CIO digital government Government Hong Kong smart cities

Hong Kong’s smart city blueprint starts to become reality

In an alley behind the Hong Kong Productivity Council constructing in Kowloon, a dolly-driving worker tows a large four-wheeled machine that has two long articulated arms that gracefully put lights on prime of pylons after which place the pylons on the street.

It’s a hypnotizing show that goes on for a few minutes, till rain starts falling and the prototype has to be driven back into its crate. It’s not rain-proof but. However in the close to future, the Hong Kong government plans to use this system behind a pickup truck to place pylons alongside working websites as development is carried out on roads. The thought is that it will improve employee safety, as they wouldn’t be uncovered earlier than a development area is clearly marked in reside visitors. It’s also quicker than a employee can place numerous pylons.

This pylon-placing robotic is just one product of a huge effort that Hong Kong has funnelled into a multi-pronged smart city imaginative and prescient over the past 18 months. The Particular Administrative Area (SAR) government, which operates independently within China, outlined the vision in Smart City Blueprint released December 2017. General, it aims to use IT to make the city-state of seven million extra habitable, more progressive, extra assistive and numerous, and extra efficient. To do so, it outlines 76 totally different schemes and measures.

The smart city plan, a duty owned by the Office of the Authorities CIO, is a wide-ranging and impressive one that includes each new infrastructure and new platforms what is going to come collectively to deliver one thing greater than the sum of its elements. Tasks embrace smart lampposts that may present free public Wi-Fi and 5G wireless, a national digital id program, an open knowledge platform comprising hundreds of datasets, AI chatbots, and a cyber security emergency response workforce that helps businesses degree the enjoying subject towards hackers.

“When we talk about ‘smart city’ its’ a very wide subject, it covers all other government departments,” says Victor Lam, the CIO of Hong Kong. “But we have a central coordination role.”

Native Hong Kong media bemoans rating properly behind regional rival Singapore within the Eden Strategy Institute’s ranking of the world’s Prime 50 Smart City Governments. Hong Kong is ranked 18th, properly after London in prime place and Singapore in second. So far as Canadian comparisons go, it’s behind Montreal (sixth), however ahead of Vancouver (21st) and Toronto (39th).

In an effort to increase it up the ranks, Hong Kong’s government committed one other $300 million HKD (about $50 million CAD) in the direction of establishing Widespread Spatial Knowledge Infrastructure by 2023 – or the potential for various government departments to change geospatial knowledge. That undertaking just adds to the record of the various proofs of concept, pilot tasks, and full-scale executions spurred by the 2017 blueprint.

Lampposts that venture mild, 5G, and Wi-Fi

Take the smart lampposts, for instance. the federal government is working with ST Engineering on deploying 50 Multi-functional Smart Lampposts in east Kowloon by the top of June as a part of a pilot venture that runs till December. Lam says the lampposts are the result of a collaboration between many corporations and analysis institutes.

Apart from simply lighting the streets at night time, the towering poles serve quite a lot of totally different features. A 5G base station awaits the rollout of 5G wireless sooner or later, free public Wi-Fi emanates from one other scorching spot, a transparent donut casing around the center holds a hub of video cameras, there’s a weather station delivering micro-climate updates, and the base even has an RFID-powered cane navigation system to assist the visually impaired.

On the ground of the ICT Expo happening in April, Kingsley Wong, the assistant government CIO for Hong Hong, mentioned the challenge as he stood beneath a towering instance.

“We did a lot of consultation around the world and we’re taking the experiences of other regions,” he says. “We consider this kind of infrastructure will provide us with a very good foundation for us to deliver on smart city innovation.”

The smart cane navigation system works when residents who use a RFID-enabled cane tap the bottom of the lamppost. A companion cellular app communicates the situation of the lamppost by means of audio.

But what of the potential privateness invasion with so many extra cameras being put in? Wong says that through the use of an edge computing model, not all the video collected by the lampposts will probably be streamed out in real-time. When police want to use the surveillance to investigate a criminal offense, they’ll have to ask for permission to retrieve the footage.

Although Lam says he isn’t listening to worries about privacy in early consultations on the challenge. “Most people want us to do more,” he says. “Most people welcome the lampposts to capture illegal activities, even to stop illegal parking. But we must be very cautious of personal privacy.”

The blueprint has a knowledge governance mannequin that the Privacy Commissioner of Private Knowledge is chargeable for. Lam says a part of the necessities of that mannequin be sure that authorities departments can’t share private knowledge until they’ve consent from the citizen, comparable to the rule in Canada.

Digital id supplies entry to digital authorities providers

As part of its smart city drive, most of the Hong Kong SAR’s providers shall be redeveloped within the next couple of years to supply digital self-service channels. Applying to renew a driver’s licence, pay your taxes, apply for public housing help, obtain journey alerts, or even to find a job will probably be attainable online. To make that less expensive, Hong Kong can also be rolling on a digital id, which it calls eID, to a essential mass of residents by 2021.

