Internet of Things (IoT)

What is IoT?

First coined in 1999 by the Auto-ID Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the term “Internet of Things” (IoT) was the commencement of a research project. It involved integrating the Internet with RFID technology such that it can automatically identify any object along the supply chain by leveraging IoT solutions and IoT platform.

IoT refers to any smart interconnected devices (e.g. RFID, sensors, etc.)adopted by businesses to obtain more visibility of the identification, location, and condition of products, assets, transactions, or even people. The ultimate goal is to be able to trace pedigree and to drive more effective, timely business decisions or to improve customer interactions.


Future prospects

The potential for IoT is enormous being described by a Goldman Sachs’ report in 2014, as the “third wave in the development of the Internet, with the possibilities to connect 20 million or more “things” to the Internet by 2020”. Potentially, IoT offers business value that goes beyond operational cost savings. Providers in the IoT ecosystem have a largely unexplored opportunity to develop compelling IoT solutions that might revolutionise the business world. These developments will play out within and across enterprises, offering opportunities for sustained business optimisation and value creation.


Germany plans for the future

Many countries have started to boost the development and the adoption of IoT technologies to sharpen their competitive edges enhance the IoT platform. Germany, whose manufacturing sector has long enjoyed the reputation of exceedingly excellence, has envisaged its future manufacturing as “Industry 4.0”, a term that describes the full digitisation of production processes, marrying the digital and physical worlds with IoT technologies within the factory. This includes using sensors to adjust the performance of machinery, and involves use of data from production machinery to adjust workflows by remotely tracking, monitoring, and adjusting machinery based on sensor data from different parts of the plant. Apart from maximising operations, IoT can also achieve predictive maintenance and inventory optimisation. The German Government is now investing 200 million Euros to spur Industry 4.0 research across government, academia, and business.


China recognises transformation and upgrade

The Chinese Government has also formulated policies and measures to fully exploit the potential of IoT. In May 2015, the Central Administration unveiled a 10-year national plan “Made in China 2025”, analogous to Germany’s Industry 4.0 initiative, aiming to transform and upgrade the “world’s factory” to a leading manufacturing power. The plan is to implement it in conjunction with the "Internet Plus" strategy. Its aims are to integrate with IoT platforms mobile Internet, cloud computing, big data and the IoT with modern manufacturing, to encourage the healthy development of e-commerce, industrial networks, and Internet banking, and to help Internet companies increase their international presence and IoT solutions development.


Hong Kong introduces new initiative and IoT Solutions

The Hong Kong SAR Government has also addressed the importance of IoT in its agenda. The 2014 Digital 21 has recognised IoT as one of the latest technologies Hong Kong should adopt and champion, and the 2015 Policy Address introduced a new initiative “Energising Kowloon East” aiming to carry out a pilot study in that district to examine the feasibility of developing a Smart City.


GS1 Hong Kong and IoT

GS1 Hong Kong has been proactively promoting the innovation and the adoption of IoT technologies to help local enterprises capitalise on this technology to sharpen their competitive edges.

Our initiatives and programmes on IoT include:


1. Pioneering the first EPC network infrastructure 

EPCglobal Hong Kong was established in 2004 by GS1 Hong Kong to promote the Electronic Product Code™ (EPC) standards and drive adoption to make smarter business with IoT.  One of the aims was the establishment of the pioneering Hong Kong EPCnetwork Infrastructure to make end-to-end supply chain visibility possible. 

EPCglobal Hong Kong was sponsored by the Innovation and Technology Commission, HKSAR Government under the Hong Kong Technology Cooperation Funding Scheme (TCFS) from 2005 to 2007.


The project

Pioneered the building of the EPC infrastructure based on EPC standards and integrated it with the global supply chain in four cross border pilots with industry players including Wal-mart, Maersk Logistics, VTech, Esquel and GroupSense.


The objective 

To harmonise the logistics and information flow of products moving along the supply chain which involves tremendous business event data generated from different supply chain processes. 


