border.GIF (12384 bytes)news2.GIF (70450 bytes)

 據 中 原 網 頁 資 訊 系 統 及 市 務 部 高 級 副 董 事 何 紹 章 表 示 , 該 公 司 在 發 展 到 相 當 規 模 時 , 自 感 對 香 港 社 會 負 有 一 定  的 道 義 責 任 ,故 此 在 全 面 擁 有 資 訊 的 同 時 , 更 大 量 投 入 資 源 , 將 樓 市 數 據 歸 納 整 理 並 通 過 國 際 網 絡 免 費 提 供 給 市 民 參 閱 , 達 到 市 場 公 開 資 訊 、 公 平 交 易 的 地 步 。 憑 此 , 市 民 被 代 理 誤 導 或 遭 受 無 恥 之 徒 欺 騙 的 機 會 大 為 減 少 。 且 發 展 資 訊 科 技 系 統 , 亦 充 分 表 明 了 中 原 在 響 應 特 首 推 動 藉 資 訊 科 技 帶 領 香 港 未 來 發 展 的 施 政 方 針。

中原商業資訊系統獲獎

  是 次 參 賽 獲 獎 的 中 原 商 業 資 訊 系 統  Centaline Business Information System , 包 括 了 「 中 原 網 頁 」 、 「 內 聯 網 」 及 快 將 推 出 的 「 自 選 傳 真 服 務 」 Fax - On - Demand 等 。

(節錄自星島日報一九九八香港資訊科技大獎特刊)

star.GIF (1594 bytes)

要 取 得 此 項 殊 榮 , 須 要 經 過 一 個 獨 立 評 審 委 員 會 審 議 , 符 合 四 大 要 求 才 能 過 關 。

itawards.gif (6750 bytes)

star.GIF (2822 bytes)

一九九八年香港資訊科技大獎獲獎名單

香港資訊科技應用大獎

獎項

機構

項目

大獎 香港電訊IMS 互動電視
優異獎 中原網頁 Centaline Business Information System
優異獎 勁一番系統有限公司 「魔法軍團」電腦遊戲
優異獎 中外通(香港)有限公司 12鍵輸入法鍵盤
優異獎 訊息網絡研究所有限公司 電子報攤

香港資訊科技成就大獎

獎項

機構

項目

大獎(教育界) 香港學校網絡 香港學校網絡
大獎(服務業) 自動系統(香港)有限公司/香港電訊 密密傾電話卡
大獎(服務業) 香港醫院管理局 快速配藥系統
優異獎(金融業) 優利中國/香港有限公司 First Pacific Bank - Navigator Financial System
優異獎(工貿界) 亞洲視覺科技有限公司 慧光系統
 獲 獎 機 構 來 自 各 行 各 業 , 其 中 有 大 有 小 , 包 括 上 市 公 司 及 公 營 機 構 , 以 其 成 就 及 社 會 影 響 作 為 衡 量 標 準 。

star.GIF (2830 bytes)

news3.GIF (25015 bytes)中 原 發 展 資 訊 科 技 歷 程 :

中   文

ENGLISH

香港物業市場的特色

安居樂業是一般中國人的傳統思想,視地產作為投資最有保證的工具,相信亦普遍為港人所認同,不少市民最大的財富不在銀行儲蓄,不在股票債券,而是他們身住的一個住宅單位上。因此地產及相關行業成為社會上重要的支柱。故樓價起伏升沉是至為影響每一個香港人的大事,無論人們手持物業與否,樓價去向都是每天影響香港人的因素。

市民對任何樓市訊息的關心渴求,對樓價起伏的好奇求知,構成了一股需求嚴謹、公正、誠信度高數據的力量。由於物業商品動輒以百萬金元計算,地產代理為求早日撮成交易,不惜以選擇性地提供市場資訊給買賣雙方,以達其目的,同時不法分子向來切想了千奇百怪,花樣眾多的手段,在樓市中上下其手,混水摸魚騙取了豐厚利潤。他們之可以得逞,全因市場上資訊缺乏透明度,政府有關部門在此範疇所作功夫未能以廣大市民切身利益出發,過往的數據不單延遲墜後,亦欠缺系統分析,就算掌握到手亦很難對市場全貌總結立論。

