ASTRI, powered by technology, strives to enrich people’s lives by innovating solutions that help businesses and communities. Showcasing one of its latest and novel solutions, developed jointly with its Sweden-based partner Smart Secure ID (SSID), ASTRI is participating in the Hong Kong Science Park Innovation Showcase 2017-18. The solution showcased by ASTRI – ‘Palm Fusion Biometric sensing device’ – is a biometric authentication method based on the unique patterns and various characteristics in the palms of people’s hands. The solution uses a state-of-the-art contact-less, biometric sensing and verification device developed by ASTRI. This solution works by capturing a person’s palm vein and palm print patterns at the same time while sensing the presence of a palm placed on the device through infrared and visible light.
Since veins lie beneath the skin, attempts to forge an identity becomes extremely difficult. Furthermore, palm print contains a wealth of inimitable features – even identical twins can be differentiated through their palm print patterns. By using the fusion technology, ASTRI’s solution obtains a higher security level, combining both palm print and palm vein features.
Identity management is a key issue across many different sectors as organisations as well as citizens strive to safeguard their information and digital assets. This innovative solution from ASTRI brings huge practical benefits through its robust access control mechanism.
As technologies continue to evolve, they constantly reshape the world around us. The benefits of advanced technologies can be felt in our daily lives – it’s a force we need to leverage and appreciate more. The Innovation Showcase organised by Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation Limited (HKSTP) is a platform for innovators to display and share their invention, and tell their stories of how to integrate their emerging technologies to deliver social and economic benefits. ASTRI is pleased to be a part of this year-long showcase where innovative solutions will be on display across different locations within Hong Kong Science Park in Shatin. ASTRI shares the same vision with HKSTP and other players in Hong Kong’s technology ecosystem – making technologies work for Hong Kong and its people.
Some of Hong Kong’s Top Minds in Science and Technology visit ASTRI, as part of an ASHK delegation
A high-profile delegation from the Academy of Sciences Hong Kong (ASHK) visited ASTRI on 6 November 2017, to exchange views on scientific and technological R&D. The delegation included the Academy’s founding president Professor Tsui Lap-chee, GBM, GBS, JP; ASHK’s founding member Professor Tony F Chan, JP, President of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST); Professor Joseph J Y Sung, SBS, JP, Vice-Chancellor and President of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK); and ASHK Secretary General Mr Terence Chan. Mr Wong Ming-yam, BBS, JP, Chairman of ASTRI, welcomed the delegates to ASTRI along with Dr Meikei Ieong, Chief Technology Officer and other senior executives.
The ASHK delegation learnt about ASTRI’s various R&D initiatives including Financial Technologies, Cover Glass and Touch Panel Glass Automatic Defects Inspection Systems, Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) Platform, as well as 3D and Augmented Reality (AR) Displays. They were also briefed on the projects and accomplishments of the Hong Kong Branch of Chinese National Engineering Research Centre (CNERC) for Application Specific Integrated Circuit System, which is based in ASTRI.
The ASHK delegation stressed the need to foster stronger collaboration and exchange between academic institutions, technology developers and the industry. Professor Tsui recently spearheaded an ASHK Mentorship Programme for Hong Kong’s secondary school students, offering them a chance to mingle with the city’s scientific and engineering elite. He dubbed the collaboration between students and technology experts as a springboard that can “produce the city’s the next great scientist through the interaction between Distinguished Masters and Accomplished Students”. The two University Presidents shared their wish to facilitate more career development opportunities for science and technology graduates in association with ASTRI.
Echoing the delegation members’ suggestion to expose youngsters to practical research in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), ASTRI Chairman Mr Wong said, “It is imperative to have regular and meaningful interaction between all the players in the technology ecosystem, including students, technology developers and businesses.” Mr Wong referred to the many career development opportunities available at ASTRI which “welcomes talented scientists and engineers to join various R&D areas in ASTRI – to sharpen their skills and make a difference.”
Professor Chan and Professor Sung, Presidents of two of Hong Kong’s most globally-renowned universities, placed strong emphasis on providing students with real-life exposure into science and technology R&D. They cited examples of the FinTech Career Accelerator Scheme (FCAS) co-organised by ASTRI and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), where HKUST and CUHK are both participating universities. More such opportunities and platforms are needed for university students and graduates to work with institutions like ASTRI, and gain valuable practical experience.
