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5th September 2016
The Internet of Strata Things
Imagine a world where your appliances understand how to minimize your electricity bill, your apartment block intelligently shares solar energy with the neighbourhood, and every building is connected to a smart city-wide network. All of this, and much more besides, will soon be a reality thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT).
IoT integrates physical hardware, cloud based software and sensor networks in such a way that allows everyday items to become ‘intelligent’ and capable of interaction both with each other and humans. These technologies allow the construction of networks of smart devices that can range in size from single apartments to entire neighborhoods or cities.

For strata buildings that look to the future, IoT technology can play a key role in reducing building energy consumption, lowering maintenance costs, automating routine procedures and even self-diagnosing faults. Major technology and innovation firms are already exploring the potential benefits that IoT technology could bring to apartment blocks. In 2015 for example, Intel/Tatung co-developed a smart building management system (SBMS) that delivered projected savings of 20-30% annually in energy expenditure. IBM is also moving on IoT technology, developing smart data centers for city wide control and monitoring in Rio de Janerio.
 
Implementation of IoT goes beyond building wide solutions, and can be applied to individual appliances and fittings. A new generation of smart LED lights for example, are able to gather data on building usage and occupancy. This allows for much more efficient lighting usage and improves the return on investment for lighting upgrades. In addition, the lights work in conjunction with other sensors (motion, noise, light) to improve security lighting and even track the movements of occupants within a 3D environment. Many household appliances are now starting to gain these abilities to analyze, share and interpret data.
Realizing the true potential of the IoT ecosystem requires more than just individual investments however, but rather an integrated effort between governments, research organizations and the private sector. Though Australia governments may lag behind other nations (notably South East Asia, where your garbage bin can intelligently empty itself), there is gradually growing support and interest in the concept from councils, state and federal governments. This is reflected in NSW’s recent support for open data sharing (allowing software developers to build intelligent solutions and new sensors) and the Federal Governments ‘Smart Cities Plan’. CSIRO has also invested in IoT, and developed ‘Sense-T’, an integrated sensor-cloud processing network, that aims to assess spatially aggregate data to boost economic performance and reduce environmental impact across Tasmania.
 
With research and investment rapidly increasing from both public and private sectors and growing demand (the IoT and ‘smart city’ market was valued at over $57billion USD in 2014), we can expect to see rapid advances for IoT in Australia in the next decade; fundamentally changing the operation of apartment buildings and cities.
 
Competitive strata in the future will be those that effectively deploy IoT technology to result in an intelligent, efficient and networked building. To understand how the future IoT could change strata management and benefit your buildings, see this Deloitte Report

For more on the future of smart lighting systems, see this article from Energy Manager Today
 
Alexander Prideaux
Co-Editor, Strata Energy News
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