Fatima Elleouet, public sector director at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise says that smart developments are the future of living.
Smart technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) are becoming increasingly prominent in our day-to-day lives. Many of the devices we use throughout the day in our homes are now smart, such as smart metres, washing machines, fridges, and voice connectivity devices like Alexa. However, the potential for IoT in the home doesn’t simply stop at consumer devices. At Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, we believe if homes and housing developments are built with a network infrastructure – making them ‘smart developments’ – it will lead to more efficient, sustainable, and safe communities.
The term ‘smart developments’ encompasses anything from a small build-to-rent site to a mix of residential, commercial, and retail units, such as the 85-acre development at Wembley Park. Smart developments mimic the infrastructure and technologies deployed by governments and businesses in smart cities, on a smaller scale.
The concept of smart cities isn’t new to the industry, many cities like Barcelona and Dubai have embraced innovative solutions such as sensors that capture real-time information on the density of crowds, temperature, pollution, transport, utilities, CCTV, and much more. Crucially for Governments, smart cities have enabled the connection between people, objects, machines, and processes to aid the creation of safe, secure, and efficient cities, and we believe this should now be rolled out in smaller communities too.
The Smart Development infrastructure
To enjoy the benefits of smart developments it is crucial to deploy a secure and reliable network on-site. The backbone of IoT is connectivity, so, for communities to rely on technologies to deliver output 24 hours a day, devices require a constant reliable, fast, and secure connection.
To achieve this, connectivity needs to cover the entire site – ‘blackspots’ cannot exist. The network should be centrally managed, with a high throughput and low latency, and to ensure it can support innovations long into the future, it should also be a flexible and scalable solution.
IoT for efficient living
Once a network infrastructure is in place, developers can start to roll out the technologies that make a safe and efficient living space.
To improve safety, centrally managed CCTV installed with IoT sensors should be deployed site-wide. If there is an emergency, such as a car crash or burglary, the CCTV detects the event in real-time and triggers an immediate alert to its centrally managed platform, which then sends an alert to the emergency services. Additionally, IoT sensors installed in streetlights can configure, manage, and monitor lights for issues. Meaning if a bulb breaks or a light simply stops working, maintenance will be alerted immediately, preventing dark and unsafe streets.
Remote-controlled and automated IoT sensors can also improve the efficiency of a commercial or residential development. Incorporated into communal spaces and buildings, sensors monitor the energy consumption of devices. IoT sensors installed into plugs can monitor energy usage, shutting down devices that may still be using a considerable amount of energy despite being on standby. This technology can also be installed in homes, enabling residents to monitor energy usage on a centrally managed app, giving the consumer the ability to control their heating, lighting, and electronic devices all in one place.
Furthermore, location-based services integrated into public buildings can improve the general user experience. Deployed in offices, location-based services power multiple innovative solutions. Firstly, it enables customers or workers to use wayfinding on their personal devices, which provides navigation around the building - particularly useful when in an unfamiliar location. Similarly, businesses can use asset tracking solutions to monitor equipment, minimising the time spent searching for an item, in turn freeing up staff time while also reducing the cost of replacing 'lost' equipment. Companies can also use these solutions in emergencies to increase safety; for example, in evacuations, asset tracking enables you to locate people and assets quickly.
Deployed in commercial buildings, location-based services enable businesses to monitor the number of guests in a building, as well as which rooms they are in. Geo notification allows the company to send alerts to these guests when they enter a new room, either to provide general information or to send a coupon or promotion. This information is contextualised and targeted, aimed to positively benefit the person’s experience while in the building.
By building connected developments, every device on-site can work seamlessly together, reducing unnecessary consumption and streamlining processes. It’s not just cities that should benefit from these technologies, all communities deserve to have the chance to live as efficiently and safely as possible. And by future-proofing the network infrastructure installed at sites, the smart developments built today will enable communities to access the latest innovations long into the future.
Case Study: Wembley Park
Property developers Quintain first began work at the Wembley Park site in 2004, transforming acres of car park previously used for events into one of the largest developments in London today.
Having created a locally loved London district from a long-neglected space, Quintain was then challenged with creating a smart city environment at Wembley Park in London.
Responsible for the 85-acre site development, inclusive of one million square metres of mixed-use residential, commercial, and retail unit space, Quintain needed a solution that would seamlessly connect buildings, people, and objects securely.
Velocity1 was appointed to work with Quintain and partnered with Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise to build and deploy a fibre optic network across the site. Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise deployed solutions from the OmniSwitch family to meet Velocity1’s requirements which were:
- A solution that allows for easy service enablement, with easy upgrade paths and proven scalability
- Connectivity that could perform in a demanding environment from both a hardware and software perspective
- Value for money, as well as high-performance delivery of the necessary technical and operational features
Wembley Park now includes Europe’s largest smart build-to-rent (BtR) complex with more than 7,000 connected apartments. Both residential and commercial spaces in Wembley Park enjoy secure Wi-Fi access points, digital signage, CCTV, and public announcement systems - all centrally managed.
The entire site has connectivity with high throughput and low latency. Technically, the network permits distances of up to 20km to be reached without an intermediate node, based on Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) technology and passive fibre splitters.
The network infrastructure enables Wembley Park to save space, power consumption, air conditioning, and maintenance time. And with a flexible topology that makes adding customer services easy, the benefits of the latest technologies can be enjoyed long into the future.