The delegates showed a keen interest in ASTRI’s innovative technologies and learnt about their impact on Hong Kong residents’ everyday lives. While visiting the Smart City Innovation Centre, developed jointly by ASTRI and Hong Kong Science Park, the delegates witnessed practical applications like AR Head-Mount Display, Smart Navigation and Smart Parking, Smart Meter for utility services, and Connected Cars for Smart Mobility. The discussions during the visit referred to the Hong Kong Smart City Consultancy Study Report recently released by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO). The Government’s smart city vision for Hong Kong involves “building a strong economy, enhancing the quality of people’s lives, and making Hong Kong a smart, sustainable city.”
Professor Sung mentioned “elderly care” in particular, when discussing the future challenges in Hong Kong’s smart city development. With an ageing population, “offering a safe and comfortable living to the society’s senior citizens shall be a key priority” for the Government as well as for public service providers, he said.
ASTRI’s Health Technologies R&D involve developing applications and solutions, especially in the areas of preventive health monitoring, medical diagnosis, medical computing and data analytics. In the recent past, ASTRI’s R&D teams developed an innovative cardiovascular monitoring device, a hybrid tracking system used in elderly care centres, an e-Education and Infotainment Platform for senior citizens, an intelligent preventive healthcare system which combines wireless sensors and smart devices to track and report key health indicators.
ASTRI, as the largest applied R&D institution in Hong Kong, undertakes a number of initiatives in smart city development. While exchanging experiences and insights with the visiting ASHK delegation, ASTRI’s R&D professionals discussed various innovative projects that the Institute has pursued over the years. These include: smart connectivity, smart mobility, smart utility and public transportation, smart healthcare, and public safety. In supporting the Government’s Smart Hong Kong vision, ASTRI leverages a number of R&D fields such as Internet-of-Things (IoT) – including Internet-of-Vehicles (IoV) and Device-to-Device (D2D) communications, Pre-5G and 5G communications, data analytics, smart city software platform and network security.
The delegation acknowledged ASTRI’s highly-capable R&D teams, and hoped that ASTRI would “continue to invest in its R&D capabilities, people and infrastructure” to deliver innovative solutions in full alignment of Hong Kong’s socio-economic priorities. They also talked about global as well as regional benchmarking, and how neighbouring cities and economies are approaching their smart city development.
Professor Tsui summed up the visit by saying, “Through this visit, we have been enlightened by the developments and achievements at ASTRI. We wish ASTRI continued success and look forward to hearing more breakthrough stories in the not too distant future.”
ASTRI partners with InvestHK for Hong Kong FinTech Week 2017
ASTRI partnered with InvestHK, organiser of the Hong Kong FinTech Week 2017, and contributed with in-depth, insightful sessions on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) or Blockchain. In addition to two mainstage sessions and a workshop on Blockchain, ASTRI also presented a workshop on cybersecurity. The mainstage sessions on DLT covered ‘Cutting-edge Blockchain Applications’ across industries such as luxury retail and financial services, and ‘Legal, Regulatory and Control Principles of DLT’ respectively. Meanwhile, the workshop discussed ‘Technological Aspects of DLT’.
On the opening day, Dr MeiKei Ieong, Chief Technology Officer of ASTRI, moderated a panel discussion on ‘Cutting-edge Blockchain Applications’. The panel included senior executives from two unique industries – luxury retail (represented by Pritesh Patel – SVP and Chief Operating Officer of Gemological Institute of America Inc, and Jade Lee – Deputy General Manager or Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group) and financial services (represented by Harry Wong – Governing Committee Member and Chairman FinTech Taskforce of The Hong Kong Federation of Insurers, and Zhi Yong-wang – Head of Product Development and Management of ICBC Asia Limited). The panellists discussed opportunities as well as constraints in rolling out Blockchain applications across various industries. The experience from the luxury jewellery sector highlighted how Blockchain can be useful in a wide range of applications like product authentication, supply chain tracking as well as customer data management.
Dr Ieong moderated another session the next day, on the technological aspects of rolling out DLT. The panel included Mr Jehan Chu, Founder of Ethereum HK Meetup; Dr Arafet Ben Makhlouf, FinTech and Blockchain Consultant at Deloitte; Ms Connie Leung, Senior Director at Microsoft; and Mr Carl Wegner, Managing Director at R3. The panellists shared their experience in moving from Blockchain prototyping to production and deployment of DLT applications. While discussing the challenges and roadmap ahead, the panellists emphasised the importance of professional trainings on DLT, and enabling technology professionals to design and create smart contracts and end-user applications.
