Title

LCQ6: Development of smart city
10 Jan 2018


Following is a question by the Dr Hon Lo Wai-kwok and a reply by the Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Mr Nicholas W Yang, in the Legislative Council today (January 10):

Question:

Some professionals have pointed out that the Government proposed as early as in 2014 an information technology strategy with the theme "Smarter Hong Kong, Smarter Living", but the progress was rather slow. Not until last month did the Government release the Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong, mapping out the development plans in the next five years. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) given that the Planning Department made public in March last year the Territorial Population and Employment Data Matrix (TPEDM) for reference of the relevant professional sectors in conducting technical assessments but the aggregated data of 26 larger districts rather than the data of 454 small districts were released, rendering the relevant sectors being unable to make full use of those data, whether the authorities will examine how to share those data more effectively with the relevant professions in the long run and consider afresh publishing the TPEDM data by small district, as well as require various government departments to adopt machine-readable formats when publishing data in future, so as to facilitate application developers and relevant sectors in using the data; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(2) apart from implementing the Energizing Kowloon East project, whether the authorities will expedite the implementation in new development areas (such as Hung Shui Kiu, Tung Chung East and Tung Chung West) of various smart city related proposals, including conducting planning for infrastructure such as communications, pipe networks, smart homes and green architecture, as well as making proper planning on transport, healthcare, environmental protection, elderly services, etc. by using innovative technologies and big data, with a view to striving to create a green and low-carbon smart community; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(3) as the authorities proposed in the 2016 Policy Address that the number of Wi-Fi hotspots under Wi-Fi.HK be doubled to 34 000 within three years, of the progress of such work so far; whether the authorities will review that target and expedite the installation of Wi-Fi hotspots and further raise the Internet access speeds of Wi-Fi hotspots at busy locations, so as to enable members of the public to truly enjoy free Wi-Fi service; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply:

President,

The Government actively promotes smart city development. We published the Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong (the Blueprint) on December 15, 2017, outlining the Government’s vision and mission to build Hong Kong into a leading smart city of the world, and development plans in the next five years covering six major areas, namely, "Smart Mobility", "Smart Living", "Smart Environment", "Smart People", "Smart Government" and "Smart Economy", including open data, developing Common Spatial Data Infrastructure, 3D digital map, increasing the number of public Wi-Fi hotspots, etc.

In consultation with the Development Bureau, our reply to the various parts of the question is as follows:

(1) The Territorial Population and Employment Data Matrix (TPEDM) is updated by the Planning Department (PlanD) every two to three years. With data demarcated into 454 Planning Data Zones (PDZs), the TPEDM is mainly used by the Government internally for the long-term and strategic land use and infrastructure planning. To respond to the requests of the public, including those of the relevant professions, the PlanD has since March 2017 published the TPEDM data which are aggregated into 26 larger Planning Data Districts (PDDs). In considering the dissemination of data, the PlanD had consulted departments responsible for vetting the technical assessments of various private projects. These departments considered that data aggregated into 26 larger PDDs would suffice for facilitating the industry to conduct technical assessments. Besides, the TPEDM contains certain assumptions for development projects which are very preliminary and still subject to studies; the relevant data are not only sensitive but also subject to changes along the time. Further publishing data in PDZs may disclose such sensitive information, thereby leading to unnecessary misunderstanding in the public. The PlanD considers that the current arrangement has struck a right balance between the industry's request for open data and avoiding disclosure of sensitive information. In any case, the PlanD is now updating the TPEDM with regard to the population projection published by the Census and Statistics Department in September 2017. To facilitate the industry's usage, the PlanD will consider publishing more detailed data in machine-readable format.

Regarding the format of open data, the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer has issued guidelines to assist bureaux and departments (B/Ds) in releasing data in the most suitable formats and ways (e.g. through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)) according to the nature of different data, in order to make it convenient for public use. In response to the guidelines, B/Ds have generally been releasing data in machine-readable formats, except information that has to be released in image format (e.g. traffic snapshots). As of December 2017, there were over 3 100 various datasets under the Public Sector Information Portal (data.gov.hk), of which over 2 000 datasets are in machine-readable formats (JSON / XML / CSV / XLS / XLSX / RSS). The portal also provides over 1 000 APIs for software developers to extract the information required from the large amount of information therein.

(2) The Blueprint published by the Government proposes using innovation and technology, including big data analytics, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, sensors, etc., to build Hong Kong into a smart city through introducing measures in different areas, including transport, health, environment and education.

From the land and infrastructure planning perspective, we would also need a new way of thinking to cope with growth and enhance liveability, as well as to strengthen our city's overall competitiveness. As such, "Hong Kong 2030+: Towards a Planning Vision and Strategy Transcending 2030" recommends a city strategy based on "smart, green and resilient" principles to be applied across different levels of planning, including planning for new development areas. Besides, in planning for New Development Areas (NDAs), the PlanD will from the planning studies stage make reference to the Blueprint and liaise with relevant B/Ds, with a view to including suitable measures in the planning of the NDAs.

During the planning and design stages of the NDA and New Town Extension projects being developed by the Government, we have already explored introducing elements of a smart and green community and reserve land for related implementation. Our proposals mainly cover the following four aspects:

Firstly, we will reserve space in the NDAs for provision of smart city facilities, such as multi-functional smart lampposts, smart rubbish and recyclables collection bins;

Secondly, on mobility, the Government will plan for compact developments with public transport to serve as the backbone for the communities. Comprehensive, convenient and attractive cycling and pedestrian networks will be provided for leisure and commuting purposes;

Thirdly, for public services, the relevant departments will examine the feasibility of water supply system that can reuse rainwater and recycled water. To reduce the energy consumption of the areas, provision of district cooling system will be explored;

Lastly, we will revitalise river channels and coastline to conserve the environment and ecology and also promote a water-friendly culture.

(3) In May 2016, the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council approved a funding commitment of $500 million to implement the Wi-Fi Connected City Programme to provide free Wi-Fi service at more government and other venues, with a target of doubling the number of hotspots to 34 000 by 2019. As at December 2017, the number of Wi-Fi.HK hotspots has exceeded 20 300.

We will review the implementation progress at the appropriate juncture, and if necessary, adjust the implementation details and consider other ways to enhance the growth of Wi-Fi hotspots, with a view to achieving the target set.

 As for connection speed, at present, the average connection speed of Wi-Fi service at most government venues and venues operated by public and private organisations under the programme reaches 3 to 4 Mbps, which is sufficient for supporting general Internet services, such as web browsing, using social media, instant messaging, sending and receiving emails and watching videos, etc. The average connection speed of free Wi-Fi services provided through the public-private collaboration model can even reach 8 Mbps.

With the continuous development of Wi-Fi technology, we will gradually adopt the latest Wi-Fi technology standard (IEEE 802.11ac) to reduce signal interference as far as possible and improve data transfer speed and stability. We will also request contractors to use fibre links wherever feasible to provide the public and tourists with faster and more stable Wi-Fi services.

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