Internet of Things trial unleashes Peterborough’s smart city potential

Full fibre infrastructure provider, CityFibre has partnered with Peterborough’s largest social housing landlord, Cross Keys Homes (CKH), to explore how a network of sensors deployed throughout its estate could monitor health, safety and environmental factors as well as deliver cost savings and reduce the carbon footprint of both CKH and its residents.

The trial at three residential locations across the city used a network of sensors transmitting real-time data back to a network of antennas, which in turn were connected to CityFibre’s full fibre network in the city. It was made possible by support from Comms365, a Network Services company specialising in Internet of Things (IoT) sensor networks and applications. Comms365 has recently been awarded an industry award for its role in delivering the project. 

The next generation sensor technology was deployed to evaluate its potential in a number of scenarios. Sensors were used to effectively monitor humidity and condensation to improve the comfort of tenants while reducing the need for damp treatment or repair. Environmental sensors were also used to address wasted heat in communal areas, contributing to reduced carbon emissions and lower energy bills.  

Noise sensors also delivered further benefit by monitoring unauthorised activity in vacant properties, while parking sensors alerted staff to illegal parking in front of emergency exits. This real time data enabled CKH employees to act promptly, ensuring improved tenant safety and security. Additional sensors also were also used to monitor levels in water tanks and detect fire risks such open fire doors, allowing for swift remedial action.

Claire Higgins, Chief Executive at Cross Keys Homes, said: “At the beginning of the trial we could never have anticipated just how many uses and benefits the IoT technology would uncover. We have been able to identify new ways to ensure our homes are comfortable, safe and green by addressing condensation, security, fire risk and energy waste, which in turn has led to significant cost and efficiency savings. 

“The potential for this technology to transform operations for other housing providers and different public services is immense. We are thrilled to be trialling IoT in one of the first cities to benefit from a citywide full fibre roll out. As an innovative organisation we are ambitious to explore Peterborough’s smart city potential even further and showcase its status as one of the most digitally advanced communities in the UK.”

Clayton Nash, CityFibre’s Group Head of Product, added: “This has been a fantastic opportunity to evaluate the potential for our new full fibre networks to support the Internet of Things use-cases of the future. We don't know how our lives will be transformed by IoT, we do know that this future will be built on a backbone of full fibre infrastructure. It is this backbone that CityFibre is busy building and it is exciting to see the huge scope a platform like this provides for innovation with forward thinking partners likes Comms365 and Cross Keys Homes.

Mike van Bunnens, Managing Director at Comms365, added: “This unique partnership model has brought together the people, partners and expertise to bring digital transformation to life. 

“Full fibre is the only form of digital infrastructure capable of delivering the speed, capacity, reliability and symmetry required to support smart city technology. Therefore, by deploying these networks citywide in communities like Peterborough, CityFibre has enabled IoT innovation from the ground up.”

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