Secretary for Innovation and Technology Nicholas Yang Wei-hsiung said in a radio interview that the Smart Government Innovation Lab will be launched next year.
The lab aims to promote government procurement of products and services from local startups and small and medium-sized firms.
In doing so, it would help connect local startups with demand from different government departments.
That’s quite similar to the Fintech Supervisory Sandbox unveiled earlier by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. Such cooperation among government, the business sector and the public would help push smart city development in Hong Kong.
While I am very supportive of this new lab project, it is disappointing that despite much talk, the government has yet to open its data to the public.
Government has to improve its data transparency and allow startups to access and use government data to develop Hong Kong into a smart city.
The lack of coordination among different government divisions is also a tough barrier. Despite efforts to foster the collaboration between startups and government departments, there has been little progress in this regard.
Take the smart street lamp project as an example. It is going nowhere.
Besides government, public organizations should also open their data to startups.
For example, a smart travel system would be handicapped if it only provides data from the Transport Department, but lacks data from the MTR, CityBus, Kowloon Motor Bus and other operators of public transportation.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec 13
Translation by Julie Zhu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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