25 October was the ‘HKMA FinTech Day’ in the FinTech Week. At the event, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) unveiled the “Whitepaper 2.0 on Distributed Ledger Technology”. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Norman Chan, Chief Executive of HKMA, said “The findings and recommendations in the whitepaper will help devise practical guidelines for the use of DLT in the banking sector in the future.” He acknowledged that “Hong Kong has made important progress in cross-border collaboration and the research on DLT applications. The collaborative efforts and enhanced research and talent development are the essential building blocks to facilitate financial innovation and prepare Hong Kong to advance to the new Smart Banking Era.”
Mr Alan Cheung Wei-lun, Director of Advanced Digital Systems at ASTRI, was a panellist in a discussion on ‘Whitepaper on the legal, regulatory and control principles of DLT’. The session was moderated by Mr Nelson Chow, Chief FinTech Officer of HKMA. Mr Cheung explained the role played by ASTRI in the development of the DLT Whitepaper 2.0. ASTRI provided unbiased and the most up-to-date technological information and insights on DLT, including references of application implementation. Working as part of a Digital Identity Management working group that also includes HKMA and five leading banks, ASTRI had performed a Proof-of-Concept-based feasibility study on using DLT-based Know Your Customers (KYC) processes in the sector. “We provided updates of DLT platforms including public as well as permissioned applications”. Mr Cheung added.
In the workshop session on Cybersecurity, Dr Andrew Wat Yiu-wing, Director of Data Analytics and Cybersecurity at ASTRI, co-presented along with Dr Lucas Hui Chi-kwong, Founder and Honorary Director of the Centre for Information Security and Cryptography at the University of Hong Kong. The session’s topics included building a cyber-risk-aware culture in businesses, grooming a cyber-defence-ready workforce, and deploying the right tools and systems to deter vicious cyber-attacks. Cybersecurity is a key focus in ASTRI’s FinTech R&D. ASTRI’s initiatives in that area include cyber-intelligence sharing, training of cybersecurity professionals and advanced cybersecurity research.
Over 5,000 financial services professionals, FinTech entrepreneurs, investors, inventors, researchers and executives from around the world discussed and debated the future of financial technologies at Hong Kong FinTech Week 2017. Senior officials and dignitaries who addressed the event included Hon James Henry Lau Jr, JP, Secretary for Financial Services and Treasury; and Mr Edward Yau Tang-wah, GBS, JP, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development; of the HKSAR Government.
Mr Lau spoke on behalf of the Hong Kong Government and its regulators saying, “We want to embrace Fintech innovators, and welcome them to the transformation of Hong Kong’s financial centre and its financial services.”
Pointing out to the fact that over 100 countries have signed up in the ‘Belt and Road’ programme, Mr Yau said that “Hong Kong can play a central role with financial and technical support” for all these economies, and encouraged Fintech companies to “make Hong Kong the launchpad for their businesses”.
ASTRI supports Symposium on Innovation and Technology; its Chairman and Board Director join other dignitaries in strategic forum
Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, a high-profile symposium on Innovation and Technology was organised in the 37th HKTDC Hong Kong Electronics Fair along with the 21st electronicAsia on 13 October, 2017. The event was attended by a number of senior leaders from Government, Legislature, Technology and Business domains, including Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor – Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR Government. One of the flagship events at the Fairs was the Symposium on Innovation & Technology under the theme “Connected Living”. ASTRI was a supporting organisation in the programme.
The Symposium opened with the Chief Executive of the HKSAR Government Carrie Lam as the officiating guest. She said that innovation and technology create quality jobs for young people, opportunities for young entrepreneurs, improve people’s livelihood and help power Hong Kong’s future economy. “The Government would adopt the right policies, invest the necessary resources and connect with talents and renowned research institutions”, she added. The Chief Executive also said that in a highly competitive global environment with rapid advancements in the Mainland, Hong Kong needs to promote innovation and technology (I&T) “with the right vision and the right policies”. Mrs Lam told the audience, “Hong Kong is entering a period when opportunities and challenges co-exist. This also applies to I&T development.” She referred to the development taking place across the industrial sector in the South China Greater Bay Area, and how Hong Kong stands to gain from it.
