Engineering the Smart City (Electronics)

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With the global trend of building smart cities, Hong Kong is certainly on the fast track in the transformation of smart city in this era. In light of the Hong Kong Government's Smart City Blueprint, there are six major areas, namely: "Smart Mobility", "Smart Living", "Smart Government", "Smart Environment", "Smart People" and "Smart Economy". These six areas are like the building blocks of a smart city, which mainly engineered by innovation and technology.

Smart Mobility

The mobility is increasingly crucial to the regional economy nowadays. There is an upward trend in the demand for transporting people and goods everywhere around the world. In Hong Kong, there are more than 12.6 million passenger trips on public transport with railway as the backbone daily. With the increasing road traffic, the railway network has been developed and expanded orderly under the Railway Development Strategy 2014, which will mitigate the roadside air pollution. Furthermore, new technology could enable intelligent train automation for efficiency and capacity enhancement. With respect to Electric vehicles, "In-vehicle Units" (IVUs) will be developed for allowing motorists to receive real time traffic information and paying tunnel fees by RFID through the IVUs, without toll booths. The development of vehicle-to-everything (V2X) and autonomous vehicles (AV) would also provide a better and safer passenger experience. 

Smart Living

Digital payment is not strange to Hongkongers. Nearly all Hong Kong people possess at least one Octopus card for digital payment across public transportation and retail outlets. Besides, Faster Payment System (FPS) was developed in 2018, which enables the customers to make cross-bank/stored value facilities (SVF) payments anytime and anywhere, by entering the mobile phone number or the email address of the recipient. Apart from Digital payment, Low-power wide-area networks (LP-WAN) will enable applications and devices which sense literally anything and anywhere in future, such as detecting the temperature and movement etc.

Smart Government

Hong Kong Government has been providing 226 e-Services. Also, the government starts opening more public and private sector data in digital forms to encourage and promote research and innovation via the government one-stop Public Sector Information Portal (, including the health, transport and education sectors. Multi-functional smart lamppost pilot scheme will foster the collection of real-time city data to improve city management and public services. For the 5G infrastructure, Hong Kong will be equipped for the commercial launch of 5G services and applications in 2020, which is for better implementation of Internet of Things (IoT).

Smart Environment

The use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can make the city more efficient and environmentally friendly in the usage of resources to achieve energy saving. Smart metering is globally now deployed as the foundation for smarter grids and smart cities. In Hong Kong, CLP Power has developed its Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) platform by connecting its smart meters to data collectors via Radio Frequency mesh field area networks and relating the information from the data collectors to the AMI Headend system via cellular networks. Moreover, smart meters will be installed for all its residential, small commercial and industrial customers until 2025, providing them a range of digitalized services and solutions to promote energy saving and enhance supply reliability and safety.

Smart People

Intensive training programmes on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education have been organized for curriculum leaders of primary and secondary schools from the 2017/18 to 2019/20 school years to facilitate implementation of the updated curricula and STEM-related activities. It aims to attract more students selecting STEM as their education and professional careers. Also, it could provide more local supply of data scientists and other technology practitioners for the industry. Deep learning is a new technique which requires local talents and professionals to develop. Apart from Artificial intelligence and Machine learning, Deep learning is the technique for implementing machine learning for making accurate predictions. 

Smart Economy

Smart Economy can be regarded as Digital Assets, Digital Identity and Smart Contracts. In Hong Kong, there are over HK$7 trillion monthly transactions via Internet banking. Fintech becomes more essential in this era. The potential impacts of Artificial Intelligence with Fintech would be enormous. The distributed ledger technology applications will be invented in different areas, including trade financing and cross-boundary transactions. Besides, virtual banking will be introduced as another model of service delivery.

Ready for the Future

Various sectors of the community in Hong Kong are actively following the topic of Smart City. This year, the Hong Kong Electronics Symposium 2019 organized by the HKIE Electronics Division was over-subscribed with delegates. With the theme of "Engineering the Building Blocks of a Smart City", the symposium covered the six above mentioned areas, including speeches on how the government driving the smart city implementation, the latest developments on smart meters and connected mobility, as well as deep learning and artificial intelligence applications, etc. 

With these above six "building blocks" for smart city and our continuous innovations, Hong Kong will no doubt become one of the most successful smart cities in the world and continue attracting global talents and investors. 

Written by the Electronics Division of the HKIE

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