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Glasgow unveils high-tech tower blocks

A public-private project has equipped the 20-storey building in the Scottish city with IoT technology, free fibre-optic broadband and will provide digital inclusion classes.

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Kate Forbes MSP (centre) with Roger Popplewell and Jennifer Simon of Maryhill Housing
Kate Forbes MSP (centre) with Roger Popplewell and Jennifer Simon of Maryhill Housing

Three blocks of flats containing 360 homes in Glasgow’s Maryhill area have become some of the most technologically advanced in Scotland, having been equipped with Internet of Things (IoT) technology and free-of-charge high-speed fibre-optic broadband.

 

The public-private sector collaborative project also provides a community facility which offers free digital inclusion classes.

 

Project partners

 

The project partners include Maryhill Housing, CENSIS, iOpt, full fibre broadband provider, Hyperoptic and the Scottish Government, which funded the project.

 

CENSIS has developed prototypes of a number of IoT technologies designed to improve the welfare and safety of residents across the towers. It also installed the Internet of Things network that facilitated the entire project and enabled iOpt Assets to conduct its field IoT-enabled trial.

 

iOpt, with the support of CENSIS, developed sensors which monitor temperature, humidity and CO2 levels, which among other things, can be used during heating trials to help evaluate each system’s effectiveness.

 

Full fibre broadband was installed by Hyperoptic and it has now provided three quarters of homes within the tower blocks with routers while also fitting exterior cables. The internet service will be free-of-charge via funding from the Scottish Government until the end of February 2020 – offering a potential tenant saving of at least £200 per year.

"It provides a fantastic opportunity for partners from across sectors to work collaboratively to use IoT technology to increase the quality of living for social housing tenants"

A newly-opened community space is located on the ground floor of 29 Glenavon Road, offering free digital inclusion courses and ESOL (English as a Second or Other Language) classes. The community facility will also act as a base for community groups.

 

The partnership showcased the properties at an event attended by Kate Forbes MSP, minister for public finance and digital economy, for the Scottish Government.

 

“It’s fantastic to see an innovative and ambitious project like this using digital technology to improve people’s lives,” said Forbes.

 

“In particular, it provides a fantastic opportunity for partners from across sectors to work collaboratively to use IoT technology to increase the quality of living for social housing tenants. This includes improving operational efficiency for housing providers through the installation of sensors to identify issues such as fuel poverty and fire safety.”

 

Addressing fuel poverty

 

Maryhill Housing has also committed to replacing electric storage heaters in 1000 of its homes over a five-year period which will provide customers with a more energy-efficient heating system to help to address the issue of fuel poverty.

 

An initial pilot project is currently underway in Glenavon Road and Maryhill Housing is working with Mitsubishi Electric and Glen Dimplex Heating & Ventilation to trial two alternative heating systems ahead of a mass roll-out.

 

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