Result – ezTRACK

This EPC network infrastructure, officially commercialised in 2008 as ezTRACK, is one of the pioneering network infrastructures to realize Internet of Things and handling Big Data in the global supply chain.


2. Hong Kong Internet of Things Centre of Excellence ("The IoT Centre")

Set up by GS1 Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Science Park in 2013, with the support of the Innovation and Technology Commission of the HKSAR Government, the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation as well as industries, technology partners and other related organisations.

It is an extension of the Supply Chain Innovation Centre and the Hong Kong RFID Centre set up by GS1 Hong Kong and Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation in 2007 and 2008 respectively.

A unique showroom of IoT in Hong Kong, the IoT Centre,, shares best practices of applying IoT enabling technologies with the ultimate goals to uplift business performance, customer satisfaction and the betterment of  society.

The IoT Centre has received tremendous positive feedback and support from the industry. To further reach out to more industry players and members conveniently, the IoT Centre is relocated to GS1 Hong Kong’s office in December 2015.


3. IoT-related Recognitions and Awards


Best Smart Hong Kong Award, HK ICT Awards 2016

GS1 Hong Kong is the leading organisation of the “Best Smart Hong Kong Award” under the Hong Kong ICT Awards 2016. Click to know more about the awards.


Hong Kong RFID/ IoT Awards 

Established in 2008 the Hong Kong RFID Awards bring recognition to pioneering enterprises, which have successfully brought EPC/RFID technology into their business operations.

Businesses in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta are encouraged through these awards to adopt EPC/RFID technology and foster the development of new EPC/RFID products and services.

Now extended beyond the border the Guangdong-Hong Kong RFID Awards were introduced and are known as the “Guangdong–Hong Kong IoT Awards.” These are jointly organised by GS1 Hong Kong and Guangdong RFID Technology Service Centre to accelerate technology exchange and collaborations across the region.

This award scheme has evolved into the Hong Kong IoT Awards in 2014 to embrace the overwhelming trend of IoT, and has been incorporated as an award stream in the Best Smart Hong Kong Award of the Hong Kong ICT Awards.


The U-21 IoT Awards 

Previously known as “The Hong Kong U-21 RFID Awards” and established in 2009, The Hong Kong U-21 Internet of Things (IoT) Awards is now a stream of Hong Kong Internet of Things Awards.

The aims are to recognise creative young talents who are committed to innovating and developing new IoT applications or technological products to address business issues and problems of daily lives. 

The influence of this award scheme has been extended to Taiwan to boost innovation and encourage the knowledge exchange between youngsters from Hong Kong and Taiwan.  Click to know more about the awards.


4. Hong Kong Internet of Things Industry Advisory Council

In 2013, the Hong Kong Internet of Things Industry Advisory Council was formed by like-minded companies under the auspices of GS1 Hong Kong aiming to promote IoT innovations and broaden their adoption to uplift the competitiveness of local enterprises, and foster an IoT ecosystem for the continuous growth of this game-changing technology in Hong Kong. Click to know more about the council.


5. The Hong Kong Internet of Things Maturity Model 

The Hong Kong Internet of Things Maturity Model championed by GS1 Hong Kong is commissioned with the objectives to:

  1. Assess the maturity of IoT adoption in the industry 
  2. Benchmark enterprises’ IoT adoption & corresponding business benefits
  3. Be a reference model for enterprises to further improve business excellence with IoT

The Model gathers the wisdom of industry experts who define the model and the associated matrix for industry to self-assess IoT adoption to further identify room for improvement.


6. Hong Kong Internet of Things Conference 

In 2013, GS1 Hong Kong initiated the HK Internet of Things Conference (“IoT Conference”). The aim was to gather thought leaders to discuss the latest trends and strategies of IoT. Additionally they would share information and technologies spanning from sensors, M2M, cloud computing, big data, data analytics, to storage, security, mobility, business intelligence, etc with the ultimate goals to uplift business performance and customer satisfaction. 

The 2016 HK IoT Conference, held on 21 June, gathered a line-up of over 20 speakers and attracted more than 400 participants from various industries. Click to know more about the 2016 conference.


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