The Swedish city of Helsingborg uses Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to keep municipal properties secure and in good repair.
Two pilot projects have been launched – one to detect clogged gutters and another one to service flag windows that have accidentally been left open.
The “windows part” is relying on battery-powered sensors and is connected to the city’s network. This allows the staff to see which windows are open online and on mobile devices — meaning they don’t need to manually check them at the end of each day.
As a result, the city minimizes the costs of reporting and monitoring from alarm companies, according to Thomas Huldt, business developer and IoT product owner in the City of Helsingborg’s digitization department.
Furthermore, the city also saves energy and staff time and helps to prevent vandalism.
In total, it is estimated that 11 schools that are a part of the program are saving around SEK 300,000 ($29,000) per year.
As for the project focused on gutters, it is meant to prevent clogging that can, over time, lead to moisture-damaged facades, which is very costly.
The problem is that it could be difficult to detect problems with gutters as they often sit high up on buildings.
And so a pilot project has been set up, involving three schools, to address this issue. Leakage sensors in the gutters will warn of blockages to minimize inspections and long-term damage.
“We will test whether we can digitally keep track of our gutters and thus more quickly fix them if necessary before the façade and building are damaged,” said Daniel Edenström, administrative manager in the property management team.
Like that’s not enough, there is also a Helsingborg IoT service that alerts city staff when football fields need to be watered, saving them time and reducing water usage.
There’s something every municipality could learn from their Swedish colleagues, don’t you agree?
You may want to explore what kind of IoT tech you can bring to your municipality. It is a good practice to ask around and see what kinds of tasks are manually done that could be automated. For starters, adding sensors to windows sounds like an easy win, and it is especially true in colder areas. Checking for clogged gutters also makes sense, and here too, a sensor could be of great help. By embracing tech like this one, you get to help your city/town as well as your own career.
If you are in the "connected space," it would be smart to explore the option of selling IoT solutions to municipalities your company serves or hopes to serve. After all, this is a booming market, and sooner or later - many cities and towns will employ such sensors. It's just a matter of the question of whether you will get a piece of that pie. So why not enter this market while it's still nascent?