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CS Professor Wong Collaborates on the Smart Shop Lab in Hong Kong

SUNY Koreaㅣ2020-02-18 14:56

Dr. Dennis Wong, an assistant professor in the computer science (CS) department at SUNY Korea, collaborated on the opening of the unmanned store named S-SHOP@TMIT in Hong Kong. On January 20, he visited Hong Kong to participate in the project meeting. We recently spoke with Dr. Wong and his partner Dr. Yau about the project. 

Q: Could you introduce the unmanned store? 

An unmanned shop named S-SHOP@TMIT (i.e. smart shop) is set up in the Department of Information Technology, Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (Tuen Mun campus) to provide an unmanned shop experience and to support the teaching and learning of various technologies such as artificial intelligence, mobile payment, financial technology, data analytics, etc.

The objective of the Smart Shop is to create an environment that facilitates student learning of emerging smart technologies. A second objective is to cultivate new experiences in the development of solutions based on emergent technologies. A cryptocurrency called Bitcoin was used for making transactions in the shop and also for students to learn and practise Blockchain technology.


Q: Tell us about your background before you founded the Smart Shop? 

Last April, Dr. Peter Yau from Hong Kong gave a guest lecture at SUNY Korea. His research interest is in financial technology. We talked about how to make something fun together and found that Dr Yau is in charge of a smart shop laboratory in Hong Kong. He invited me to provide some advice in the area of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, a subject which is heavily involved with mathematics; this interesting conversation piqued my curiosity about the Smart Shop.

Q: Many unmanned stores have emerged recently. How is your shop distinguished from others?

This smart shop in Hong Kong was built under a very limited budget and the aim of the S-SHOP@TMIT was for learning and teaching purposes. This project is focused on teaching students to use the latest technologies to build a smart shop on their own.

Q: Is it closely related to computer science?

Building a smart shop involves using many of the latest technologies such as cryptocurrency, the internet of things, RFID, etc. Integrating all these technologies together requires planning and software engineering skills. 

Q: Have you faced any challenge during the project?

This project involves many people from different parts of the world who have various types of expertise. It is a fun challenge to work with people who have a very different background. 

Q: What do you think about working or competing with Alibaba, Tencent, and Amazon

which are very aggressive in the new world of retail?

It is not a competition. The main purpose of the shop is to give students some experience in building a smart shop, so that they are well prepared for the future where a lot of smart shops will exist. 

Q: What does the future hold for this store?

I am hoping we can expand the business by setting up a Korean version of S-SHOP in Songdo. Such a shop would give SUNY Korea students the same novel experiences offered in Hong Kong. 

Q: Do you have any message for SUNY Korea Computer Science students?

There are actually many opportunities that allow students to apply what they learn in the classroom as they build something or get some hands-on experience. I encourage students to talk to professors and expand their knowledge.

For more information about S-SHOP@TMIT, Click here.

For more information about SUNY Korea Computer Science, Click here. 


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