The major issue to tackle for bringing smart living locally, as stated by Yeung is handling an aging population. He said women in Hong Kong have overtaken those in Japan in longevity with the age of 87. To enable a healthy and quality of life, Yeung said the smart city blueprint is expected to explore technologies related to telemedicine, smart hospital and smart payment.
Despite building a successful public transportation system, Yeung said the government will explore ways to bring environmental and user friendly services for a smarter mobility. One way to achieve that is to encourage “smart walkability” to connect citizen’s home with public transportation systems.
According to Yeung, the smart people initiative is not only about developing and attracting talents. He added that to enable more digital services, the government is also studying eID for each individual.
“More services will be e-enabled, e-banking, epayment, egovernment. We should have a secured and authenticated eID for individuals,” he said. This identity system could also be applied to individual objects, as more IoT-related services are expected to be available.
Open data and PPP
To enable these development plans, Yeung noted that the government needs a high level steering committee to drive collaboration between bureau and departments. One major area this steering committee can contribute to is an IT infrastructure, including an open data platform, to enable innovation.
Yeung said open data is an important backbone for Hong Kong’s smart city initiatives. The government’s open data portal has consolidated 700 datasets from more than 50 bureau and departments. But it aims to make 500-1,000 APIs available later this year, as well as to add historical and geo-tagging.
“Our open data objective is to collect government data in a digital format into one portal, it’s to promote and propel innovation within the city,” he said. “We will look at how to better work with the community to open up more government data.”
To foster some of these initiatives, Yeung said the legal framework needs to be updated and rules could be changed. Meanwhile, he emphasized the significance of public-private partnership (PPP) and quoted the successful cases from New York City’s LinkNYC project.
“It is not a buyer-supplier relationship between the public and private sector,” he said. “Each project could have a different PPP model and we should continue to explore these opportunities.”
“It’s not a one-off exercise, smart city is a journey. We will continue to shape ourselves, so as to build Hong Kong a smarter city for the future,” Yeung concluded.