Smart technology to be tested in residents' homes at Yuhua

SINGAPORE - Ten households in Yuhua estate in Jurong will test out smart technology that allows them monitor their utilities usage and monitor elderly household members who need care.

From September, these households will test how useful and user-friendly these smart solutions by commercial firms are, for up to six months. Their feedback will help determine how more households can benefit from such technology.

These in-home trials are part of efforts to make Yuhua a smart estate for the 9,000 Housing Board residents in 3,194 flats there.

From July, the HDB and other government agencies such as the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore and Ministry of Health will implement smart features in both the flats and neighbourhood. The features will be put in place progressively until 2018.

In a blog post on the trial, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said: "With technology, we can live smartly: e.g. to remote-control some household appliances, to save energy; or to be alerted if granny has a fall at home.

"The commercial applications are now in the market. But do they meet the needs of our residents? Are they convenient to use? Are they simple to use?"

"To answer these many questions, we need to put the gadgets and solutions to the test," he said.

Using mobile apps, residents in the Yuhua trial will be able to monitor their household's energy and water usage in real time, get suggestions on how to cut back, and receive alerts when energy and water usage is high, or when there are leakages or taps left running.

Sensor-based elderly monitoring systems will also help caregivers monitor the safety of elderly family members when they are alone at home. The system will notify the caregivers if it seems as though their loved ones have met with an accident.

Said Mr Khaw: "The potential applications are vast. It is thus important that we take the first step to study the necessary infrastructure needed in our future flats, so that we can maximise their potential. The Yuhua pilot will allow us to decide on how to extend these Smart solutions elsewhere, to more residents in more estates."