 

中原地產為市場提供全面資訊的努力

中原地產在不斷壯大之餘,市場佔有率日漸提升,到了近年已接近百分之二十水平,即在二手市場的每十宗成交中,有兩宗是由中原地產撮合。能有這樣的業績,主要是由於我們擁有全港最龐大的地產代理分行網絡(二百四十多間分行),配合一千九百多名員工,每日不停地在物業市場上搜集盤源和客源信息,令我們擁有市場上超過百分之九十的樓盤數據及另外百分之九十以上準買家/租客的資訊。若因此自詡掌握市場脈膊絕非誇大自擂之詞。

市場的訊息統計,處理及分析工作向來為某些測量師行所壟斷,研究成果均為有價商品,能得知其情者莫不是由財團支付大量金錢,結果社會上某小撮人擁有資訊,大部份人無緣享有對此「知的民權」,極不公平。

中原地產在發展到相當規模時,自感對香港社會負有一定的道義責任,故此在我們全面擁有資訊的同時,並沒有從此專為己有以自肥,更沒有藉此得天獨厚優勢,在這問題上壟斷,或巧取豪奪。出乎一般智慧想像地,中原更大量投入資源,將很多市民渴求已久的樓市數據歸納整理並通過國際網絡免費提供給市民參閱,達到市場公開資訊,公平交易的地步。憑此,市民被代理誤導或遭受無恥之徒欺騙的機會大為減少,更能掌握客觀形勢下作出對己最有利的正確決定。

敞若市場欠缺資訊,除了提供小撮人投機“食價”的機會外(尤以舊區及偏遠居屋為甚),很多物業亦因交易訊息輸送不靈,令消費者及投資者舉步為艱,決定無以為憑。結果,這些物業的套現能力大減,市場資金循環亦受影響,市民換樓的願望亦難以實現。自中原公開這些舊區或傳統上成交較少的地區的成交資訊之後,該等市場的流通量確有提升。

 

「中原網頁」推動公開資訊,公平交易

中原地產自96年10月起,即取材自土地註冊處每日的成交登記紀錄,利用一套用中原設定的軟件將原始數據篩選、整理、歸納重新編排,將過去六個月內全港物業十多萬個成交紀錄上網,讓原先未有可讀意義的純數據組織成可富含義的表達形式出現。不單如此,土地註冊處的資料只能顯示差不多一個月前的市場狀況,我們在這個基礎上加上中原最近四星期的成交實案,填補這個資訊真空,供市場查閱。再在這之上,中原更將其餘物業代理網上公開資料一併羅列出來,這些總共代表了市場近40%成交的數據,比土地註冊處的登記數字早了四個星期。所以中原網頁不單富全面反映市況的能耐,更比官方資訊早四星期。

中原網頁的出現,將香港地產市場的透明度全面提高,不但對買賣雙方有利,亦直接及間接地令本公司及行內的營業員漸漸改變沿用的模式,選擇性地提供資訊予客戶。轉而專注於以服務質素來爭取生意。

 

首創樓市的技術分析工具

在我們掌握了歷年數據後,更以股票慣常應用的技術走勢分析概念為藍本,利用中原手上自1991年起的70萬個成交紀錄,發展了在互聯網上的「中原樓價走勢圖」,每日為八百多個屋苑運算平均價及移動平均數。這個走勢圖初推出時被譏為不中用的小技。不過亞洲金融風暴出現,展開了輾轉回落的各區樓價走勢,為中原首創的「樓價走勢圖」的功能提供了一個有力的驗証,社會人仕開始關注藉此圖在樓市尋底的功能,其準確程度將面臨嚴格的考驗及肯定。

 

