SINGAPORE: Over 3,000 households in the Yuhua region will be able to trial smart solutions devices in their homes starting Saturday (23 April).
The two devices - the Elderly Monitoring System and the Utilities Management System - will be made available to Yuhua residents in the HDB Greenprint zone, which provides a sustainable living experience in public housing. The systems will be sold at discounted rates at the "My Smart HDB Home @ Yuhua" roadshow located at Yuhua Community Centre from Saturday (23 April) to Sunday (24 April), and via online portals till the end of June.
The move is part of the Smart HDB Town Framework plan to improve living through digital technologies, and follows an initial trial of 10 households in Yuhua from October 2015 to April this year, which had reaped positive responses.
A Yuhua resident tests out the Utilities Management System in his household (Photo: Junn Loh)
The Utilities Management System can help households monitor energy and water usage anytime, through a mobile application. It could also help households cut down on utilities consumption with an alert system that will alert users whenever usage levels are high.
The Elderly Monitoring System, on the other hand, can help seniors age-in-place while giving caregivers greater peace of mind. For instance, through the help of motion sensors, the system will send an alert to the caregiver's mobile phone whenever it detects no movement for prolonged periods.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu, who is also the Member of Parliament for Yuhua, said feedback received from the initial trial showed the devices were "easy to use" and "non-intrusive".
"This is what we want to achieve with Smart Home devices,” said Ms Fu. “Where technology is used to help us with the challenges we face at home on a daily basis, to make our family's lives as well as our own even better."
Sio Wei Hurng's home is one of the 10 households in Yuhua that took part in the initial trial to test the use of smart devices. The 40-year-old said the Utilities Management System has helped him track his bills more closely and led to cost savings of 10 to 15 per cent.
"It gives you the awareness, but it's up to the individual to change their lifestyle in order to bring down their energy consumption," said Mr Sio. "For example, if you think that you're spending too much on energy, you check and you see that it's actually the air-con in the room. What we do is we switch it off in the middle of the night and then turn on the fan. So, in that way we bring down the energy consumption."
Ms Fu, however, also acknowledged the challenges in implementing these solutions. She said the constituency will need help to explain the functional aspects and value of the systems to elderly residents for the initiative to succeed.
Said Ms Fu: "We're working out this arrangement. We're just in the process of discussing with HDB. For example Pioneer Generation Ambassadors. They are a very very appropriate group of people because they know the Pioneer Generation well, they have visited them before and they would have the kind of familiarity because they're all neighbours. They have the language faculty to talk to the elderly.
"So we think that with the cooperation and collaboration between the suppliers and the People's Association Pioneer Generation team, the chances of success will be higher."