The Internet of Things is a phrase that is used more and more often in the context of the everyday use of technological advances.
It basically means the connection of computing devices embedded in everyday objects that enable them to send and receive data.
Using your phone to switch the lights on and off at home, or check security cameras remotely, are good examples of how it’s becoming more and more mainstream.
It may surprise you to know that Coffs Harbour City Council has been at the forefront of this quiet revolution
The first two Internet of Things solutions we have implemented are for the remote monitoring of public toilets and automatic water metering for multi-storey buildings.
Monitoring public toilets with the Internet of Things doesn’t perhaps sound like the most exciting project, but it does make sense when you consider how much regular maintenance and resources costs it reduces.
$130,000 Cost Saving
What it means in practice is that we can automatically open and close doors on public amenities buildings, control and monitor inside and outside lights, record the frequency and time that the amenities are used, get daily water meter readings, turn off water after hours and receive alarms in case of leakage – and we also know when cleaning is carried out.
Being able to automatically open and close doors remotely will save us $130,000 a year alone.
The second application – metering the water usage of each resident in a multi-storey building – means we can quickly and easily obtain daily readings automatically and detect leaks. We can also see if there is an apparent over-consumption of water, which is often an indicator of leaks or other problems.
In addition, it provides alarms when a power failure is detected and can even detect an intruder entering the control room.
Before the Internet of Things, a system like this would have been cost-prohibitive to install, but now we can receive fast and meaningful data and, in future, we could let residents know of possible water leaks before they may result in major damage to homes or household goods, as well as provide accurate reading of customers’ water consumption and billing.
Both these systems have been designed by Council’s business unit CitySmart Solutions in collaboration with a company called Thinxtra.
Pictured is the new amenities block at Diggers Beach which is seriously hi-tech thanks to the Internet of Things.