.
To immerse attendees in a hands-on experience and actively engage end-users, HKSTP has meticulously curated an interactive zone within its pavilion, themed as “Rehab@Home.” This setting replicates a home environment, showcasing 13 specialized rehabilitation products and solutions designed for seamless integration into domestic settings.
Complementing this experiential zone are the “Gerontech Ambassadors” drawn from physiotherapy students at Tung Wah College and elderly ambassadors from Lingnan University’s “Jockey Club Gerontechnology and Smart Ageing Project.” These ambassadors are stationed to offer firsthand insights and share personal experiences regarding user-friendly solutions.
While advancements in technology, medicine and healthcare offer longer life spans, ageing does have challenges. Hong Kong has been eager to be a more inclusive country and aims to better care for its elderly.
OpenGov Asia reported that the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) showcased the technological achievements within the gerontechnology field through the Jockey Club Smart Ageing Hub Project. Collaboration among experts from various disciplines was facilitated to share their technological advancements and best practices and discuss the future of Hong Kong’s gerontech landscape.