HONG KONG, CHINA - March 14, 2018 - Global technology-solutions provider Arrow Electronics today hosted its annual "Arrow Technology Solutions Forum and Showcase" event in Shenzhen, China. The event connects Hong Kong and Shenzhen innovation startups and makers powered by Arrow's design, engineering expertise and service capabilities with a network of key and emerging technology companies in the Greater Bay Area in China, as well as from around the world.
The event drew more than 700 attendees from all sectors of the innovation ecosystem in Hong Kong and China, connecting innovators, entrepreneurs, customers and suppliers on their design-to-production journey. Nearly 120 technology solution and product showcases were set up in four zones named "Internet-of-Things," "Automotive & Robotics," "Technology Innovation," and "Crowdfunding and Accelerators". As innovation startups and makers are a key driving force in the development of IoT supply chain in China, Arrow also organised a forum titled, "Opportunities And Challenges in the IoT Era for Technology Innovation Enterprises In The Greater Bay Area", serving as a platform for idea exchange to drive cross-industry synergies.
The establishment of the Greater Bay Area that consists of nine cities in Guangdong and the two special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, with a total population of 68 million and GDP of close to US$1.4 trillion in 2016, is enabling cooperation between China and Hong Kong companies in terms of science, technology and innovation. A white paper published by Deloitte in February this year highlighted the strength of the Greater Bay Area with the synergistic effects generated by its members. It estimated that the Greater Bay Area has the potential to grow as the next world-class bay area and be comparable to the New York City Metro Area, San Francisco Bay Area and Tokyo Bay.
"The Greater Bay Area creates a new synergy for start-ups as well as established technology companies and Arrow is glad to be facilitating the exchange of technologies, engineering expertise and technology product lifecycle development knowledge, and as well as an interactive sharing platform to propel this transformation journey," said Simon Yu, president of Arrow's components business in the Asia-Pacific region.
Hong Kong's government is also showing support by allocating US$6.4 billion in total for the innovation sector including setting aside US$2.5 billion for the first phase of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park in the Lok Ma Chau Loop, according to the recently released 2018-2019 Budget.
Accelerating the adoption of IoT
Meanwhile, Hong Kong and many urban areas in China are developing smart cities to provide an advanced living environment highlighting the growing importance of IoT technology. Xie Zhu Technology, a Suzhou-based hotel technology solution provider, exhibited a smart hotel IoT solution that drew a lot of attention from visitors during the event. Arrow provided solution architect and design expertise, as well as components supply chain services, to Xie Zhu to develop this intelligent system. The system not only helps reduce hotel energy costs by 35 percent, but also improves customer experience with personalized room conditions and guest services.
"Arrow's technology offerings and engineering expertise enable us to easily and swiftly develop this kind of intelligent system as part of our overall technology solution which can transform hotel customer experiences and bring positive operation efficiency gains," said Haibin Chen, founder and CEO of Xie Zhu Technology.
Guiding robotic startups forward
MedEXO Robotics, a Hong Kong-based startup focusing on the development of an auxiliary skeletal device, is one of the many startups that uses Arrow's Open Lab in the Hong Kong Science Park for accelerating product engineering design and hardware development. MedEXO is currently developing low-cost and multipurpose movement assistance devices such as mechanical prosthetics and walking assistance tools in order to increase the self-care abilities of the disabled, the elderly and Parkinson's disease patients.
"We have been able to tap into Arrow's technical expertise and a wide portfolio of high-quality sensor and electronic components, which enable us to speed up our robotic product development process," said Denis Huen, founder and CEO, MedEXO Robotics.
Serving as a center of excellence and proof-of-concept experience lab for startups, subject matter experts, enterprise customers, and solution partners, Arrow Open Lab has supported more than 850 design and engineering projects over the past 18 months.
Nurturing the next generation of innovators
Arrow believes innovation is a skill set that can be taught and is actively sharing resources and expertise with leading universities in China to nurture young innovators. Arrow hosts an annual "Innovation Club" competition in partnership with several top universities, including Beijing Jiaotong University, Shanghai University and Shenzhen University, involving more than 1,000 students and faculty members. Three projects of the winning teams from Shenzhen University were showcased today, including label type infrared relay equipment based on Bluetooth mesh network and wifi, an auto mapping robot bases on SLAM, and an interactive plant system that supports long-distance control.
In addition, two winning solutions from the Arrow InnoDesign Contest, held in July last year to encourage next-gen innovators turning their creative ideas into socially impactful IoT solutions, were showcased today. They included a navigational system powered by radar technology designed to help the visually impaired overcome mobility challenges as well as a solar-powered and radar-based technology that can detect flooding incidents and issue warning alerts in advance via a smartphone app.
Another representative of the young innovators today was a team of enthusiastic Hong Kong secondary school students from Buddhist Ho Nam Kam College. This team of young students is fond of building robots, and the one they created from scratch was shortlisted in numerous competitions, winning the championship in the dancing category in an international competition. Arrow hopes to bring this team to the next level by introducing them to the professionals in the technology industry at today's event and to support their future work.