[Sponsored Article] After another highly successful event last year, the HKTDC SmartBiz Expo will again be held over three days, December 4-6. Hundreds of exhibitors will come together to form a broad range of future-defining industries. Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the 2019 SmartBiz Expo offers an all-around platform complete with business-matching opportunities, workshops and discussions for enterprises equipped with various levels of breakthroughs to the business heart of Asia. The Expo will prove an especially attractive proposition for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as they can take full advantage of the occasion to explore market opportunities and trends in business transformation. Divided into five thematic zones, the SmartBiz Expo is arranged with reference to the nature of each participant. The arrangement will also ease visitors' orientation so that they can make the best of their time. Here is a brief account of the five zones. Visitors to the Tech Zone will be greeted by companies with applications and services in relation to Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), FinTech and Blockchain, Smart Living, as well as smart factory and office tech; the Invention Zone puts together global inventions. Featuring a number of start-ups from Hong Kong and beyond that showcase their innovative solutions and services, the Start-up Zone is truly a treasure-trove for investors; the Boosters, meanwhile, is about e-commerce and digital solutions, IT and security solutions, in addition to many professional services. Not to be overlooked, the Global Opportunities Zone is supported by various government representative bodies and institutions, offering decision-makers across industries a good starting point for their push into global markets. To inspire the participants and attendees of the SmartBiz Expo, the organisers put in place an array of thought-provoking activities, including seminars and discussions focusing on digital technology, FinTech, business opportunities derived from enhanced supply chain management and e-commerce, as well as the implication of digital technology on production, marketing, retail and healthcare. Interested parties are advised to reserve their space here . This year's SmartBiz Expo is set to attract hundreds of innovative and creative enterprises from dozens of jurisdictions. For a tantalising taste of what’s expected from this leading platform, consider the following three cases. Palmeco: construction's carbon footprint reduced with awards-winning technology Palmeco was established in 2011 by Wilfred Lau, an architect by training. Having successfully introduced to the building and construction industry more eco-friendly materials, the company came to the Asia Exhibition of Inventions Hong Kong at last year's SmartBiz Expo, and proudly left with the Grand Award. The coveted Grand Award was given to the company's revolutionary Geo-Insulator, a fireproof thermal and acoustic building panel with moisture-resistant performance. The light weight all-in-one building panel is made with coal ash generated from fired power plants and fibre wastes from the oil palm industry. Palmeco was then invited to join the 47th International Inventions Exhibition in Geneva, where the company landed two Gold medals for its Geo-Insulator and the reinvented Geo-Panel, respectively. Explaining his vision and reasons to develop truly environmentally friendly materials, Lau adds: "Not only that various activities in buildings consume a lot of energy, the industry is also a major contributor of CO2 emissions. A lot of building materials demand very high level of energy to produce, most of them rely on the use of chemicals as binding agents which are not ecologically sound, as toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted." Lau takes pride in that the company's ground-breaking materials meet three criteria, being: sustainable, close to zero carbon emission to produce, and safe. Lau speaks of the SmartBiz Expo very highly, and avidly encourages any company keen on R&D to take part in the event. "It is an excellent platform," he adds, “which allows us to enhance relationships with our existing customers from diverse markets." Palmeco’s supply chain now comprises their own factories in Qingdao and Zhongshan in Mainland China. The company also works with overseas partners from many Asia Pacific markets, as well as countries along the Belt and Road. Palmeco will be at the SmartBiz Expo's Invention Zone. Miscato: mobile app-controlled wellness SmartBiz Expo is a great platform to connect professional investors with up-and-coming companies at the Start-up zone, in which Miscato and RaSpect are two prime examples. Founded in 2015, Miscato was transformed into a technology-driven company with the key system on offer currently, the patented Aromeo Diffuser, employing the world's first mobile app-enabled mechanism to schedule essential oil diffusion to individual's liking. Recalling the development, co-founder Michelle says jokingly: "Getting this product out in the market involved some serious planning and developments. And we have lost count of the number of prototypes." Backing up Michelle's industrial engineering and logistics credentials are her working partners' various capabilities: computer science, electronic engineering, mechanical engineering and design. Aromeo Diffuser is compatible with essential oil bottles in some of the most popular sizes [5ml to 15ml]. Its waterless, pressure-based diffusion is said to retain all the aroma and other characteristics of one's preferred essential oil. The firm’s products are now available online, directly from the company's digital platform, as well as via a small but growing number of overseas partners. Miscato has received multiple start-up awards for its patented system, including this year's Start-up Express co-organised by the HKTDC and Our Hong Kong Foundation, with AMTD Group as the strategic partner. The company was invited to join the Hong Kong Tech & Start-up Mission held in September. The four-day programme brought Miscato and other start-ups to America’s style-conscious West Coast cities of San Diego and Los Angeles. Looking ahead to the SmartBiz Expo early next month, Miscato will launch a new product that, in Michelle's words, represents a facet of Hong Kong’s culture. Potential investors are keenly advised to check out this award-winning system for themselves. RaSpect: no more expensive inspection Local start-up RaSpect Intelligence Inspection Limited (RaSpect) makes the best of technology and the growing public interest in smart city to gain entrance into the lucrative local fields of property management, construction and infrastructure, by meeting the inspecting needs of these industries. The young data technology company, only established in 2017, also enthusiastically utilises the SmartBiz Expo platform for some of its business leads in Hong Kong and beyond. Notes RaSpect founder Harris Sun: "At last year's SmartBiz Expo we met a good deal of potential partners from the Greater China region and overseas, who all showed interest in our application." Sun reveals that the company's business partner in Shenzhen approached RaSpect when it was looking up smart city solutions from the HKTDC database. A team consisting of AI and Civil Engineering PhDs, RaSpect has a wonderful smart city solution that greatly increases inspecting efficiency and accuracy, while also reducing costs. RaSpect’s core technology is the application of AI neural system, 3D scanning, IoT and robotics technologies, explains Sun, who has a computer science degree from the University of Hong Kong. Instead of, say, putting up expensive scaffolding to inspect a building's conditions, RaSpect employs the said technologies in optimised data collection, before putting the captured data through the dual procedures of processing and analysis using applied algorithms. As a winner of the Start-up Express, RaSpect is to join the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and the MWC in Barcelona; two of the largest electronic- and tele-communications-themed exhibitions in the US and Europe, respectively. Sun is confident that the application of the technology will be positively received by overseas prospects. And early next month, RaSpect is eager to return to this year's Expo. To allow participants and visitors the best use of time and business opportunities, the HKTDC SmartBiz Expo 2019 will be held concurrently with the HKTDC Hong Kong International Franchising Show, the Asian E-tailing Summit, the Business of IP Asia Forum and the DesignInspire. SmartBiz Expo 2019 at a glance Date: December 4-6 (Wednesday - Friday) Venue: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre Opening Hours: 9:30am - 6:00pm (December 4-5) 10:00am - 6:00pm (Friday) Admission: For trade visitors aged 18 or above only, free admission. Website: www.hktdc.com/smartbizexpo Click here for free admission registration.