The contemporary e-public engagement

Photos above: 3D Retrofitting of Noise Barrier on Long Tin Road and Ma Wang Road, Hong Kong. The upper one shows the mitigated noise effect, and the lower photo shows the unmitigated noise effect of a retrofitting barrier project. Video – Can you imagine the environmental impact in your mind? – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31QtHAfV5nA

The contemporary e-governance facilitates information exchange with communicable, interactive platforms. Remarkably, the digital trend is on the way to provide user-friendly and digitised civil services for the project proponents and the general public, from the informational website, online registration program, to searchable open database. How do we utilize this digitalisation in environmental discipline? ANewR Consulting Limited has the solution.

The visualised, virtual reality (VR) illustration is incredibly practical for a metropolitan situation. One of the city’s striking models is Hong Kong’s three-dimensional (3D) retrofitting barrier impact digital visualisation – ANewR’s prime example of implementing digitalisation into environmental discipline to turn the historical practice perfect for the stakeholder engagement throughout the project.  

Conventionally, the environmental specialist has assessment results in a pile of reports in figures, tables, and drawings generated by acoustic software. Entering the digitalisation age, the 3D noise-level visualisation for a retrofitting barrier assessment project successfully brings out the calculated impact in the pragmatic project location. The proposed project’s assessment value is programmed to develop the 3D graphics and animations in a 3D VRML file format. The proportionate images of the buildings, the surroundings, and retrofitting barriers draw stakeholders’ actual environment for results review. It is clear to follow the computed noise impact in the mitigated and unmitigated scenarios through a few button clicks. In the 3D animation, the multi-coloured indication exhibits different noise levels, based on the Calculation of Road Traffic Noise. Incorporating environmental practitioners’ knowledge with innovative digital skills contributes to an understandable expression of the technical proposal. 

The move to digitalisation in environmental discipline is hitting two main targets. First, the visualisation reaches the aim of public consultation – stakeholder engagement through a digestible communication digital method. The general public, who is not assumed to be sufficiently proficient in retrieving the coordinate and matching charts of results and various documents to get a particular location point’s noise level, is now empowered to understand the project effect. Also, reviewing the calculation records used to be time-consuming and possibly prolonging the project time-span. Providing visualisation aid for project proponents and decision-makers improves project evaluation and study efficiency. 

Integrating data into one visualised illustration renews the way of communications. ICT contributes to data accessibility. It empowers diverse functions involved in the process. Harnessing the potentials of modern information and communication technologies (ICT) from start to continuous improvement in environmental project development unveils the right interpretation of development investment we face each day and afterward.

The idea of digital visualisation is not to discard the tradition; this enhances the generation’s practice to deliver coherent, more favorable results to all. The upcoming is a 4-dimensional generation, strengthening 3-D visual capability with sound effects to create an authentic learning journey. Partaking in the Environmental Protection Department of the HKSAR training project, ANewR has applied the fundamental knowledge of noise and acoustic window and balcony products in the built environment into digital tools to create the VR experience with sound effects. Visually being in the built environment with the acoustic products installed, the user is standing at one point wearing the VR headset and holding the controller to handle the acoustic products’ open or closure. The user audibly recognises the noise level differences in various scenarios; their acoustic expertise is now turning from imaging the data to a useful background experience. 

ANewR apprehends the visual digitalisation in noise impact with interactive animation. Next is how to apply an immersive, automatic virtual environment and the smart monitoring and assessment automation systems in environmental projects to engage stakeholders to a greater extent.

Video – Visualising environmental data using 3D/4D VR tech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ib8gO5B0Nc0

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

We call you at the window sill – how the Father of Noise Control masters the acoustic industry

Video: Interviewing noise control pioneer in Hong Kong featuring K K Iu (Part 1): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJRHBjzGdTo)

Commuting is an indispensable part of our daily lives. We love to enjoy the convenience of road development. Simultaneously, we have to endure the full-of-traffic-noise situation. Hong Kong’s enjoy-and-endure environment has formed the unique Hong Kong home design, including many acoustic features that the public may overlook. In the innovation realm, thanks to the creative and practicable solutions, our city is competent in striking a balance from noise-reduction design through architecture, layout, positioning, and innovative building features to ensure our healthy and pleasant living environment. Hong Kong citizens no longer enjoy and endure the road conditions.

We are pleased to see the Hong Kong leadership in initiating the innovative acoustic window in the public housing and the professional acoustic window consultant in bringing the acoustic window to life. As the Father of Noise Control in the Great China Region, Mr. KK Iu, director of Supreme Acoustic, has the expertise in acoustic projects in the private and public sectors. It is our honour to have Mr. Iu here to share with us.

R – Ms. Rachel Tang from ANewR Consulting Limited

K – Mr. K K Iu, Director of Supreme Acoustics Research Ltd

R: Mr. Iu, you are respected as the Father of Noise Control in the Greater China region and have completed many prestigious projects for the Government, Utilities Companies, and many developers. You are always at the forefront of innovation and own many patents. What makes you such a person? How is your journey?

K: I have been in the acoustic industry for almost forty years. When I was a fresh graduate, I was unsure what I wanted to do, but I found acoustics fascinating, motivating me to learn more.

Noise control and acoustics were a very new and developing industry, which I expected I could grow myself in this career path. Time flies, and it is forty years.

