Speeches and Presentations

SCED's speech at Internet of Things Symposium

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at the Internet of Things Symposium - Enabling Hong Kong as a Smart City today (April 17):

Mr (Nicholas) Brooke (Chairman, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation), Counsellor Qin (Miss Qin Xiaoming, Counsellor of State Council), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning. It gives me great pleasure to join today's Internet of Things Symposium. I would like to extend a warm welcome to all the participants from the Mainland and overseas to Hong Kong.

As one of the events of our first ever International IT Fest, this symposium provides a valuable platform for practitioners in the industry to foster collaboration in the area of Internet of Things and explore business opportunities.

Since the mid-1990s, the Internet has been having a revolutionary impact on how people communicate and how business is conducted all over the world. It has removed geographical boundaries and has profoundly changed the way individuals interact with one another, search for information and acquire products and services. According to some industry sources, the next era of the Internet would be the Internet of Things, where more and more physical objects are embedded with sensors or radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, thus acquiring the ability to be connected and communicate. It is estimated that the Internet of Things will involve 50 billion connected devices in 2020. The interconnection of such a vast amount of devices holds the potential for new business processes and will create another wave of changes to our daily lives.

Hong Kong has what it takes to be an early adopter of the Internet of Things. Our telecommunication infrastructure is among the most sophisticated in the world, offering innovative and secure services at competitive prices. Our average peak Internet connection speed of 54.1 megabits per second is the fastest in the world. As of December 2012, we have over 16.4 million mobile service subscribers, representing a penetration rate of 229 per cent. Such advantages provide an ideal environment for connecting and interacting with all sorts of Internet-enabled devices, hence allowing the Internet of Things to flourish in Hong Kong in areas including transportation, logistics, health care, home automation, etc.

I would like to illustrate with some examples.

The Hong Kong International Airport, which is consistently named the world's best airport in recent years, is the pioneer in the world to adopt RFID technologies for baggage handling with significant improvements in operational efficiency. Each day, our airport tags 70,000 pieces of baggage from more than 100 airlines. The majority of the arrival baggage is delivered to owners within 20 minutes from aircraft landing. Such an advanced baggage handling system is a good example of a form of the Internet of Things connecting a large number of passengers, their flights and baggage movement.

Another example is the e-Lock system of our Customs and Excise Department, which we use to streamline the clearance of air-land and sea-land transshipments. After a cargo container is locked by an e-Lock, our customs officers can track it all the way with Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies. With e-Lock and GPS, we have created an efficient, secure and traceable customs clearance process. Cargo inspection, which may sometimes take two to three hours, will be performed less frequently at the land boundary control points.

The Government will continue to cultivate the development and adoption of ICT (information and communications technology) in Hong Kong so as to entrench our position as a leading ICT hub in the region. It also requires concerted efforts of the industry, academia and our whole community to harness emerging technologies, including the Internet of Things, to further drive our economic and social development. In this connection, I am glad to see that the Science Park is organising this symposium today, which offers an excellent opportunity for participants to deliberate on how Internet of Things technologies can be utilised to improve business operations and people's daily lives in years to come, and equally important, to enable Hong Kong to become a smarter and even more ICT-savvy city.

Before I close, I would like to wish you all a successful and fruitful symposium, and for our guests from the Mainland and overseas, an enjoyable stay in Hong Kong.

Thank you.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013