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PolyU and telecom partner to develop Macau into a smart city

Image Credits: Hong Kong PolyU, Press Release

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and a leading telecom firm in Hong Kong announced the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to conduct a spatial big data analytics study on the needs and preferences of tourists in Macau with an aim to improving Macau’s tourism service and enhancing tourists’ experience through innovative services.

The MoU was signed by the Vice President of the telecommunications firm and a Professor and Head of PolyU’s Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) in a ceremony held on PolyU campus.

It was noted that PolyU is devoted to cutting-edge smart city technologies, including spatial big data analytics, smart navigation and positioning, and smart sensing. The University’s Laboratory for Smart City and Spatial Big Data Analytics (the Laboratory) aims to develop and transfer these technologies to industry.

This collaboration, between an academic institute and industry from Hong Kong and Macau, will not only facilitate the development of the smart city in Macau, especially in tourism, but also serves as a testbed for the development of smart cities in the Greater Bay Area (GBA).

The goal for the initial collaborative research program between the two entities is to develop a suite of analytical methods for visually exploring and quantitatively analysing tourist activities and behavioural patterns. This will include Wi-Fi facility optimisation, the development of data-mining algorithm and tools, and the mobile and Wi-Fi user’s behaviour-based study for the purpose of Macau’s urban planning and tourism management enhancement.

Backed by the research expertise and facilities of the Laboratory, PolyU will develop machine learning models to analyse data collected through user surveys in predicting user satisfaction in telecommunication facility optimisation and service enhancement.

In the meantime, spatiotemporal data mining of tourist activity patterns will be conducted to help identify different types of tourists (such as solo or group travellers; on business or leisure trips) and understand their different needs and preferences. With that, new solutions will be developed to guide them to explore Macau and enhance their travel experience.

The Vice President of the telecom firm noted that in the current era of the Internet of Things with the availability of massive data, data analysis is becoming more and more complicated and pressing. With the support of PolyU’s advanced models, algorithm and platforms for big data analysis, the telecom firm hopes to identify the trend of smart services that its clients need so as to further promote the smart city development of “Digital Macau”.

Macau is a popular tourist destination in the region, it attracted more than 35.8 million visitors in 2018. The available big data in Macau enables PolyU researchers to develop and deliver data-driven smart city solutions for Macau as well as customised solutions for tourists in the city.

The telecom form can better understand the point of interest of different types of tourists according to their origin, travelling frequency, most visited places, and stay periods so that they can plan relevant content for different tourist groups.

The research will also be helpful in the prediction of tourism trends and its correlation with the economy and public policies and the development of intelligent applications capable of providing personalised information for tourists.

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