If you ask me why I keep working in the acoustic industry, it is all because solving noise problems gives me satisfaction. I would say an acoustic specialist is a doctor alike. A doctor would find out what makes the patient sick. Translating to the acoustic theme, the acoustic specialist helps the clients identify the root cause of noise problems and solve them. 

Every noise problem is a challenge, and we shall continue to learn more advanced and innovative technologies. One of our Company’s core values is unfailing efforts for excellence, which can be proved by getting more than 20 patents.

It is worth noting that most of the projects that my Company handled are noise control projects. We are acoustic specialists providing total solutions to improve people’s quality of life. 

R: What are the main challenges in the whole acoustic windows movement?

K: The first challenge is to develop a testing standard for acoustic windows to suit the Hong Kong requirements. When the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) of HKSAR planned to promote acoustic windows ten years ago, there was no agreed testing standard for determining the noise reduction performance for acoustic windows in Hong Kong. We have recently worked with EPD to search for testing standards and methods adopted in other countries and cities. Again we are not able to identify the one which we can ultimately find suitable for Hong Kong. Hence we have to develop a unique one with EPD.

Based on ISO 16283 Part 3, EPD would require the testing to use several loudspeakers to form a line source instead of a single loudspeaker proposed in the testing standard. Testing would also require placing the line source at a different angle of sound incidence to the window instead of at 45 deg, as stated in the testing standard. There are also some other differences from the ISO 16282-3, and we have to conduct more testing to validate the most appropriate testing method for Hong Kong. Again, innovation is the key to get our work done for the people in Hong Kong and will also benefit the people in other cities.

Another challenge is the products itself. The requirement in noise reduction performance of acoustic windows is getting higher and higher. More innovative product development is required.

R: You have a very exciting space shuttle. Can you tell us a little bit more?

K: We have the largest accredited acoustic laboratory, including eight reverberation rooms, a silencer testing rig, and two space shuttles. The space shuttle sounds very mysterious. It is the acoustic window test facility which can improve the efficiency in conducting testing.

Ten years ago, window testing could only be begun after the property development was built up with a mock-up floor available. Testing could only be conducted at night time when there was no construction noise. The test results’ accuracy was not very high since it was difficult to control the noise source and test environment.

With the space shuttle, testing can be conducted in an off-site location and day-time. The space shuttle is built as a mock-up flat that can rotate and raise to different heights; testing can efficiently run for different incidence angles. Space Shuttle is also one of our patent designs. 

R: Recently, in HK, there is a mock-up model of the acoustic windows.

What is the primary aim of this? Who is the target audience?

K: There is always a good thing to spread. The mock-up acoustic window model is all about marketing the acoustic window concept to let more people understand this is an innovative and effective noise control installation to reduce traffic noise propagating into the domestic premises. The target audience is the general public whom we want to educate.

What we observed is that the general public does not know the acoustic windows. When they have a new home with an acoustic window, a great product to reduce the noise entering their home, the new homeowners may not appreciate its function and dismantle the acoustic windows. What a waste it is.

R: As the Hong Kong Institute of acoustics’ former president, what do you think about the acoustics industry’s future? How do you see the position of HK?

K: HKIOA has been established since 1994. Our membership grows from fifty members to now over five hundred members. I am delighted to see the growth of HKIOA, and the members can have chances to exchange knowledge and experience with members in other acoustic institutes worldwide.

I am confident in the acoustic market, full of opportunities in Hong Kong, Mainland China, and the rest of Asia. There is a very high demand for improvement in the quality of life.

R: Can you say a few words to people/students/graduates who would like to join the acoustics field?

K: There are tremendous things to discover in the acoustic industry, just like in the Universe. There are more and more to develop and to understand. The recent development in a new acoustic subject is Soundscape, which combines acoustic science with psychology. Sustainable development is all about the environment and human development. The graduates should have faith in career development in the acoustic area since this is the business to be sustainable.

Video: Interviewing noise control pioneer in Hong Kong featuring K K Iu (Part 2): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6axMP-qP3g

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

The authentic practice

Photos above: 4D virtual reality of noise performance of acoustic window and acoustic balcony for the staff training of Environmental Protection Department of HKSAR

The contemporary corporate organisation facilitates information exchange with communicable, interactive platforms. Remarkably, the digital trend is on the way to provide user-friendly and digitised services and training. How do we utilize this digitalisation in environmental training? 

The visualised, virtual reality (VR) illustration is incredibly practical for a metropolitan situation. One of the city’s striking models is 4D VR environmental training – Our prime example of implementing digitalisation into environmental discipline to turn the historical training practice perfect for the environmental staff.  

The idea of digital visualisation is not to discard the tradition; this enhances the generation’s practice to deliver coherent, more favorable results to all. The  4-dimensional generation is strengthening 3-D visual capability with sound effects to create an authentic learning journey. Partaking in the Environmental Protection Department of the HKSAR training project, we have applied the fundamental knowledge of noise and acoustic window and balcony products in the virtual environment into digital tools to create the VR experience with sound effects. Visually being in the environment with the acoustic products installed, the user is standing at one point wearing the VR headset and holding the controller to handle the acoustic products’ open or closure. The user audibly recognises the noise level differences in various scenarios; their acoustic expertise is now turning from imagining the data to a useful background experience. 

We apprehend visual digitalisation in environmental impact training with interactive animation. Next is how to apply an immersive, automatic virtual environment to engage stakeholders to a greater extent.

Video – The 4D movement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaLDh6f-yxY

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)