Smart Solutions for HDB Flats in the Works

TODAY — 8 July 2015

SINGAPORE — An app that lets homeowners monitor energy usage and sends an alert when they have incurred, say, half of their utilities budget is one of the smart solutions for homes being tested by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) and the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA).

The devices and technologies, developed by 17 companies, were tested at the HDB’s Centre of Building Research in mock-up flats from January to June.

The trials studied their usefulness and the infrastructure — such as bandwidth support, strategically located data ports and power sockets — needed to support the devices.

The technologies are centred on allowing residents to manage their water and energy usage, monitor the elderly, and use tele-health and rehabilitation services.

These needs were identified after discussions with the National Environment Agency, national water agency PUB, the Ministry of Health and MOH Holdings, the holding company of Singapore’s public healthcare clusters.

The trials allow public agencies to work with industry professionals to develop guidelines for the use of such smart solutions to address issues such as safety concerns, said the HDB.

They will help the HDB design the digital infrastructure of future flats so residents can adopt the smart solutions by those companies, said HDB chief executive Cheong Koon Hean at an event today (July 8) showcasing the solutions to Minister of National Development Khaw Boon Wan.

The solutions could allow elderly residents to live independently, with less worry.

A sensor on the toilet door, for instance, can be configured to alert caregivers if the resident has visited the toilet multiple times at night or for an extended period, which could indicate that he might be unwell.

Some of the solutions will be tested in real-life HDB flats to gather residents’ feedback and their receptiveness to the technologies.

“It is not about technology for technology’s sake,” Dr Cheong said. “Technology is for us to develop sustainable, liveable, efficient and safe homes.”

The first smart flats to be equipped with strategically located data ports and additional sockets were launched in May, and will be part of Punggol’s build-to-order projects, Northshore Residences I & II.

“With 80 per cent of the residential population living in HDB flats, it is very important for the HDB to see how we can develop smart HDB towns to complement this journey towards a smart nation,” said Dr Cheong.

Photo Credit: Don Wong
Photo Credit: Don Wong
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