中原網頁在資訊科技領域的成果

自中原向社會免費推出在網上查閱樓市資訊之後,其受歡迎程度與日俱增,短短十二個月內,已處理超越1,100萬次查詢。在普羅大眾認定了中原網頁的可信性之後,我們在發展此類工作的誠意及能力相繼被財經界、資訊科技界及學界所認同。在去年四月,中原網頁即被Microsoft Hong Kong所邀,成為香港首個I.E4.0瀏覽器的Channel Partner,而至今,中原亦是八位Channel Partner中唯一的非傳播媒界或非傳訊本業而能獲得青睞受選為Channel Partner的機構。由此樹立了中原在大眾心目中的高科技地產代理的形象,令中原在云云代理中有一與眾不同的地位,有利中原建立社會地位。

 

未來網上電子地圖的示範

年初,中原更進一步與地政處及統計署共同開發一個地理信息系統計劃,以電子地圖作介面,製作一個十分便於查閱的方法供市民日後在網上獲得大量以往難於取得的統計數據,並清楚地顯示潛在的社會現象及模式(如各區的人口年齡及職業的比較資料),方便各界人仕參考及作出商業決定。這個計劃的原形成果已在本年二月舉行的首屆香港資訊基建博覽會亮相,而是次展覽會由貿易發展局及資訊管理局主辦,而大會的八名贊助商中亦包括中原網頁,此舉充份表明了中原在響應特首推動藉資訊科技帶領香港未來發展的施政方針。

 

多媒體技術及互動功能之應用

在我們發展網頁內容時所採納的手段均平衡了市民的使用方便程度、技術的多元化及製作時的效率追求。我們開發的網頁由最初的純輸送數據供市民查閱,到97年中已擴展到每天小雜誌形式刊登文字、圖像,適量地採用動畫效果以增加趣味性及推廣音像的網上發表。其中,我們在年初更成為首家本地機構,突破以數碼相機拍攝,再將檔案數據以Netshow技術重整並上網,利用此技術製作的Video-Flat Viewing。由於採用了video streaming方法,檔案數據可以於傳送的同時開啟使用,所以下載時間大大減少,有利於瀏覽者方便使用。而中原網頁選用來製作Video-Flat Viewing的軟件“Vivo Netshow producer”,亦是近來荷李活製片界在網上播放哥斯拉宣傳片同一套軟件,在本地固定網絡尚未全面以高速寬頻光纖連網的今天,Netshow技術的突破令網上廣播提供了快速而畫面清晰度又可接受的方法。再者,中原更是至今為止首家在香港成功突破在播放動畫片段過程中,能在移動畫面上連接及啟動其他動畫片段及網頁的公司,並大量地為各屋苑製作Video。此舉將可讓客戶預先瀏覽各大屋苑的環境、間格及設施,然後重點實地看有興趣的屋苑,減省了舟車勞頓之苦。亦可啟發客戶對有關屋苑的興趣。另一方面客戶事先對有關屋苑有一定認識,可減少營業員用於介紹資料的寶貴時間。

 

我們的網頁充份發揮了電子出版的互動功能,在短短時間及有限資源基礎上,我們已進行多次問券調查,廣採民意,並設置網上問卷調查及對談室,讓公眾親身享受虛擬世界中交談及社交活動的樂趣。

 

內聯網加強內部傳訊及聯系

我們的內聯網(Intranet),更不需要假手於其他系統開發公司,在技術上率先採用了微軟公司即將在內聯網應用軟件上大力推行的Site Server技術製作而成,整個系統由本公司技術人員自行開發,在設計上擁有很大的彈性去符合公司不同部門的需求。而在使用上卻能達到簡單易用又快捷的效果,大大方便同事之間的訊息交流及合作,在市場上爭取更佳業績。在使用一個月多以來已證明了其效益絕不比耗資鉅大的系統差。

 

自選傳真服務的新突破

中原理解到上網尚未成為全民活動的今天,以極富想像力的概念,結合了Fax Boardcasting及Telemarketing兩種傳統市場推銷方法,但我們更著重市民的自選及互動追求而開發了全港首創的Fax-On-Demand系統。

