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IoT technology set to help provide safer community housing

By Mitchell Hageman
Mon 24 Jan 2022

IoT technology is being utilised by Auckland community housing provider Community of Refuge Trust (CORT) to help 550+ of its tenants receive better, healthier homes.

CORT has selected Tether's EnviroQ solution, which encompasses battery-powered devices and powerful analytics software, allowing it to improve IAQ and ventilation by monitoring temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide (CO2) levels along with a variety of other building health-related factors.

The data from the smart IoT devices is communicated across Thinxtra's 0G Network, which uses Sigfox's low power wide area network (LPWAN) technology. Both of these integrations will work in conjunction with each other to achieve the best results.

With more than 400 medium density dwellings and over 100 more under development, the company's fast-growing expansion requires more innovative solutions for its customers. CORT operations manager Stephen Hart says this was the perfect opportunity to leverage low cost, low power and sustainable tech and the data it offers.

"The NZ Building Code outlines regulatory requirements to maintain safe, healthy and durable dwellings, but the framework alone doesn't ensure these conditions are actually met in the real world," he says.

"With Tether and Thinxtra's combined IoT technologies, we are increasing the depth of our knowledge of the living conditions in each home, far beyond that which we could glean from only observing and speaking with tenants."

Hart says the new technology allows for better communication and stronger partnerships with clients, creating better outcomes for those in need.

"That information is also passed back to the occupants of our buildings, fostering a partnership where we have a chance to proactively discuss improvements should there be a need."

CORT has so far commenced installing two sensors inside individual properties, with a third on the outside to allow for comparisons. 

The information collected from these devices is provided to CORT's team through Tether's mobile and web applications, containing dashboards offering a real-time view of clients' living conditions.

Thinxtra's national 0G network connects the sensors and communicates data, eliminating the need for CORT to build a dedicated network or invest in maintenance. 

The sensors are also battery-powered, meaning they do not draw power from homes and only need to be replaced once every five years.

CORT is a non-government, not-for-profit (NFP) organisation and has been offering housing services for over 30 years. They are governed by a board of voluntary trustees who employ staff to run the day-to-day company activities.

Many of its trustees have extensive backgrounds in strategic development, social work, technology and health management. 

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