Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology has been developing fast in recent years and touches on diverse technological spheres like the 5th generation mobile networks (5G), smart living home and health technologies. Addressing the market demand for IoT talent, the IoT Innovation and Technology Centre (the Centre), located at the Sha Tin Campus of the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE), was officially unveiled today (Tuesday). Guest-of-Honour, Secretary for Innovation and Technology Alfred SIT, witnessed the milestone in the nurturing of IoT specialists, together with industry partners who had signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with the Centre earlier, including CLP Power, HKT, and Siemens.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Alfred SIT, the Secretary for Innovation and Technology, thanked VTC for making tremendous contribution in nurturing local talent and driving academia-industry collaboration over the years. The opening of the IoT Innovation and Technology Centre will mark another milestone and solidify the supply of local innovation and technology talent in the long run. Noting COVID-19 has brought a tough year, Mr Sit said that innovation and technology can help make society more resilient and adapt to or even revive in the “new normal”. The Government will put forth initiatives using IoT technology in different walks of life in Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong 2.0 for members of the public to better perceive the benefits from smart city development.
On the same occasion, VTC Chairman, Tony TAI, said, “The establishment of this new IoT Innovation and Technology Centre is one of our major initiatives at the VTC to strengthen our students’ knowledge and skills in IoT applications to support the manpower needs of industry. Echoing the Government’s direction and vision for a smart city, the Centre will undertake academia-industry collaborative projects, multidisciplinary projects and applied research in IoT for the goal of producing innovative and impactful solutions for smart city development.”
Industry support is crucial to talent development in the light of the burgeoning growth of IoT technology. The Centre earlier signed MOUs with a number of enterprises, for instance, to strengthen collaboration with CLP Power on technologies about smart grid and smart meter; to join hands with HKT on IoT projects powered by 5G and to develop projects related to smart city with Siemens. These collaborations allow students to take part in industry projects and keep abreast of the latest technologies in the market and practical know-how on IoT applications, and thus train quality manpower for industry.
IoT connects a variety of devices like sensors, communications chips and equipment through the internet to enable data transmission for execution of commands. Application of IoT technology is wide-ranging and blends into the everyday lives of all. Taking the advantages of 5G’s features of high bandwidth, lower latency and a greater number of connected devices for massive connectivity capabilities, large scale IoT deployment becomes possible. The Centre currently identifies four areas of focus for development, including Smart City, Property Technology, Smart Grid, and Health Technology. By conducting applied research in diverse areas, the Centre hopes to highlight the importance of IoT technology for future lives.
With respect to Smart City, Siemens has generously donated IoT equipment, the Embedded City Box (ECB), to the Centre and it is now installed in the Centre and IVE (Haking Wong). Through analysing real-time data, such as temperature, humidity, and the concentration level of suspended particulates of the surrounding environment on an advanced cloud system “MindSphere”, students can learn to master the relevant smart city technologies, paving the way for a relevant career.
On the application of Property Technology, the Centre showcases applied project outcomes which include two remote systems, one for monitoring the emergency backup lighting operation in buildings and the other for controlling the indoor environment. Through the systems, students can develop a better understanding of remote communications technology for improving energy efficiency.
As IoT technology can greatly stablise power supply and improve energy management, the IVE Engineering Discipline is collaborating with the CLP Power towards establishing a “Smart Grid Operation Centre” at IVE (Haking Wong) to allow students to learn more about the development and application of smart grids. This Centre will be able to supplement students’ learning experience of smart grids especially in the area of hardware applications.
In terms of Health Technology applications, the Centre will jointly work with the HealthTech Centre located at IVE (Kwai Chung) to develop more IoT-driven health-tech solutions for elderly care, remote diagnosis and treatment and more. This will provide students with further opportunities to learn about IoT technology through taking part in cross-disciplinary projects.
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