Public’s views sought as Hong Kong rolls out smart city trials in Kowloon East

Solutions being tested include apps to promote walking in area, help find parking spots and manage crowds during Kowloon East Streetathon

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 November, 2016, 8:55am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 November, 2016, 8:56am

Officials in Kowloon East, Hong Kong’s designated test ground for smart city development, are seeking the public’s views on a proposed framework for the area.

Four “proof of concept” trials for smart city solutions will be carried out progressively from now until the end of next year to assess their feasibility and effectiveness.

The solutions include a mobile app to promote walking in the area – to be integrated later with pedestrian positioning and indoor and outdoor GPS – and a smart crowd management system to be trialled at the Kowloon East Streetathon in January.

Smart thinking: Hong Kong government to carry out pilot study to assess the feasibility of using technology to transform Kowloon East

A “smart parking” mobile app, which helps drivers find vacant parking spots in the district will also be launched in January. An energy efficiency data system and kerbside loading and unloading monitoring system will be rolled out for trial in the latter half of the year.

“With the results of our study, we looked to other cities and considered opportunities for Kowloon East to come up with a proposed framework,” said Brenda Au Kit-ying, who heads the Development Bureau’s Energising Kowloon East office (EKEO).

“[After the public engagement exercise] we hope to move on to the implementation strategy, proof of concept trials and formulation of proposals.”

Others concepts being considered for trial include smart tree management using real-time data, smart waste bins which can detect fill level and reduce manpower for monitoring and a water quality prediction system that can predict E coli concentrations – the office claims the area has potential to be a “hot spot for hosting water sports activities”.

Planners outline their ‘smart city’ vision for Kowloon East

The government announced in its 2015 policy address that Kowloon East – slated to become the city’s second core business district – would be used as a pilot area to explore the feasibility of developing a smart city.

The 488-hectare development area comprises the Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay business areas and the Kai Tak Development Area.

A particular focus will be on features such as blue-green infrastructure, mobility and “walkability” as well as incorporation of the “internet of things” – connection and communication between physical objects such as devices, appliances or even buildings in order to collect and share information.

Meanwhile, an exhibition featuring 21 smart city applications will be held at the EKEO office for a week.

Solutions on display include high-speed internet-enabled smart phone booths, electric vehicle charging and charger reservation systems as well as smart or automated systems for vehicle collision avoidance and refuse disposal.