Last week, two of our Australian Switch teammates hit the road to join Intel at their Internet of Things [IoT] Solutions meet-up in Melbourne and Brisbane, Australia. Christina Hughes [National Accounts Manager for Australia] and Hugh McKellar [Customer Support Manager] went to see how the IoT space is moving along in the Australian market, to make new friends with innovative groups like Dell [thanks for co-exhibiting with us!] and even to take the center stage to present how Switch Automation uses IoT to make buildings smarter. Anyway, what’s a week of Australian travel without a little diary of events? So here we go. An IoT play-by-play by our own, Hugh McKellar:
8pm the night before | Check-in opens for my flight to Brisbane. I quickly jump into the the Qantas app on my iPhone to grab a seat at the front of the plane. Too late. I have a choice of a seat in the second-to-last row or the very last row. I choose the second-to-last. Marginal gains.
10:17pm | I’m traveling light, so not much to pack in my bag. It’s time for bed. “Hey Siri, wake me up at 5:30 tomorrow morning.”
“Your alarm is set for 5:30am tomorrow morning.”
“Thank you Siri.”
No reply. Typical robot.
5:30am | ‘Really Siri??,’ I thought to myself— Fat Boy Slim is how you chose to wake up?! I grab my phone and open the Garmin app. Overnight, my Garmin Vivosmart, a smart bracelet fitness tracker, analyzed my sleep. Two hours and 17 minutes of deep sleep; four hours and 46 minutes of light sleep; slightly more than seven hours in total. That’ll have to do.
My sleep study is interrupted by a Qantas alert. I’ll need to head to Gate 3, when I arrive at the airport. It’ll take 17 minutes to get to SYD. I click through to the Google Map. There is an Uber car relaying its GPS location to me a couple of minutes down the road. No need for him today, I’m getting a lift to the airport.
6:30am | Airport security must really love IOT gear. They scan my laptop and phone. I love looking over the guard’s shoulder at the screen to see what’s inside my gadget— mostly batteries, as it turns out. Speaking of batteries, I make a bee line to my gate and plug in my laptop. Batteries must be full.
7am | I flash an Aztec code (Similar to a QR code with a Mesoamerican flavour) from my phone at the scanner by the gate. The air hostess invites me aboard.
8:30am | On the flight, I log into the Qantas inflight entertainment system. I presume since the airline knows where I’m sitting and what I’m watching this morning, I’ll likely get some similar shows recommended on flight home tonight. We’ve come a long way since horse and buggy, hey?!
9:30am | We landed and we’re on the way to the train. Brisbane uses GoCards for their metro train system—an RFID card that tells the train network who we are and how much credit we have in our account. Queensland rail uses the data to form patterns about how and where people use the trains, to optimize transfers and mitigate overcrowding on the train platforms.
1:30pm | Now our Switch Automation exhibit is set up ready to go.
The first speaker is up Kate Burleigh the Managing Director Intel ANZ. She talked about where the future of IoT is headed—recounting stories about internet connected smoke alarms that can call the fire station. She speaks of a need for an IoT moisture sensor. On a recent holiday her house was flooded during a storm. Burleigh didn’t find out about the water leak until she returned home. An IoT sensor could have alerted her about the leak so she could have arranged for a tradesman to fix the situation before she returned home. She also talked about Smart wearables, where heart rate monitors would be able to advise the owner if their heart beat was irregular and they need to get it checked out. Big industry shifting ideas with simple, practical, daily-life implications. That’s really the beauty of IoT, in a nutshell.
Next up is Eric Chan, Director of IoT at Intel. He explains how IoT is changing the business model entirely. He cites a case where an air compressor company once sold you a compressor unit and that was the end of the relationship. Today that same company now installs the compressor which is equipped with sensors. You pay to use the compressor and the company looks after the maintenance. The sensors tell them when to order spare parts, BEFORE they break. This means more uptime for the end user.
Then Daniel Skaler from Advantech is up. He talks about repurposing the sensors in trucks that normally track the truckies’ driving style and wear levels on the vehicles. He suggests that collating that data from all the trucks and looking for spikes in the vibrations coming off the road would indicate pot holes. This data is aggregated into a map for councils to focus their road maintenance dollars. Practical.
4pm | My colleague, Christina is up. Christina gives a run down on some of the unique differences in the three countries in which Switch operate – Australia, New Zealand and the USA. She explains some of the challenges to implementing a Smart Buildings Program (A self-centered approach to IoT; tightly held markets such as the BMS market and how many stakeholders aren’t up to speed with the latest technologies to help implement a successful Smart Buildings Platform. She then goes through a number of Australian and USA case studies, including one on a large building which was paying an additional $10,000 per month in electricity bills due to poor power factor—something that was supposedly fixed with a PFC unit installed years earlier but never commissioned. Our platform showed them that it had actually NEVER been turned on).
5pm | Show’s over. Christina and I need to get to airport as soon as possible. I have a look at Google Maps to see what the traffic conditions are like. Google’s maps look at the movement of other users’ phone and connected car entertainment systems to work out where the heavy traffic is. It’s not too heavy today but we decide to do the sustainable thing and get a train.
5:30pm | Back through security, more intense interest in me and my gadgets. This time I get swabbed for trace elements of bad things. It comes up clean; but the security guards’ actions were recorded for quality control, all the same.
10pm | Home again, straight to bed. Let’s see if I can record a bit more deep sleep time tonight.