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Alibaba Cloud signs MoU to promote smart city innovation

14 Nov 2018

‘Smart cities’ is one of the hot buzz phrases of 2018, and Alibaba Cloud is taking measures to ensure it’s at the forefront of the movement.

The company has signed a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) to combine their efforts in artificial intelligence research with a particular focus on smart cities and smart healthcare.

According to the duo, they hope to use their research findings to implement into real applications that can used in Hong Kong as a trial, before being introduced to the rest of the Greater Bay Area and other overseas cities.

"PolyU and Alibaba Group have been working closely together for some time, collaborating on many Alibaba research projects, AI-related projects and activities. PolyU has been recognised for its endeavors when it was ranked eighth in terms of field-weighted citation impacts in AI research according to data analysis for Times Higher Education,” says PolyU Deputy President and Provost professor Philip C.H. CHAN.

“Combining the two parties’ research capabilities in AI and big data analysis, we will deliver fruitful results for both scientific research and technological development.”

The MoU signing ceremony took place on the university campus with PolyU vice president professor Alex WAI and Alibaba Group senior vice president & Alibaba Cloud president Simon HU as signatories.

Witnessing the event were Hong Kong SAR Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government director Dr HAO Yin-xing and PolyU president professor Timothy W. TONG, among a number of other dignitaries.

At the event Professor TONG expressed his confidence in the deal with Alibaba Cloud and his optimism in developing cutting-edge technologies in the fields of smart cities and smart healthcare.

In terms of smart cities, the duo asserts they will be working collaboratively to implement big data technologies and the Deep Neural Network to areas like public transport management and urban planning.

And in the area of smart healthcare, they hope to produce a series of advanced AI-application technologies, with initiatives already being identified to assist in lowering medical expenses, reducing the chance of medical malpractice, assisting in the automation of diagnostic procedures, and providing more personalised medication services for patients.

The two parties will also look into the potential to establish a joint research centre in a bid to accelerate AI research, including fundamental research, applied research, and commercialisation of research findings to ultimately support the development of the ecosystem and benefit the wider community.

"In 2017, Alibaba Cloud launched the ET Brain series which integrated urban management, industrial optimisation, auxiliary medical care, environmental management, and aviation scheduling amongst other capabilities. ET City Brain and ET Medical Brain have achieved significant success in a relatively short period of time,” says HU.

“We are confident that by combining Alibaba Cloud's powerful cloud computing infrastructure and AI technology with PolyU's research capabilities, we will be able to drive forward the digital transformation of industries through applicable technologies that enhance people’s lives.”

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