Co-creation and collaboration key to smart city development

February 14, 2018 11:05
Setting up a Policy Innovation and Co-ordination Unit was among the measures the Hong Kong government has taken to accelerate smart city development. Photo:

Before the Year of the Rooster ends, it is good to review what we have accomplished so far and to plan ahead for the coming year.

Three years ago, 20 people from different professional fields gathered together to form a Smart City Expert Group, aiming to push forward the development of Hong Kong. Eventually, in March 2016, the Expert Group led to creation of a non-government organization called Smart City Consortium (SCC). 

To facilitate collaboration and idea exchange in relation to smart city with other places and regions, SCC has signed 25 memorandums of understanding with 12 countries and regions, as well as organized and supported more than 250 events and activities over the past 23 months. The development of SCC has been really amazing.

We also encourage worldwide collaboration with different stakeholders to create the right ecosystem to foster innovation and sustainable economic growth for Hong Kong. In keeping with this, we set up a new business matching platform, LinkedSmart, in late January this year.

LinkedSmart is a platform to connect investors and startups in mainland China, Hong Kong and the rest of the world for fund-raising activities to support different smart city initiatives. As of now, more than 30 international investment organizations and almost 300 startups had expressed interest in joining the platform.

At the same time, a new organization called Global Smart City Consortium has been established. The Global Smart City Consortium is a worldwide innovation platform to assist countries in introducing their smart city-related industries, technologies and standards. Through the transfer of technological knowledge and innovation cooperation in relevant fields, smart city technology will be promoted through internationalization and commercialization.

The SCC's Smart City Blueprint Luncheon held last week was a perfect wrap-up for the year. We saw almost 400 guests and members joining the Luncheon. Among them were the Chief Executive, smart city experts from all over the world, representatives from education, infrastructure, finance, communications, transportation, environmental protection sectors and various government departments, as well as consulates from a number of countries.

The Chief Executive recaptured Hong Kong's progress in smart city development at the luncheon, as she spoke of initiatives such as establishment of a Policy Innovation and Co-ordination Unit. As soon as the Legislative Council passes a relevant a bill, the Unit will review the laws that are currently stifling innovation and technology. Meanwhile, the planning of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park in the Lok Ma Chau Loop has just been completed. It will become the largest innovation and technology center in the region. Hong Kong is truly heading to be a smart city.

As the CE said, we have no time to waste. Cities and regions around the world are working very hard to transform themselves. If Hong Kong doesn't move forward fast enough, we will be surpassed soon. Given this, I hope we will gather more momentum in our work and keep on pushing forward in the Year of Dog.

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Adjunct Professor, Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering; Department of Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences; and Faculty of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong