Hopewell, JOS, Microsoft aim to tackle air pollution with CityTree

Hopewell, JOS, Microsoft use IoT to tackle air pollutionHopewell Real Estate AgencyJOS and Microsoft Hong Kong have jointly installed Asia's first CityTree, an IoT-based air purifying installation at Wan Chai.

The new system aims to reduce roadside facility and improve environmental awareness. The air purifying system was created by Germany's Green City Solutions, which participated in the Infiniti Accelerator program last year. 

Replacing 275 trees

According to CEO of Green City Solutions Denes Honus, the CityTree uses a specially-grown moss culture and vascular plants to absorb and filter fine dust, nitrogen oxides and other air pollutants. Honus added that a similar installation in Berlin has proven to provide similar impact to 275 trees. "It is a study that compared a specific type of trees for the environment in Berlin," he said.

Located outside of the Hopewell Centre, the CityTree in Hong Kong was installed and integrated by JOS. Although its impact to reduce pollution in the area is yet to be proven, Eric Or, managing director of JOS, noted that the installation is simply the first step of a long term project. "We only have one tree at the moment, but we are hoping to collect more data through the use of IoT and understand its impact. Moving forward, with more CityTrees installed, we can consolidate the data and provide better air quality prediction," said Or.

Or added that JOS is currently working with local academics and researchers to use Microsoft's Azure internet of things (IoT) suite to analyse the data collected by the CityTree. Honus added that the sensors in the CityTree also captures environmental parameters including temperature, humidity and particulate matter to help Hong Kong alleviate air pollution. The collected data is then transmitted to the Azure IoT Hub for air pollution reduction research purposes.

"By taking advantage of our cloud-based services built on the flexible and scalable Microsoft Azure Cloud Platform, CityTree demonstrates how innovative technology can improve our urban environment and help citizens lead safer and healthier lives,” said Horace Chow, general manager, Microsoft Hong Kong.  "Microsoft Hong Kong is proud to be part of the CityTree project that aims to provide the people of Hong Kong with a cleaner and greener environment."

CityTree was built in Hong Kong using solar panels and digital systems to reduce the need for regular maintenance.

“CityTree is an excellent example of how the IoT is supporting creative innovation to improve our urban spaces. Our goal is to help organizations develop a clear vision for the practical use of, and the benefits to be gained from, the IoT,” JOS group managing director Mark Lunt commented.

“Outdoor air pollution contributes to 3.3 million premature deaths every year, and the World Health Organization estimates that figure could reach 6.6 million by 2050. Although air pollution is getting worse, the IoT is opening up new opportunities for scientists and city leaders to understand where air pollution comes from, how it disperses and how to reduce its adverse impact on human health.”