It’s not meant to substitute citizen’s physical ID, Lam says, so residents will nonetheless want to current their driver’s licence once they get pulled over, or their passport when re-entering the nation. The motivation to adopt will probably be to entry government providers conveniently, and Lam hopes that non-public sector companions akin to banks and the Jockey Membership (horse racing is an enormous deal in Hong Kong) may also use it.

“We will make it compelling but not compulsory,” he stated. “We very seldom make things compulsory, at least at the start.”

Hong Kong eID enrollment demoAt Hong Kong’s ICT Expo, a demo of how the eID enrollment by way of cellular gadget will work.

The government will even be making it the one means to authenticate for its providers in the close to future, says Wong. It can additionally give attention to communicating the comfort issue.

“In the future, a citizen just needs to remember one set of ID and password for government services,” he says. “With a mobile device, they don’t even need to remember the password, they just need to do the biometric authentication.”

Signing up for the eID is free and executed by way of a cellular app. To enrol, residents register biometric features reminiscent of their fingerprint and their face. Somewhat than simply snap a selfie, customers should report a ‘proof-of-life’ video of themselves blinking, to forestall forgeries. Hong Kong SAR says the biometric info might be tokenized, so no precise private info is stored in the eID.

The eID challenge is already profitable kudos, including a win within the civic-engagement category of marketing consultant firm IDC’s Smart City Asia-Pacific Awards in July 2018. In contrast to other digital id tasks in other nations, there’s no use of blockchain for eID. Moderately, it makes use of the central database of the Hong Kong SAR’s Immigration Department.

Digital help with AI chatbots

When Hong Kongers do login to government providers, in the event that they need help with anything, it’s doubtless they’ll interact with an AI-powered chatbot. A part of the Smart City Blueprint plan, the chatbots can be featured on the SAR’s government website. Lam’s office has been shepherding the development of the know-how.

“Weather information is implemented already,” he says. “You can also search for government services on our one-stop portal.”

Another side of the federal government portal will probably be targeted on offering open knowledge datasets. The Public Sector Info Portal started in 2018 with knowledge sets from well being, transportation, and schooling. Just lately, it’s added datasets on visitors, electric car charging stations in the city, and an inventory of newly included or registered corporations. Most of the datasets have geospatial details and could be browsed on a map.

Public cyber security service

Backing up Hong Kong SAR’s smart city ambitions the Hong Kong Pc Emergency Response Group Coordination Centre (HKCERT), which was based in 2001 to assist authorities and companies defend towards hackers. Part of the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC), its most recent three-year strategic plan was aligned with the smart city blueprint, right after HKCERT played an important position in preventing catastrophe when the WannaCry ransomware was causing problems all over the world.

“The avoidance of a big outspread of WannaCry in Hong Kong was one of the excellent things done by HKCERT,” says Edmon Lai, chief digital officer at HKPC.  “We provided all the instructions on what needed to be done to prevent infection.”

One lucky stroke was that WannaCry hit on a weekend in Might 2017, giving HKCERT time to determine the steps required to forestall a selection of the ransomware. By the time companies have been booting up their PCs on Monday, they found the alert in their inboxes, full with a plan of action.

A pie graph from the HKCERT 2018 report exhibits which incidents it confronted down prior to now yr.

Following the incident, as ransomware turned a more widespread menace, HKCERT carried out a Struggle Ransomware Campaign, with public schooling seminars and an intelligence portal accessible by way of social media. Two years later, the centre continues to be preventing WannaCry. Its 2018 report says that a 56 per cent rise in malware infection incident reviews are due mainly to WannaCry sinkhole detections. The number of bot-WannaCry instances doubled from 1,210 in 2017 to 2,426 in 2018.

As well as to ensuring businesses don’t have their knowledge ransomed, HKCERT can also be focusing on web of issues (IoT) as smart city know-how becomes a priority.

“A lot of the time, the weakest link is a camera, or a light bulb connected to the network,” Lai says. “You think it’s low risk, but it’s actually an entry point for hackers.”

While those in the Hong Kong government point to China’s “one country, two systems” strategy, giving Hong Kong independence inside China’s sovereign territory, it’s arduous to not take a look at Hong Kong’s smart city efforts within the broader image of what’s occurring in China. At the Web Financial system Summit in April, David Aikman, the chief consultant officer of higher China for the World Financial Forum stated that the nation has 600 smart city tasks operating proper now. Because the rising financial power is about to become some of the essential gamers within the fourth industrial revolution, he says that typically the innovation happening in China is outpacing moral norms.

“We’re moving towards a world that is multi-conceptual, in which the major powers have different ideas about how technologies should be governed,” he says.

To foster strategic collaboration in that world, worldwide coordination is the naked minimum, he says.

Perhaps Hong Kong, which payments itself as China’s international city, and which has crafted a smart city plan in a method that acknowledges personal privacy rights in knowledge governance frameworks, can play a task in bridging the worldviews between the east and the west.

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