The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) of the Hong Kong SAR Government has been providing engineering services to upkeep electrical and mechanical (E&M) systems and to enhance energy efficiency in over 8,000 government buildings and facilities. With the advancement of the Internet-of-Things (“IoT”) technology in recent years, the EMSD has developed a dedicated IoT Network named Government-Wide IoT Network (GWIN) based on Long Range (“LoRa”) technology to enable near real-time monitoring of the E&M systems concerned, thus improving the reliability of the E&M engineering services provided.
The GWIN utilises LoRa technology which is a cost-effective means to implement wide area monitoring. The sensor connectivity does not rely on public mobile networks, and can therefore eliminate congestion problems that may be encountered during adverse weather or other critical situations. The LoRa-based communication network between the IoT sensors and gateways is operated as a dedicated wireless network with long range transmission capability, typically up to 10 km in rural areas and 5 km in urban areas where wireless transmission is limited by high building density. Furthermore, LoRa sensors are typically battery powered (i.e. not requiring power supply connection) and therefore are easy and quick to install.
In 2019, the EMSD first deployed GWIN in Shatin District, achieving a coverage of over 80% within a short period of 10 months. Upon its successful application in Shatin, the GWIN was extended to Kowloon East in 2020, and is now being rolled out to other districts in phases. As at January 2022, about 300 gateways have been installed, with IoT sensors implemented to monitor the E&M systems at various government facilities, covering public transport interchanges, footbridges, government offices, municipal buildings, community halls, clinics, ambulance depots, fire stations, service reservoirs, promenades, etc.
With the GWIN, the EMSD has also supported various government departments to conduct IoT trials such as safety related IoT applications at construction sites, smart drainage system and people counting in Lunar New Year flower markets. GWIN is also deployed to support Smart City Blueprint 2.0 initiatives including smart toilets, rodent control management, non-metered parking vacancy information and location tracking of hikers in remote areas.
Leveraging on the continuous development of the GWIN, the EMSD will further collaborate with other government departments, research institutes, start-ups and universities to explore innovative IoT applications based on the GWIN for enhancing the delivery of public services and supporting smart city initiatives.
This article is contributed by the Development Bureau of the HKSAR Government.