Smarter, Greener, Better Technology with Internet of Things

Posted on04/12/2015

Date: 12 Apr 2015
Channel News Asia

By Loke Kok Fai

SINGAPORE: Businesses keen on learning how they can use smart devices got a first-hand look at how other firms have thrived with such technology on Friday (Apr 10). They visited software company SAP, aircon-makers Daikin and Erwin's Gastrobar restaurant as part of the Internet of Things (IoT) Asia exhibition and conference, which concluded this week. Since 2013, Daikin Singapore has offered about 80 companies the latest in internet technologies. Capable of intelligently matching aircon output to needs through the use of intelligent energy management systems and sensors, Daikin’s smart systems are also capable of "phoning home" to Daikin when parts start to wear out, while collecting information on conditions in a workplace – all without human intervention. "At the back end, certain parameters or data would probably be used by Daikin. These will help in terms of quality improvements, new product developments, research and development and so on,” said Daikin Airconditioning Singapore managing director Ching Khim Huat. “So in that way it also enhances value for customers (in terms of) upgrading, replacements in the near future. We exchange and can share this information with them, based on their usage patterns."

These are just some of the perks of having many smart devices, all connected to the internet. Apart from energy savings and minimised downtime, data collected can also be used for research purposes in ways directly relevant to each user. "When you have a connected group of sensors, it enables processes which are a little bit different,” said Green Koncepts founder and CEO Kenneth Lee. “Take for example a building, where typically you have a set of building maintenance functions that reside in the building.  If you own a portfolio of 50, 100 buildings, by connecting them and centralising them, you can execute the same function through a shared service or a centralised command and control centre, reducing the amount of manpower that's required, and still providing a service level that is perhaps higher. “Because you now have early warnings, predictive capabilities, you have actions that are predicated based on the information that's been derived from the collection of data." Daikin Singapore has engaged local energy startup Green Koncepts for the energy management system running in its Ang Mo Kio Showroom, and is discussing further collaboration in the consumer space. "One of the things that we have today is lots of data,” said Mr Lee. “What's important then is to look at the pieces of data which are important, to look at how we can use this data for the purpose of changing behaviour, driving change or optimisation." "What we're doing right now with that data is to look at that data set very carefully and to see what we can derive from it, what we can achieve from it. Eventually what's going to happen is this set of processes, this information will get embedded into the application that we develop, into the energetics applications, and then made available to the consumer so that he has best practices. "He doesn't have to figure out what data is supposed to be used and how. It's already built into the application."

Over at Erwin's Gastrobar, it has an intelligent reservation system that optimises table allocation, among other innovations. But such systems do not come cheap. The restaurant's owner Ponte Group said businesses have to weigh the cost and benefit of using smart technologies. "What I think is crucial is that you plan it properly before together with your operational staff about the technologies you can implement, because maybe the cost and the expense doesn't justify the means," said Dr Martin Bem, managing director of Ponte Group. He added that some situations still demand human intervention, saying that flexibility is required to provide the best service and value.




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