HDB neighbourhood

Housing and Development Board (HDB) in Singapore has joined with Imperial College London (ICL) and Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) to perform a research on smart sensors and analytics. The research will primarily focus on how sensors and analytics will enhance realm estate services.

On Thursday, June 29, HDB signed a memorandum of understanding with ICL and I2R. The memorandum was signed during the Urban Sustainability R&D Congress. The congress took place at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The total budget for this research is $5.3 million, it will continue for four years. The research aims to find out how sensors and sensor networks can be enhanced in order to make data collection more believable and well-organized to examine and monitor services such as lifts, lighting, water pumps etc. in housing.

The research will primarily focus on three main points.

The first focus of the research is to develop new smart sensors and improve the sensor through design, operation and maintenance. One of the key agreements for the research is to develop new smart sensors, which will perform basic data processing at the starting point as well as the signal transmission.

Let us illustrate this. The new smart sensors may have the capacity for collating and computing big pieces of information every 15-minute – when it is not possible to analyze the smaller pieces of data. This is better than sending data, every second, to the HDB’s Data Analytics Centre. When the analysts gather the information, they will easily discover patterns more efficiently and accurately.

For better reporting and making decision multiple data sources should be integrated. This is the second main focus of the research. Data integration can be done by combining information into a central repository. This is for data mining and gathering of insights in a better way. The statistics can then be shared with related agencies, Town Councils for examples, so that the best solutions will be crafted and the needs of their respective estates will be taken care of.

Let us illustrate this. The data related to the performance of lifts can be analyzed all together with usage patterns and environmental information, which will led to the discovery of the actual factors that affect the durability of lifts.

The third focus of the research is to strengthen the capacities in predictive analytics for efficient maintenance of the estate. For example, specific information like speed and vibrations of the lift, motor temperature of the lift, and the frequency of misuse may be helpful for the prediction of breakdown of a certain lift. When the breakdown is known, a better maintenance can be developed.

“For any residential town, estate services are the backbone,” said Cheong Koon Hean, CEO of Housing Board. “When we are able to collect data from strong analytic tools and sensors network, we will be able to perform analytics more accurately and efficiently. This will help us optimize, maintain and manage services in HDB estate so that quality life is ensured for the people living in HDB estate.”