What's Next in Making Smart Cities Smarter and Happier?

How will smart cities become even smarter? The answer lies not in simply integrating advanced technology, such as artificial intelligence and cloud computing, but in making the system work for individual societies.
10 months ago

HONG KONG, Apr, 18 2018 - (ACN Newswire)

How will smart cities become even smarter? The answer lies not in simply integrating advanced technology, such as artificial intelligence and cloud computing, but in making the system work for individual societies. 

This was the key message at the 16 April seminar "Next-Generation Smart City Solutions," organised by the HKTDC during the 15th edition of the International ICT Expo at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). Three prominent experts from leading US, Japanese and Chinese tech companies explored where smart city technologies are headed.

Moderator Emil Chan, from the Smart City Consortium, which assists the Hong Kong SAR Government in developing Hong Kong as the region's leading smart city, set the tone by proposing that "making cities both smarter and happier" is the ultimate goal. Beyond the technological vision, the aim is also to educate by "making smarter people and changing the general mindset."

Empowering cities with 'Microsoft CityNext Solutions'

Continuing the theme, Hong Kong ICT industry veteran Fred Sheu, National Technology Officer at Microsoft Hong Kong Ltd, explained how the US tech giant's CityNext Solutions is empowering cities to be "more sustainable, prosperous and inclusive."

CityNext connects civic systems and services with world-class technology through safe and secure cloud computing that makes smart city solutions "more affordable and economically viable than ever before," he said.

Microsoft recently signed a memorandum of understanding to promote and help Hong Kong's Smart City vision "move forward into the future" under six key areas: smart mobility, smart living, smart environment, smart people, smart government and smart economy.

With a growing list of around 70 initiatives underway, Mr Sheu said "smart lamp posts" are not far off, with HK$20 million earmarked to explore how the lamp posts can incorporate 5G and audio-video surveillance.

Parking management solutions will also simplify parking, with sensors notifying drivers of available spaces via digital sensors and apps, and electronic payment through the same vehicle devices. "Motorists can even book parking space online in advance, saving a lot of time driving around looking for somewhere to park," he said.

Intelligent care for the elderly is also becoming a reality - "especially beneficial in Hong Kong, where a lot of elderly people prefer to live at home." Motion and environmental sensors monitor movement and conditions at home, raising the alarm in emergencies. Cloud-based health information management systems are already making health records more readily accessible to doctors and clinics.

But Mr Sheu is convinced that "education is the real key" to the future of smart cities, and urged more training on the technology, not only at universities, but also at high schools, equipping the younger generation for a very different future.

Among Microsoft's own educational initiatives is its AI School (aischool.microsoft.com), a free programme explaining next-generation solutions that "extend software beyond the app... to learn how to be an expert supporting Hong Kong's smart city development."

NEC's Artificial Intelligence for Smart Cities

Gary Tai, Business Director, NEC Hong Kong, introduced the Japanese multinational's initiatives in smart city technologies, along with their accompanying social obligations. Best-known in Hong Kong as a market leader in smart TVs, NEC also leads the market globally in artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, and is "on a mission as a social value creation company contributing to the future of societies," he said. "In the face of serious social issues worldwide, we want to make life easier and more efficient for everyone."

In earthquake-prone Japan, for example, casualty rates are lowest on train networks equipped with NEC sensors that detect tremors, raising instant alerts. Partnering with governments around the world, the company has developed technology such as CCTV camera systems that not only observe streets, but also detect inconsistent and unusual behaviour, such as walking back and forth, or loitering beside cars. In the crime-plagued Argentine city of Tigre, which suffered a tourism slump as a result of its reputation, NEC's intervention reduced car thefts by 80 per cent in five years.

In Singapore, "smell sensors" identify offensive street stalls in the tourist centre of Orchard Road, "keeping a decent area decent." In Hong Kong, two out of the three main bus companies use NEC technology that improves safety and eases congestion, while improving absenteeism rates. "Our technology can even establish the attention level of drivers," he said.

Empowerment of cities also extends to Santander City in Barcelona, with "smart waste collection" reducing vehicle emissions, improving traffic flow and cutting operating costs by 15 per cent, by efficiently monitoring waste volumes and adjusting collection intervals accordingly. "We look forward to working with more utility companies, authorities and governments in the future," said Mr Tai.

ZTE Exporting China 'Smart City Vision and Concepts' Globally

Meanwhile, Renchu Bai, Marketing Director of Government & Enterprise Department from Chinese multinational telecommunications and systems giant ZTE, explained the thinking behind the company's 'Smart City Vision and Concepts'.