首先,在輸入方法上的重大突破是,市民無須強記一系列繁瑣編號或代號,只要直接在電話按盤現存僅有的12個數字及符號按鈕上輸入正確物業英文名稱,便可作查詢並可指示電腦將資料傳送到指定的傳真機。我們開發的這個輸入法建基於基本語言科學概念及一些人工智能技術便成功構想了一套無須大量投入軟硬件的系統出來,並有能力識別全港一萬個物業名稱。我們嘗試行以12個按鈕進行漢語併音輸入法的階段。

通過Fax-On-Demand,中原為市民的傳統個人通訊器材賦予嶄新的資訊索取功能,所需的只是電話及傳真機,所有運作均由中央電腦處理。在手提電腦尚未全面普及的今天,我們發展Fax-On-Demand系統將成為其他市場推廣活動的參考對象。另一方面,Fax-On-Demand日後的廣泛流行,將有助公司減少Direct Mailing的需要,屆時將可在大大減少成本及資源的浪費之餘,可更直接將最新、最貼切的資訊免費傳送給用戶,達到市場推廣的最高效益。

Characteristics of the Hong Kong Property Market

Apart from being a traditional thinking of owning one's sweet home, local Chinese perceive real estate as the best investment vehicle. Given this social norm, many people allocate a majority of their wealth in residential properties rather than bank deposits and financial instruments like bonds and shares. Consequently, property and related industries have been the important pillars of the economy. Changes in property prices have wide implications in the community and therefore are of great concern to many people, irrespective of whether or not they own properties.

The society's quest for property market information and concern about price changes constitute a strong demand for vigorous, true and fair market data. As property transactions are in the order of millions of Hong Kong dollars, there are incentives for the estate agents to selectively provide information to the buyers and sellers to facilitate the closing of a deal, or the unscrupulous ones to cheat their customers for personal gains. This could happen because of the previous lack of readily available comprehensive information in the market. Government departments have not done enough in this respect to safeguard the publics interest. Information supplied are not only out of date but also lack systematic analysis; making it very difficult to draw conclusions on the latest market conditions.

Centaline's Efforts in Providing Comprehensive Information to the Market

As Centaline Property Agency Ltd. (Centaline) grows, its market share increases. Recently, it has about 20% share of all transactions in the local roperty market, namely two out of ten transactions in the market are handled by us. This achievement has stemmed from our large branch network (over 200 branches) throughout the territory, plus a 1,900 strong sales force constantly contacting buyers and sellers for most up-to-date demand and supply information. This mass behaviour enables Centaline to gain information of over 90% of the properties put up for sale and information of similar percentage of potential buyers and tenants. Hence it would not be an exaggeration to claim that Centaline possess full knowledge of the market.

In the past, market researches and statistical analyses were undertaken by only few estate surveyors. Research results, being very valuable, were available to very few users, including major developers and investors. As a result only a very small group of people in the society could have access to such privilege information, leaving the majority of people uninformed of the market conditions.

In the course of its expansion, Centaline feels that it has a social responsibility to provide the latest information to the market. Instead of holding onto its privilege information for its own interest, Centaline chose to invest large amount of resources in the analysis and provision of comprehensive market information to the society free of charge via the Internet. This aims to promote fair market practices via open information. With the availability of comprehensive up-to-date free information, consumers are in a much better position to protect their own interest by viewing the latest market data and making their own informed judgement. Their chance of being cheated by unscrupulous agents would be greatly reduced.

Apart from giving rise to unscrupulous practices, the lack of market information also leads to uncertainties and hence difficulties in making a decision to buy or sell properties, especially in old developments and remote areas. Difficulties in making decision results in the lack of large number of transactions and hence benchmark for reference in the decision process. This results in the lack of liquidity in the market segment, and therefore difficulties for residents to transfer properties to improve their living conditions. Since the launch of Centalines web site (Centanet.com), there were significant increases in the transaction volume and turnover rates in old areas and estates in which trading had been thin.

