In support of Hong Kong’s Smart City Blueprint, PolyU has been continuously working with the government and community partners to implement smart projects to address various societal and environmental issues, as well as to safeguard public health in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These projects have earned various international accolades, including three of the projects recently winning the Smart 50 Awards 2021. The awards presentation will be held in the United States later this year.


The Smart 50 Awards 2021 includes winners from all over the world, such as Canada, Japan, Germany, Israel, Spain and the United States. PolyU snatched the three awards for Hong Kong. The three winning projects from PolyU are:


First-Ever Smart Tree Monitoring Project using Low-Power Wireless Network for Urban Forestry and Tree Management

Tree risk assessment and risk mitigation measures in areas with high pedestrian and traffic flow need to be conducted so as to safeguard the public from fallen trees. Dr Charles Wong Man-sing at PolyU’s Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics collaborated with the Development Bureau of the Hong Kong SAR with the support of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust to monitor tree stability on a territory-wide scale. The team assessed the risk of tree failure by monitoring the trees’ swaying or tilting condition by applying spatial big data analytics with AI on the GIS-based platform. The project involved the installation of about 8,000 sensors on selected urban trees as well as all stonewall trees and old valuable trees across Hong Kong.


The Tai O Village Pedestrian Traffic Monitoring Project

Tai O Village was recently included in the Sustainable Lantau Blueprint of Hong Kong as an ecological and cultural tourism centre. As the tourist traffic is anticipated to surge, Mr Daniel Elkin at PolyU’s School of Design partnered with the Tai O Village Rural Committee and various community groups to monitor the pedestrian traffic entering the village, using infrared passage gates installed at eight major infrastructure locations. The traffic data collected is highly visible to people in the monitoring areas for real-time decision making by those who need to manage the pedestrian traffic or to provide services to the tourists.


A Comprehensive Spatial Analysis and Onset Risk Prediction Platform for the COVID-19 Pandemic in Hong Kong

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the public has been on high alert regarding the community spread and how it may pose risks to everyday activities. Professor John Shi at PolyU’s Smart Cities Research Institute established a city-level epidemic data dashboard and risk prediction system for the public to track the community spread of the epidemic. The COVID-19 risk prediction algorithm is developed by analysing Hong Kong’s urban structure, transportation network, population environment and other socio-economic data through the use of spatial big data technologies and analysis. This provides an accurate prediction of the development trend of the epidemic in a timelier manner and supports the public health department to formulate more precise prevention and control strategies.


In partnership with Smart Cities Connect, Smart Cities Connect Foundation, and the US Ignite, the Smart 50 Award recognises impactful smart cities projects across the world annually. This award aims to honour the most innovative and influential technologies in the areas of digital transformation, urban infrastructure and community engagement. The award presentation ceremony will be held at the Smart Cities Connect Conference & Expo in Washington DC in October 2021.