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Hong Kong Chief Executive’s Policy Address highlights – Part Four

Recently, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, delivered her 2018 Policy Address. The press release issued by the HKSAR Government reflects on the progress of the region and details the next steps that Hong Kong will take regarding technology, digital transformation and other pertinent topics.

Part One of this series can be found here, Part Two can be found here and Part Three, here.

The last part in this series ended with the Chief Executive shedding light on how the government plans to promote technology transfer.

This was followed by the leader discussing Hong Kong as a Smart City, noting that The Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong published last year has set out more than 70 initiatives, including infrastructure projects such as eID, smart lamppost, a revamped Government’s cloud infrastructure and a new big data analytics platform.

Under the direction of the steering committee chaired by the Chief Executive, these projects have commenced in succession.

It was noted that an important objective in promoting smart city development is to enhance the Government’s capability in innovation and the standard of city management. The ITB set up a TechConnect (block vote) in mid-2017 to support government departments in planning and implementing technology projects for higher operational efficiency and better public services.

To date, the block vote has supported over 40 technology projects proposed by departments, many of which are closely related to everyday life and city maintenance. For example, the use of technology to assist in water seepage investigations in buildings, strengthening integrated weather monitoring and enhancing the efficiency of customs clearance for cross-boundary vehicles and cargoes.

The Chief Executive then announced that she will be allocating another HK$3.92 billion ($500 million) to the block vote to promote further technology adoption by departments, with a view to providing better services for the community.

In addition, the government will tap into the latest I&T to further revamp the e-Government services. Artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbot functions will be introduced to the GovHK portal in 2019 to facilitate searching and access of e-Government services by the public, and enhance e-Government services in mid-2021 through the application of eID.

Moreover, the government will pilot the use of chatbot to handle 1823 public enquiries.

Next, to tap the views of the technology sector, the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer will set up a Smart Government Innovation Lab and invite the industry to put forward proposals on I&T applications and product suggestions for various public services.

Trials and technology testing will be arranged for suitable proposals, thereby allowing government departments to formulate innovative measures more effectively to improve public services such as municipal services, crowd control and cargo clearance. This will also create more business opportunities for local start-ups and SMEs.

To cope with the rising challenges on law enforcement brought about by technological development, the Hong Kong government will adopt a four-pronged strategy covering “application”, “research and development”, “analysis” and “fortification” of I&T to enhance the capabilities of law enforcement agencies.

“Application” includes developing smart prisons, smart customs clearance and law enforcement, as well as using technology to enhance services of the Immigration Department.

“Research and development” and “analysis” include strengthening R&D on technologies for government security, combating crimes and enhancing the analytical capabilities for digital and forensic evidence.

“Fortification” includes fortifying cybersecurity and using big data analysis to enhance fire safety strategies.

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