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IoT Brings Pool, Irrigation, Lighting Data to Homeowner Association

San Diego's West Park Maintenance district is trialing the Common Sense system from Three Phase Electric for one year, to determine the value of capturing sensor data wirelessly and receiving alerts, as well as analytical data on a dashboard.
By Claire Swedberg
Sep 07, 2018

San Diego homeowner association Westpark Maintenance District is trialing an Internet of Things (IoT)-based solution to automatically monitor lighting, swimming pool water quality and irrigation, with a solution provided by smart cities electrical contractor Three Phase Electric. The system consists of sensors, as well as Wi-Fi and cabled connectivity to a cloud-based server, where Three Phase's software manages that data and displays relevant content for the community management on a dashboard.

Three Phase Electric developed its solution with software company Persistent Systems to offer communities or developments sensor-based data, allowing them to better manage conditions around residences and public areas, and enabling a faster response to data. The results, the company claims, could include a reduction in service calls, power usage (by identifying when lighting is or isn't needed) and water usage in irrigation systems. It could also boost safety by indicating when streets require lighting, and how much, in order to protect pedestrians.

Three Phase was founded three decades ago by CEO Kimberly Weiss to address the needs of homeowner associations (HOAs). She says 21 percent of the U.S. population lives within an HOA, and that percentage may be even higher in Southern California, where her customer base is located. "There's a need to maintain common area lighting," Weiss says, which was the initial challenge the company aimed to resolve.

The company began developing an IoT-based system in 2013, then turned it into a brand known as Common Sense. Community managers, service providers and residents worked with Persistent and Three Phase to find the greatest challenges that needed to be addressed with the technology. While most smart-city IoT-based solutions start with public street lighting, the Common Sense team began looking at other data of value to HOAs, such as pools and lawn care.

HOAs, according to Weiss, "have a lot of overlapping recreational needs, along with lighting," that needed to be addressed, and most manage a variety of disparate systems, often by manually checking sensors or relying on information from homeowners when something goes wrong, such as in the event of a water leak. "We thought we could do some good here, so we dove in," she says.

The proof-of-concept was launched in January 2018 at the Westpark Maintenance District in Irvine, and at San Marino Park, a community under the jurisdiction of Westpark. It will continue until next January. The system encompasses street and public lighting, swimming pool water quality, irrigation and a public Wi-Fi system. It receives and updates data about all of these functions every 15 minutes.

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