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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

The solution tracks and manages lighting within parking lots, on pedestrian paths, on tennis courts, at the pool and on streets. Users can set the lighting output for specific times of the day, while sensors track light levels so users can adjust the lighting as necessary—for example, turning it up on an overcast evening.

In terms of irrigation, the community wants to know how much water is being used, and when. Because water is tightly regulated in California, communities can be charged fines if they use more than the allotted amount. With the Common Sense solution, community management can receive an alert, via Wi-Fi transmission of sensor data, if the maximum water consumption is being reached. In the event of a problem, such as a water main break, the system detects that problem, then alerts the property manager, the utility or some other service provider, and automatically shuts down the related system (such as the water valve).

Kimberly Weiss
Previously, pool filters and chemical levels were managed manually at Westpark. Now, sensors capture the percentage of chlorine and other chemicals, as well as the functionality of filters, then forward that data to the cloud-based server via a Wi-Fi connection. The software can send an alert to the HOA manager, as well as to the pool service provider, indicating that a service call is needed. The manager could then receive an update when the service staff has maintained the pool and resolved the issue.

In addition, the public Wi-Fi system can be managed to ensure that it is operating properly in all parts of the community. All of the data is provided on a dashboard viewable by authorized individuals. The Common Sense system comes with an app that residents can utilize to view such data as the water temperature in the swimming pool, or monthly water usage. Property managers, meanwhile, can use the system to make changes to lighting so that, for instance, light levels could automatically change at a particular time of day selected by the manager.

"Persistent has been key to our design," Weiss states. "They take our ideas and put them in a system that works." One of the greatest challenges has been working with all the third-party equipment manufacturers so that Three Phase's system could have access to the sensor data.

Initially, when the company chose to test the new system, it invited communities to participate in a proof-of-concept. Weiss says more than 50 communities responded to the request, adding, "That's when we knew we really had something here." The firm is now speaking with at least three neighborhoods of the Westpark community to install the system permanently, including San Marino Park.

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