The Symposium featured speakers from technology giants such as Microsoft and Tencent sharing the latest technology developments. Ms Cally Chan, General Manager of Microsoft Hong Kong Limited, who is also a Board Director of ASTRI, spoke about how mixed reality and intelligent cloud are helping to drive the digital transformation. She explained how Internet of Things – complimented by virtual, augmented and mixed reality – are empowering businesses, engaging customers, transforming products and boosting efficiencies.
Mr Wong Ming-yam, Chairman of ASTRI, moderated a panel discussion on ‘Smartly – We Connect’. Mr Wong facilitated a lively discussion on the roles for start-up ventures, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and technology experts in enabling innovation and fostering positive change. The discussion centred around catalysing a culture of innovation in Hong Kong to fast-track Smart City development. The panel featured two members of the Hong Kong SAR Legislative Council: The Hon Ir Dr Lo Wai-kwok who represents the Engineering functional constituency and The Hon Mr Charles P Mok who represents the Information Technology functional constituency; as well as Mr Chan Yam-ki, Head of Public Policy and Government Affairs, Google Hong Kong; Mr Zane Moi, Head of Business Development for Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, Amazon Web Services; and Mr Alex Wong Ka-hang, Director of Solution Sales, Huawei International. The panellists were unanimous in urging the Government to take up a more active role in boosting innovation and technology. The Hon Mr Mok said it was a good sign that the new Policy Address acknowledged that resistance towards technological advancement came partly from within the Government. He hoped that the Government would continue to listen to the industry and build a world of “Connected Living” together.
The day-long symposium covered a series of other topics: smart city, cloud technology, autonomous driving, machine learning, IoT, cellular vehicle-to-everything technology, and artificial intelligence.
ASTRI, as the largest applied R&D institution in Hong Kong, actively pursues sophisticated IoT and communications technologies as well as Smart City applications. ASTRI is well placed to support the industrial sector to leverage the innovative manufacturing technologies while gearing up for ‘Industry 4.0’ and ‘Made in China 2025’.
Chief Executive announces major policy initiatives to boost the SAR’s I&T endeavours
Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR, delivered her maiden policy speech today at the Legislative Council. In her speech, the Chief Executive (CE) said in order to sustain the favourable trends for our economy, diversification is the only solution. The current-term Government considers that both innovation and technology (I&T) and creative industries have the competitive edge and much potential, not only to bolster economic growth, but also to create quality employment opportunities for our young people.
The CE also highlighted the need to catch up in the global I&T race to turn Hong Kong into a global I&T hub. In the 2017 Policy Address, she announced a series of new, major policy initiatives to boost the SAR’s I&T endeavours. She said the Government has set a goal to double the Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product from the current 0.73% to 1.5% within its five‑year tenure. The Government will also step up its efforts in eight key areas in that regard: investing more resources into R&D, nurturing a talent pool, promoting venture capital, strengthening scientific research infrastructure, carrying out legislation review, opening up data, streamlining government procurement, and boosting STEM education.
Encouraging significantly greater investment in R&D, the Chief Executive announced HK$10 billion funding for R&D in universities, and major tax deductions for R&D expenditure incurred by businesses enterprises. The Education Bureau is going to offer scholarships worth HK$3 billion to local students admitted to postgraduate research programmes. The Innovation and Technology Bureau will launch a HK$500 million ‘Technology Talent Scheme’, including the establishment of a ‘Postdoctoral Hub’. At the same time, the Government will strive to attract the best overseas talents and scientific research institutions to Hong Kong.
Announcing an additional HK$700 million investment to “immediately take forward several projects to develop Hong Kong into a smart city”, Mrs Lam said she will personally lead a high-level, inter-departmental Steering Committee on Innovation and Technology to scrutinise and steer measures under the eight areas of I&T and smart city development. The Committee will offer advice to the Government on I&T development to maintain Hong Kong’s competitiveness in the global arena and enhance Hong Kong’s alignment with the development of our country.
The Chief Executive promised to streamline Government institutions and operations, fostering innovation and collaboration, and embracing smart technologies across all levels of the administration. She put her faith in people – it is the enterprising spirit of the “brilliant Hong Kong people” that has made the city so successful over the past half-century.
ASTRI welcomes the strong emphasis put in by the HKSAR Government on Innovation and Technology development in Hong Kong. As ever, ASTRI will remain steadfast in our mission to fully align with Government initiatives in I&T, gearing up for cutting-edge R&D efforts to support local economic growth.