Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Visit to Hong Kong

In early December 2014 I had the chance to spend a little bit more than a week in  Hong Kong, to attend and present at the 2nd Conference for e-Demogracy and Open Governance in Asia (CEDEM Asia), that was organized at the City University of Hong Kong.  

With a population of more than 7 million people and a tremendous economic development over the last at least 20 years, Hong Kong is considered to be the “New York of Asia”: a place where cultures, languages, people, religions, industry and research meet and produce significant results.

With Associate Professor Marko Skoric, at City University Hong Kong
The visit to the City University (CU) of Hong Kong was fun and productivity combined: CU is ranked 108th  in the world, 11th  in Asia and 4th in Hong Kong by the QS World University Rankings (2014/15).  I had the chance to visit the Public Policy and the Media and Communication Departments, talk to faculty and students, discuss collaboration opportunities and share curriculum experiences. The Media and Communications Department, being at relevant size with my Department of Information and Communication Systems Engineering department in Samos, served as a nice example for making comparisons.  See the table below to understand some of those, and reach your own conclusions:

City University Hong Kong
Dep. of Media and Communication
University of the Aegean
Dep. of Information and Communication Systems
Number of Faculty
Administrative and Technical Staff
Pre-graduate Students
Post-graduate Students
Annual Fee per pre-graduate student
10,000 EUR
0 (free)
Annual Fee per post-graduate student
>12,000 EUR
3,000 EUR
Monthly Salary of Associate Professor (Gross, with benefits)
10,000 EUR
2,400 EUR
Average Income Taxation
Average rent for 80 sqm
3,000 EUR
700 EUR

The impressive Run Run Shaw building of M&C department at City University HK

The CEDEM 2014 Conference provided me with a chance to meet fellow scholars and practitioners in electronic government from Hong Kong, China, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and other countries of the Asia-Pacific region.  My presentation was about the 4th generation of social media tools in governance, inspired and cofounded by the EU Community project, that can be found here: http://www.slideshare.net/charalabidis/social-media-in-policy-making-the-eu-community-project-approach

Apart from the visit to the University and the CEDEM Conference the city had a lot to offer in site-seeing and people-watching.  Among the highlights I would pinpoint the following:      

  • The big (26 meters high !) statue of Buddha in Landau Island, together with the Po Lin monastery and the whole surrounding area.  I easily spent one full day, and I could spend a lot more in the tranquility of the whole setup.

The Big Buddha statue in Landau Island
  • The Hong Kong “skyline”, which you can see either during the day or night – it is equally overwhelming …

The Hong Kong skyline at night

But, above all, in order to understand Hong Kong, one must pay attention to the numbers - that are usually not easy to realise at first site.  For example: you see a block of flats. it looks big. but if you study careffuly you count:
  • 50 floors
  • 24 flats per floor 
  • A total of 50 X 24 = 1200 flats
  • With an average of 4 persons / flat, a total of almost ... 5,000 people in one block of flats
  • With a footprint of approcimately 2,000 square meters per bock of flats, you may have 20 of them in an 400 m X 400 m landplot: 100,000 people in a (large) landplot !
Typical Hong Kong block of flats -5000 people in one building
Or the metro: MTR (Hong Kong metro - stands for Massive Transportation Railway) looks like a typical metro operation, with trains and stations like in every European city.  But, some attention in the numbers will reveal the following:

  • Each train has 12 carriages
  • With 34 meters length per carriage the whole train is ... 400 metres long. Each train.
  • When fully loaded, each train carries pprocimately 3,500 people.
  • In the morning rush hour, trains come every minute, from the 7 lines servicing Hong Kong centre,  3,500 people X 7 lines X 60 trains per hour = 1,5 million people per hour top capacity (the MTR carries 5,5 million people per day)
Inside the 400 meters long MTR 
Last things I would like to pin-point are:
  • The very active General Consulate of Greece
  • The large open-air markets (like Greek "panigiri")
  • The elaborate, expensive restaurants (more than 30 michelin-stars-level) and bars in the town (try the Shangri-La or the Felix)
  • The live street Chinese opera singers, next to the Temle Street market, after 22:00
  • The V-king bar at the Hung Hong pier, a place to meet with "locals" of Asia-Pacific
So long Hong Kong ! (for the moment - already thinking to plan my next visit there ...)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Policy making via social media and open data : The NOMAD project

