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. 


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. Smart Business Innovation Centre

Initially known as the “Hong Kong Internet of Things Centre of Excellence” and more commonly referred as the “IoT Centre”, The Innovation Centre was 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 was relocated to GS1 Hong Kong’s premises in Wanchai in Nov 2015, and renamed to “Smart Business Innovation Centre (“The Innovation Centre”) in 2019. Click to know more


3. Hong Kong ICT Awards

Steered by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer, and organised by Hong Kong ICT industry associations and professional bodies, the Hong Kong ICT Awards aims to recognise and promote outstanding ICT solutions, inventions and applications, thereby encouraging innovation and excellence among Hong Kong’s ICT talents and enterprises in their constant pursuit of creative and better solutions to meet business and social needs.

GS1 Hong Kong has been the Leading Organiser (LO) of Hong Kong ICT Awards since 2015, hosting the Best Smart Hong Kong Award from 2015-2017, and the Smart Mobility Award since 2018. Click to know more


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, it helps uplift the competitiveness of local enterprises. Click to know more


5. Hong Kong Internet of Things Conference 

One of the largest of its kind in Hong Kong ICT community held annually since 2013, the Hong Kong IoT Conference serves as an efficient platform for industry practitioners to discover how IoT is adopted to meet different market needs and to exchange expertise. Click to know more



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