Many governments around the world are working towards transforming their major cities into smart cities. A smart city leverages advances in technology such as facial recognition, AI and connected IoT (the Internet of Things) devices, to collect big data which is then used run the city more efficiently and sustainably for its citizens. For instance, these large amounts of data can be used to better manage traffic, transport, waste collection and energy systems by having more reliable real-time data at hand, and improve public safety with smart CCTV and video analytics systems. As with many other governments, the Macau government is also keen to accelerate Macau’s transformation into a smart city. In its Policy Address for 2016, the government set a 5-year plan to achieve this to keep the city in line with other major world cities and to help meet the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. In this blog, we will take a closer look at some of the essential elements to make Macau a smart city.
Leveraging Fintech and digital entrepreneurship is an essential part of becoming a smart city. In Macau, financial transactions are now becoming increasingly digital partly thanks to the implementation of the Macau One Account in 2020. The app has over 300,000 users who use it to pay utility bills, book health appointments and even submit documents online. In fact, the app now has over 120 services and more are being considered such as venue bookings and visa applications.
Another essential step to becoming a smart city is improving public safety by deploying more smart CCTV systems equipped with video analytics and facial recognition. Guardforce Macau, for instance, has developed facial recognition that can be integrated into a CCTV system to identify individuals through facial features, personal traits and behaviour much more effectively than humans. Combining this with their advanced video analytics solution which uses AI and machine learning to allow for advanced object tracking, license plate recognition, dwell and loitering, people counting, queue management and more, make it a very powerful and useful tool in smart city development.
By harnessing big data, healthcare can be made more effective and efficient for patients and healthcare professionals. Currently, Macau’s smart healthcare system is only in the beginning stages with basic information sharing between hospitals, but much more can be achieved in this area, especially once privacy and data collection laws are amended to allow for a truly smart healthcare system. Another area to be more widely embraced for smart healthcare is in personalized healthcare. An example would be Guardforce Macau’s Vitals personal two-in-one mobile vital signs and fall detection device. Vitals takes pressure off care givers while offering better protection for users by alerting the responsible person if there is a deterioration in the user’s health condition or a fall is detected (or even predicted to happen such the person attempting to get out of bed). See Vitals in action below:
Part of becoming a true smart city as well as to hit sustainability targets is to deal with waste more effectively. By deploying smart bins in the city, such as the one from Guardforce Macau in the video below, the public can enjoy more hygienic streets, while waste management companies can better optimize collection routes through the fleet management platform. This is achieved by using IoT technology to automatically send an alert only when the bin needs emptying, which will also be a lot less frequent than conventional bins thanks to its solar-powered trash compactor.
Another great innovation in smart waste management is the Auto-sorting Recycle Bin. Using advanced AI and image processing, this bin can immediately recognize items placed inside and automatically put them in the correct container for plastic, paper, metal or glass, meaning users no longer need to pre-sort their waste which will improve recycling rates. A notification is also automatically sent to the waste collection company to empty the bin when it’s full.
Finally, smart traffic control is another vital part of being a smart city. So far, Macau has a Bus Travelling System app from the Transport Bureau. This allows users to see real-time bus schedules and other useful travel advice. But by leveraging more IoT smart devices in the city, there can be many more advances in this area, for instance to better communicate real-time traffic and parking conditions to users.
Guardforce Macau is supporting Macau’s continuing transition to become a fully smart city with innovations in facial recognition and video analytics for public safety, as well as its Vitals vital sign and fall detection sensor and smart waste management solutions. To learn more, click here.