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Getting Smarter
Cutting-edge technology ups the intelligent factor at Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition
By Xia Yuanyuan | VOL.11 September ·2019-09-03

The 5G technology is used in the media center of the Beijing Expo (LI XIN)

It is no mean feat to service an expected 16 million visitors from home and abroad in a park covering an area equivalent to about 500 football fields. To help things run smoothly takes a lot of human organization coupled with some very innovative smart technology. That's exactly what is going on at the 2019 Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition (Beijing Expo), where the future has arrived.

One of the most popular attractions is iBEN, a robot with a height of about 150 cm sporting a 27-inch interactive screen. iBEN communicates with visitors at the China Pavilion, International Pavilion and Living Experience Pavilion in the expo, where visitors use the screen to chat to this marvel. It provides assistance with registration, reception, navigation and business inquiries.

"I asked the robot about the conference map, related routes, exhibition area information and so on," said Liu Ying, a Beijing resident visiting the expo. At the same time, some robot baristas can whip up a cup of cappuccino in just two minutes - and that includes the cleaning.

Apart from robots, other cutting-edge technologies, including the fifth-generation wireless network (5G) technology, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and Big Data, are also employed at the 503-hectare exhibition to showcase the significant role of modern technology in China's ecological development.

Faster access

Wearing a pair of 4K or 8K virtual reality glasses, tourists could watch live-stream footage of drones flying around the exhibition venue taken by unmanned aerial vehicles and remote cameras, which are sent back in real time via the 5G network.

"This is advanced and allows us to enjoy the views of the exhibition site from the best angle," Yu Shuang, a tourist, told ChinAfrica.

Thanks to the ultra-low latency and high speed of 5G, such videos have no delays and can thus give an immersive experience to visitors. Application of 5G cellular technology can be found throughout the expo.

Stepping into the 5G exhibition hall built by China Telecom, one of the main telecommunications service providers in China, visitors could not only snap selfies with rare plants, but also have fresh experiences. In the hall, visitors can watch 8,000-pixel high-definition videos and learn about progress in self-driving vehicle technology, telemedicine, drone logistics and transportation, as well as other 5G network applications.

"It is the first time for us to apply the latest technology and we want visitors to enjoy the convenience brought by high technologies," said Guo Ziliang, Deputy Director of the Information Department of the Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition Coordination Bureau.

Fully covered by 5G network, the media center of the expo offers reporters from local and international media outlets convenient Internet access service. Technically, the maximum download speed of 5G is tens of times that of 4G. It takes only dozens of seconds to download a full-length HD movie of 1G.

China issued 5G commercial licenses on June 6 and approved China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Broadcasting Network to operate the 5G digital cellular mobile communication business. The 5G commercialization is expected to gear up the rapid development of China's Internet of Things and buoy China's economic development, according to Guo.

Intelligent management

Equipped with high technology, the expo is intelligent with its smart management system which involves more than 5,000 items and facilities, such as the trash can.

As visitors throw waste in a can, it sends out an alert when it is almost full. This technology is applied to the maintenance of over 3,000 manhole covers. When the manhole cover is loose, an alarm will be sounded, requesting maintenance. Also, a street lamp could automatically adjust itself in brightness based on the real lighting environment.

All of this is done via 5G's broader network connections with sensors installed in each facility.

"We've tested the whole system numerous times. The expo could be a miniature version of a future smart city when 5G is fully put into use," said Li Lumin, staff at China Telecom's Beijing Bureau.

The expo's intelligence system covers air monitoring, smart fire protection, intelligent sanitation, smart lighting, smart car battery and smart manhole cover to achieve smart management. The service platform can monitor the information of all infrastructure through sensors, and the data can be analyzed for future use.

These advanced technologies allow the park management department to monitor the facilities in the park without leaving their office, let the platform display all the corners of the park through an interface and let visitors experience a smart city in advance.

Green innovators

The Beijing Expo shows the nation's latest achievements in technological innovations and also its role in enabling people to "live green, live better," which is the theme of the expo.

In fact, technology plays a leading role in China's ecological development on a 24/7 basis.

China's environment was previously under threat when factories and power plants polluted its air, water and soil. In a bid to tackle these challenges, the Chinese Government declared "war on pollution" and introduced a number of green initiatives.

According to observers, China's technology giants play a vital role in ecological development. Tencent, Baidu and Alibaba are among the world's top 10 Internet companies. Online technology - particularly e-commerce, Internet banking and social media - is accelerating and driving the pace of change.

For example, Ant Financial, a subsidiary of Alibaba, is a founding partner of the Green Digital Finance Alliance. This alliance aims to use digital technology to advance green finance.

Over 200 million users of Ant Financial signed up to Ant Forest, an app that gamifies carbon footprint tracking. The app prompts users to cut greenhouse gas emissions in real life, demonstrating the massive potential of fintech for supporting sustainable development. By the end of July 2019, more than 100 million trees had been planted in real life via the app.

Besides, this year, China developed a real-time monitoring platform, aiming to protect wildlife. It is expected to support research on ecological systems, animal populations and individual animals with advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence, Big Data, machine learning and neuro-linguistic processing.

(Comments to xyy@chinafrica.cn)

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