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PolyU Smart City Projects Win at 2021 Smart 50 Awards

Three smart city projects of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) won the 2021 Smart 50 Awards. This is the first time that PolyU’s research teams have seized the prestigious awards, which recognise global innovative smart city projects annually.

The 2021 Smart 50 Awards features winners from all over the world, such as Canada, Japan, Germany, Israel, Spain and the United States, and PolyU is the only award recipient from Hong Kong. The award presentation ceremony will be held in the United States later this year.

In support of Hong Kong’s Smart City Blueprint, PolyU has been working closely with the government and community partners to implement smart projects to address various societal and environmental issues, as well as to safeguard public health in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These projects have earned various international accolades, including the 2021 Smart 50 Awards.

The three winning projects from PolyU are:

(1) “First-Ever Smart Tree Monitoring Project Using Low-Power Wireless Network for Urban Forestry and Tree Management” by Professor Charles WONG Man-sing, Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics

Tree risk assessment and risk mitigation measures in areas with high pedestrian and traffic flow need to be conducted to alleviate the risk of trees against human life and property. The research team collaborated with the Development Bureau of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region with the support of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust to monitor tree stability on a territory-wide scale through the Jockey Club Smart City Tree Management Project.

The team assessed the risk of tree failure by monitoring the trees’ swaying or tilting condition by applying spatial big data analytics with AI on the GIS-based platform. The project involved the installation of about 8,000 sensors on selected urban trees across Hong Kong.

(2) “The Tai O Village Pedestrian Traffic Monitoring Project” by Mr Daniel ELKIN, School of Design

Tai O Village was recently included in the Sustainable Lantau Blueprint of Hong Kong as an ecological and cultural tourism centre. As the tourist traffic is anticipated to surge, the research team partnered with the Tai O Village Rural Committee and various community groups to monitor the pedestrian traffic entering the village, using infrared passage gates installed at eight major infrastructure locations.

The project is distinct in that it follows a collaborative model using inexpensive technology developed from consumer products to roll out data collection quickly and with high accessibility for village stakeholder engagement and feedback.

(3) A Comprehensive Spatial Analysis and Onset Risk Prediction Platform for the COVID-19 Pandemic in Hong Kong by Professor John SHI, Smart Cities Research Institute

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the public has been on high alert regarding the community spread and how it may pose risks to everyday activities. The research team established a city-level epidemic data dashboard and risk prediction system for the public to track the community spread of the epidemic.

The COVID-19 risk prediction algorithm is developed by analysing Hong Kong’s urban structure, transportation network, population environment and other socio-economic data through the use of spatial big data technologies and analysis. This provides an accurate prediction of the development trend of the epidemic in a timelier manner and supports the public health department to formulate more precise prevention and control strategies.

About Smart 50 Awards

The Smart 50 Awards recognises impactful smart cities projects across the world annually. They aim to honour the most innovative and influential technologies in the areas of digital transformation, urban infrastructure and community engagement. The award presentation ceremony for this year will be held at the Smart Cities Connect Conference & Expo in Washington DC in October 2021.

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