February 24, 2024

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New HKUST app helps people deal with air pollution

Image Credits: HKUST, Press Release

In a recent press release, the HKUST Institute for the Environment launched a new mobile app that aims to help users reduce their exposure to outdoor air pollution.

The app is named ‘PRAISE-HK’ stands for “Personalized Real-time Air-quality Informatics System for Exposure – Hong Kong” and will help build Hong Kong into a world-class smart and healthy city. The development of the app is a five-year project which commenced in November 2016.

It covers three major release milestones for the mobile app and the system:

(1)    Phase 1 – The app presented on 21 June 2019 is its phase 1 that profiles high-resolution outdoor air quality map down to street-level (with resolution down to 2-20 meter);
(2)    Phase 2 – will provide full integration of personal exposure, analysing both outdoor and indoor air pollution levels including inside buildings or commuting;
(3)    Phase 3 – will be an interactive app system that provides health prediction alerts based on personal responses to air pollution.

The app is a smart city app that provides state-of-the-art real-time and forecast (up to 48 hours) air quality and health risk information down to street level. It shows Air Quality Health Index (AQHI), as well as a percentage, added short-term health risk (%AR) of daily hospital admissions attributable to criteria pollutants: nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), and sulphur dioxide (SO2).

The app is powered by a new system developed by cross-disciplinary experts led by the HKUST Institute for the Environment.

The high accuracy performance is attributed to the following important technologies:

(1)    Air quality and atmospheric model – analyses and forecasts air quality allowing for dispersion of emissions released both regionally and in Hong Kong, and the associated complex photochemical reactions; and the influence on local pollutant dispersion of urban morphology in terms of building density and street ‘canyons’. The system generates street-scale resolution forecast maps (down to 2-20 meter) that highlight both pollution hotspots and areas of better air quality; a fusion of modelled and measured concentration data ensures forecast accuracy.
(2)    Traffic model – details important road-side emission data from 30,000 Hong Kong road segments. The team developed a state-of-the-art microscopic activity-based traffic model, the first of its kind for Hong Kong, which captures the daily activity patterns of 4-million agents to derive the underlying traffic patterns across all modes of public transport as well as private car usage. The model produces detailed dynamic traffic patterns which are then used to estimate roadside emissions.
(3)    Sensor technologies – developed with sophisticated hardware design and an algorithm to reach the competent performance goals, and to fit the need for complicated microenvironment monitoring.
(4)    Big data – fill a wide range of data gaps (from changing traffic speeds to special traffic incidents) to improve overall accuracy and to raise real-time performances;
(5)    Air quality exposure science – evaluates personal exposure profiles and associated health impacts; and
(6)    Mobile technology – identifies users’ location either outdoor or indoor, in what kinds of buildings or transportation modes, so that PRAISE-HK system can analyse its personal exposure to the surrounding air quality.

Users can access this useful information on the PRAISE-HK app and take the corresponding action, in particular, to reduce short-term exposure risks that make a big difference for people who are sensitive to air pollution.

Hong Kong’s air pollution problem has improved significantly over the last few years but is still far from meeting the global. The region’s official air quality monitoring network, limited to 16 fixed-site stations, is designed to measure the average air quality over different districts, but they cannot show the fine scale street-to-street air quality variations. This may give a false impression that there is a little variation in air quality across the city and that there is not much the public can do to avoid highly polluted areas.

In fact, as a result of different traffic and urban ventilation conditions, the air quality can vary widely from one street to another in dense urban cities like Hong Kong. The PRAISE-HK app maps air quality variation down to individual streets, allowing users to proactively plan their time and activities and reducing exposure from high pollution.

People were previously helpless when the issue of air pollution was first discussed. However, with the new technology, this is expected to change. By empowering the public with personalized air quality information, it is believed that the app can lead to a perception change in air pollution exposure, and can also drive behavioural change in the public.

Now that the Artificial Intelligence era has been entered, it is now possible to combine innovations and new technologies to solutions for smarter and healthier lifestyles.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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