He noted that ZTE's solutions for improving public services extended across 160 cities in 45 countries powered by 40 big data centres worldwide.

Projects "making public services more efficient" range from education and pollution to traffic control and public safety - extending to India, Bangladesh and Indonesia in Asia, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina in South America, Ethiopia and Egypt in Africa, and Germany, France, Hungary, Romania and Holland in Europe.

"Smart city development should be looked at from three perspectives," he said, with the software and hardware of the latest IT and communications technology, such as 5G, IoT, AI and blockchain, integrated through cloud connectivity and big data, serving as a means to an end.

"You can't build smart cities in a day," he said. "You need to take it step by step, ultimately integrating everyone in the smart city ecosystem. Most of the technology is already there; the challenge is finding a way to use it, and a business model that makes it become a reality."

Source: HKTDC

Illustration Photo: Hong Kong's bus (CC0 Creative Commons from Pixabay.com)


No comments to display.

Related posts

Call for Applications: Go Ignite Global Call

Start-ups working on solutions in IoT, Big Data Analytics, Cyber Security, Artificial Intelligence, 5G and Customer Experience Enhancement are encouraged to apply.
Application Deadline in 11 days

EU's Call for Proposals: Digital technologies for improved performance in cognitive production plants

Proposals need to develop new technologies to realise cognitive production plants, with improved efficiency and sustainability, by use of smart and networked sensor technologies, intelligent handling and online evaluation of various forms of data streams as well as new methods for self-organizing processes and process chains.
Application Deadline in 4 days

Increased Consumption of Plant-Based Protein Diets to Mitigate the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes

The < a href = "https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/wheat-protein-market-67845768.html">wheat protein market</a> is estimated at USD 2.04 Billion in 2017 and is projected to reach USD 2.58 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 4.8% from 2017. The wheat protein market has been largely driven by the growing demand for bakery products, the increasing popularity of plant-based foods, wheat protein being a suitable alternative for non-animal protein among vegans coupled with nutritional benefits for lactose-intolerant consumers.

Increase in Use of Crop Protection Products in Developing Countries Drives the Pesticide Inert Ingredients Market

The pesticide inert ingredients market is projected to reach USD 4.7 billion by 2023, from USD 3.5 billion in 2018, at a CAGR of 6.14% during the forecast period. The market is driven by factors such as the increasing demand for specific inert ingredients in pesticide formulation and capability of inert ingredients to improve the efficacy of pesticide application.

Pilot plant to turn sugarcane waste into biofuel and beer bottles

Their patented REACH technology, developed by US parent company Mercurius Biorefining, has the potential to convert sugarcane bagasse and other biomass into cost effective drop-in biofuels and bio-chemicals , as alternatives to fossil fuels.

Call for applications: The Entrepreneurship World Cup

The Entrepreneurship World Cup is more than just a global pitch competition with a shot at life-changing prizes. With 100,000 entrants from around the world, EWC elevates entrepreneurs – providing you with tools and resources to grow your venture. It doesn’t matter how far you’ve come – idea-stage, early-stage, growth-stage or beyond – EWC can put you on the right course. Leverage world-class content in the EWC Accelerator to: unleash your ideas, hone your pitching skills and engage with a global network of mentors. And, oh yeah, compete for those life-changing prizes, together with business opportunities and investment.
Application Deadline in 3 months

EU's Call for Proposals: EGNSS applications fostering digitisation

Actions should deliver new innovative applications, with commercial impact and a clear market uptake perspective (a Business Plan is required as part of the proposal). The proposed EGNSS applications may integrate digital technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, big data and robotics.
Application Deadline in 16 days

Growing Farm Labor Issues due to Higher Costs and Availability Drives the Smart Harvest Market Ma

The smart harvest market is projected to reach USD 15.6 billion by 2023, from USD 9.0 billion in 2018, at a CAGR of 11.81% during the forecast period. The market is driven by factors such as growing farm labor issues due to higher costs and availability, and cost efficiency benefits offered by smart harvest systems.

Call for applications: 2019 SEED Awards for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development

Are you part of a small and growing eco-inclusive enterprise that continues to deliver environmental, social and economic benefits to your target markets?
Application Deadline in 2 months

Review of Emerging Additive Manufacturing Technologies in 3D Printing of Cementitious Materials in the Construction Industry

Additive manufacturing is a fabrication technology that is rapidly revolutionizing the manufacturing and construction sectors. In this paper, a review of various prototyping technologies for printing cementitious materials and selected 3D printing techniques are presented in detail.