 

Centaline's Push for Open Information to Promote Fair Deal

Starting from October 1996, Centaline launched its web site, Centanet.com, which contains all transactions obtained from the Land Registry everyday during the previous six months: some 120,000 records are available for viewing. On receipt, the raw data are processed, classified according to types, areas and estates, and translated into Chinese with supplementary information added (including Building Age and Gross Area) through the use of an application program developed in-house. These records allow the users to identify market trends and patterns which previously were not available. As there is a time difference of about four weeks between the signing of a sales and purchase agreement and the registration of the document at the Land Registry, information on a transaction registered today is already four to six weeks old. As such, we choose to fill the information vacuum by including all transactions handled by Centaline but pending registration, so that the market will have a more complete picture of the market. In addition, we download all recent transactions handled and published in the Internet by another estate agent, and include them into our web site. It is estimated that they constitute some 40% of all market transactions and can better reflect the latest market condition than the data from official source.

With the presence of Centanet, the Hong Kong property market becomes completely transparent. This is not only useful to property buyers and sellers in making decision to transact, but also directly and indirectly forces estate agents to gradually give up their traditional practice of selectively giving information to customers. From now on, they have to focus on the quality of their service in order to compete for business and survive.

 

Technical Analysis of Property Market

With the accumulation of about 700,000 transaction records in our database since 1991, we are able to apply technical analysis on the property market for the first time in Hong Kong, and develop price trend charts in the Internet for some 800 estates. These charts are updated daily and supplemented by moving averages using selected time periods.

When these charts were first introduced in last September, many users were sceptical about their usefulness. Following the Asian economic crises in last October, Hong Kong saw property prices in various areas to follow declining trends. They have demonstrated the benefits of following these price trend charts and act according to the alert signals provided in these charts. The community is now interested in learning whether the system will work equally well in identifying the buying opportunities in the future. No doubt, the effectiveness of this system will be subject to stringent scrutiny by the public.

 

Centanet's Achievements in IT Application

Since the Centanet was launched some 18 months ago, its popularity has been growing. In the last 12 months alone, it handled over 11 million requests by visitors for property transaction records. With the wide acceptance of the Centanet by the community as a reliable source of market information, our efforts and sincerity in providing comprehensive free market information have been recognized by the Financial, IT and academic circles. Because of its popularity, Microsoft Hong Kong invited Centanet to be their first Channel Partner of their Internet Explorer 4.0 browser in April 1997. So far, Centanet is the only channel partner which is neither a mass medium nor one being associated with mass communication. Furthermore, an independent study by a group of MBA students of the University of Science and Technology showed that the Centanet has successfully created a hi-tech image for Centaline Property Agency Limited, significantly differentiating itself from all other estate agency firms as well as enhancing it social status.

 

Demonstration of Future Geographical Information System in the Internet

In early 1998, Centaline cooperated with the Lands Department and Census and Statistics Department to produce a web-based Geographical Information System (GIS) on three selected districts. The GIS was a graphical representation which integrated three sets of data, namely the Lands Departments digital map data set, summary statistics of selected attributes from the 1996 Population By-census supplied by the Census and Statistics Department and property market by the Centanet. Demographic data (such as median age and major occupations) and property market information can be retrieved both vertically for individual localities (namely Street Blocks), and horizontally across localities for comparison purpose by employing thematic mapping techniques.

A prototype of this GIS was demonstrated to the public in February 1998 at Hong Kongs first Information Infrastructure Expo, which was co-organized by the OFTA and the Trade Development Council. The general public was very impressed by the level of details and the patterns revealed by the GIS demonstration. The fact that Centanet was one of the eight sponsors demonstrated our support of the Chief Executives call for developing Hong Kong through information technology.

 

Application of Multi-media and Interactive Technologies

In the process of developing our web site features, we are mindful of the need to balance the ease of use, the varieties of technologies employed and the production efficiency. In the beginning, information available for public access was mainly transaction data. By 1997, we added magazine-type articles with suitable graphic, animation, and video to make the contents more lively and entertaining.