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NOMAD, making citizens’ voices heard

Policy Formulation &Validation througn non-moderated crowd-sourcing

NOMAD is about interpreting citizens' opinions, judgements and prejudices available on web and using them as core information to support multiple stages of the policy life cycle from the definition of the political agenda, the creation, the implementation and the monitoring of policy proposals. 
NOMAD is a web platform whose main purpose is to provide decision-makers with fully automated solutions for data acquisition, argument extraction, opinion mining, sentiment analysis, argument summarization and visualisation that work in a collaborative form in the policy-making arena. The NOMAD toolsuite successfully integrates the NOMAD policy making tools under a single work environment making it easy for the users to switch between the modules.

NOMAD addresses a specific audience of policy makers, political parties, domain experts, advisors, governments, NGO’s, academics, communication specialists, researchers, application and service developers and media institutions.

In order to validate the value of NOMAD in the policy making arena we conducted three different pilots, covering different languages and thematic fields; Greek pilot for energy, UK pilot for immunotherapy and Austrian pilot for open data. Documenting the piloting experiences will provide the opportunity to collect selected testimonies from pilot users that might serve as references with regard to the value of the NOMAD tools and give inspiration as to possible ways to put them in place in participative policy-making environments.
Watch NOMAD Explained

NOMAD's Pilots

The 2nd round of the UK, Greek and Austrian pilot workshops of the EC NOMAD project was concluded successfully on November 2014. They all took place in Athens and Vienna. The workshops showed that the interest of policy makers, journalists and researchers has risen since the first round of pilots and that they are interested in further interacting with the NOMAD software platform. More people came in touch with NOMAD and tried out its tools and online interface. The feedback received from the interaction with the main stakeholders, the questionnaires and some applications of NOMAD to smaller case studies will lead to further improvement of the NOMAD platform.

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Through the use of NOMAD the HeP  identified the “sentiment” of the active citizens and the arguments involved in the rationale of the objectives set by the Greek authorities and assessed the impact of NEP with special emphasis on the use of wind energy in Greece.

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Through the use of NOMAD EAACI & CP wanted to identify the multidimensional impacts of allergic diseases in patients’ life and the awareness of immunotherapy, as an effective treatment, ultimately aiming to further substantiate EAACI’s policy proposals in EU commission for immunotherapy promotion.

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Through the use of NOMAD the Austrian Parliamentary analysed the public debate on open government data and freedom of information policies in order to obtain a clearer picture of the positions of major interest groups towards the OGD movement and towards the movement for a freedom of information act.

Presentation of the Austrian Parliament Pilot Workshop

NOMAD is constantly improving to fit your needs

Check it out here by creating a free account today!

Major recent events 

The 5th Samos Summit on ICT-enabled Governance offered an unprecedented opportunity to see, interact with and influence cutting-edge Information and Communication Technologies research projects and initiatives.  Attended by high caliber experts from research, administrations and enterprises worldwide, the Samos 2014 Summit focuses on the newest developments of ICT applications in the areas of digital governance. 

NOMAD project was presented at this year's EACCI Congress, which took place on June 9th this year at Copenhagen, Denmark. The audience consisted of 35 senior-level policy makers and 8,000 delegates from over 100 countries. The EACCI Congress, hosted by the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, offers a unique opportunity to learn about new discoveries and exchange experience with professionals in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.

The NOMAD project was presented at this year's CeBIT ICT Exhibition, which took place between March 10th and 14th this year at Hannover Messe, Germany. CeBIT is the world's largest and most international Information technology trade exposition. At CeBIT 2014, the leading professionals of the ICT sector came together and showcase an extensive range of ICT products

Get involved with NOMAD




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Join our workshops in autumn! Click here if you would like to participate. Send us a PM here and enjoy a live demonstration of our platform. Are you working on a project that could be linked with NOMAD? Write us here. Follow us on our social media pages and get the latest updates!