As the trend among leading global cities is geared towards digitalisation and creating smart processes from which residents will gain added value from traditional methods that have served singular purposes all this time, Hong Kong is starting to adopt new technologies that would create an impact not only in residents’ lives, society, but also the environment.
Such are the benefits of digitalised systems and innovations that not only aim to make lives easier for their users, but also to make impact in the kind of world that we live in today.
Here’s What the New Smart Lamp Posts are Expected to Offer the City
In light of this, the three-year Multi-functional Smart Lamp Posts pilot scheme has already been rolled out in phases in four districts with higher pedestrian and traffic flow as part of the Government’s drive to foster smart city development in Hong Kong.
Under the said scheme, around 400 lamp posts will be installed in Central/Admiralty, Causeway Bay/Wan Chai, Tsim Sha Tsui and Kwun Tong/Kai Tak Development Area, with 50 put in place in Kowloon Bay, Kai Tak and Kwun Tong since the end of June.
According to the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer, the the smart devices collect meteorological data, air quality data, and traffic flow – all of which are among the current problems being dealt with by the government today.
The collected data will be released to the public via data.gov.hk for the development of innovative applications, the agency reported.
Furthermore, to protect privacy, cameras are set up to face and take pictures of public areas only, while the lampposts do not carry any facial recognition function and the images taken will not be sent to third party for facial recognition applications.
According to the agency, some of the lampposts’ functions will not be activated at this stage yet, including the Environmental Protection Department’s monitoring of illegal dumping with the aid of cameras located near black spots, and the Transport Department’s assessment of road use by different types of vehicles enabled by Bluetooth traffic detectors and cameras collecting car plate numbers.
For his part, Assistant Government Chief Information Officer Tony Wong explained that the government recognizes the public’s concern regarding the use of smart lampposts and other smart devices that pose an issue concerning potential invasion of personal privacy or collecting personal information.
Wong pointed out that it is for this very reason that the agency has decided to put on hold three such applications, and it will conduct a wider public consultation in order to explain its relevance and necessity to the public.