For video production, Centaline is the first local company which makes use of Microsofts Netshow technology to enable video flat viewing in the Internet. This entails the use of digital video camera for shooting typical flats and it environment, and Netshow for processing and producing the file for display in the web. As the Netshow adopts the video streaming technique, the video can be displayed while video data are being received. This greatly reduces the time for downloading the video files and the visitor does not have to wait for a long time before the video is displayed. The video files are produced through the use of the Vivo Netshow Producerwhich is the same software used in Hollywood for producing web-based publicity video for the film Godzilla. As the broadband network is still not available for Internet use in Hong Kong, Netshow is a breakthrough in reducing the download time for video whilst maintaining an acceptable quality of the video.

Furthermore, Centaline is the first company which successfully attaches hyperlinks to moving targets in a video whereby other videos and web pages can be activated by clicking the moving target.

Centanet is taking action to build up a huge archive of these videos, plus location and floor plans, for numerous estates in Hong Kong. This aims to allow visitors to view large number of properties in the cyberspace without the need to commute between various districts. This would save them a lot of time and efforts in selecting properties of their interest at their leisure, and may stimulate their interest in some properties of which they may otherwise not aware. On the other hand, a potential buyer who have seen our videos would become a more focused buyer and require less explanation and suggestions from our sales persons, thus reducing the time and efforts required to explain the details to the buyers.

Centaline have also made good use of the interactive nature of web publishing. Several opinion surveys have been conducted in the web, each requiring very little effort and time. We have also opened chat rooms and forums in our web site, letting visitors the chance to share their views with one another in the virtual community.

 

Better Internal Communication Through the Use of Intranet

We have developed our Intranet in-house by using Microsofts powerful Site Server. By producing the Intranet ourselves, we retain the skill sets in-house as well as allowing high flexibility in the development and enhancement of our Intranet. It enable us to produce an inexpensive but easy to use network for our sales persons, majority of whom are not conversant with computer. The Intranet provides great convenience to our sales force in communicating and cooperating with one another, sharing real-time market information, boosting morale among staff and enhancing our competitiveness in the market. The effects have been very satisfactory since the Intranet was in place a month ago.

 

A Breakthrough in the Fax-on-Demand Service

Centaline is aware of the fact that a large proportion of the local population still does not have Internet access. Hence, we aim to give these people an option by developing our innovative fax-on-demand service (Centafax) , which integrates the features of fax broadcasting and telemarketing. This new service will be launched in August this year.

First of all, we have achieved a breakthrough in the input method. A user does not have to memorize any complicated commands or pre-defined codes. They can retrieve the latest market information free of charge, simply by inputting the name of any building using the twelve buttons currently available on the keypad of a telephone or mobile phone. The computer will recognize the building from the input numeric string through its intelligent program and send the results to the fax machine designated by the user. The software was developed in-house by deploying concepts in natural language and artificial intelligence, and can recognize with high precision the names of some 10,000 buildings. We are now working on the enhancement the system so that it can recognize Putonghua input.

Through our fax-on-demand service, people in Hong Kong have an additional means to acquire the precise set of up-to-date free market information any time of the day. They only need to have access to any telephone and fax machine, which are very common in Hong Kong. Our computer will handle the technical side of the whole process.

As portable computers still are not yet wide used, our Centafax would be a very useful model for any company which need to undertake large scale direct marketing. On the other hand, we expect that, with the possible wide acceptance of Centafax, we will be sending the most relevant information requested by our customers without the need to print mailing materials ourselves. This will reduce the need to produce direct mailing materials, many of which may go to the dustbins directly without being read by the recipients. Hence the Centafax is environmental friendly and would substantially reduce our current cost on direct mailing, which is about HK$1.5 million per month. We expect to maintain a wide exposure with the minimum cost layout, thus achieving the highest efficiency from our marketing expenditures.

Conclusion

In this highly competitive environment and difficult market conditions, Centaline continues to invest substantial amount of resources in information technology applications. We firmly believe that this is the best strategy to enhance our efficiency and competitive advantage in the long term. On the other hand, by making good use the technology, we are providing better marketing information and quality service to customers and the society as a whole. We shall continue to make technology work harder for us.