Friday, August 17, 2018

Thinking Global, Persistent Systems Partner to Develop IoT Solutions Across Residential Communities

Three Phase Electric is a successful provider of electrical services to home owner associations (HOA) in residential communities across Southern California. In business for over 28 years, it provides lighting and electrical services at large apartment, condo and housing complexes including the large common areas such as recreational facilities, parks, trails, parking areas and swimming pools.

Working with Persistent Systems (BSE & NSE: PERSISTENT), Three Phase Electric developed

Common Sense Smart Community, employing Software 4.0 to disrupt the multi-billion-dollar homeowners' association market and potentially enabling the real estate under management to become software-driven. Today, 21% of the US population lives within a homeowners’ association with 50,000 community managers responsible for managing properties.

After attending several lighting industry events, the team at Three Phase Electric was intrigued about the potential of the Internet of Things (ioT) to transform a labor-intensive, field-based operation into something more automated and efficient, and in the process enable HOAs to be better stewards of the environment and their own environmental impact.

One critical challenge was that neither they nor the HOAs knew until the end of the month, when they received their bill, how much electricity or water they had consumed. If there had been a spike, they may have already been penalized by the utility. The IoT-based platform changed this radically; providing instant monitoring of consumption with no surprises. But that was only the beginning.

Three Phase Electric was so impressed they created a software-driven brand around their offering called Common Sense Smart Community, seeing the broader potential of the platform. Common Sense incorporates everything they have learned about implementing the Internet of Things to monitor lighting, irrigation, swimming pool water quality and temperature in real time to improve efficiencies.

The benefits of the new platform have been a profound change in how Three Phase Electric manages its large residential sites. For example – a maintenance person put a high-powered bulb into a closet light where it clearly wasn’t needed. The system sent an alert and the bulb was changed to something more suitable. In another example, in water-challenged California, the platform monitors irrigation systems for large leaks or broken water lines and will shut a system down immediately if it senses one. It then sends alerts immediately to both the landscaper and the homeowners association. 

Kimberly Weiss, President and CEO of Three Phase electric said, “We all have a profound responsibility to conserve natural resources and preserve our environment, but when you look at the scale and breadth of community associations around the country, I think we have to realize that the environmental responsibility of community associations is greater than that of a single business or residence. Community associations should assume environmental responsibility similar to that taken by cities. This system goes a long way in that direction. Lighting maintenance vendors no longer need to roll a truck to each site to verify the lights are working. Pool maintenance crews don’t have to drive to each pool every day (as mandated by CA Title 22 regulations) to verify that the pool water is safe to swim in. If an irrigation line breaks, the system shuts it down automatically until it’s repaired.”

“Besides the technology side of developing Common Sense, Persistent is an incredible business partner who knew exactly how to rollout this game changing project. Not least of all was ensuring a strong, collaborative process bringing together all the stakeholders to the project – the management company, board of directors, community managers, service providers and residents. We wanted this platform to be a win for everyone and Persistent helped us achieve exactly that.”

The platform, built with Persistent, has the potential to transform the HOA industry and creates a new level of transparency. Community managers, service providers, board members and residents can all see the status of the community facilities anywhere, at any time which means that the expediency and quality of work will be clear to everyone. Repairs left undone can’t be swept under the rug. 

The system also ushers in a new level of efficiency. Community managers no longer have to receive a trouble report, communicate the report in some way to the service provider and then follow up on the status of the correction. The system updates everyone– the manager, service provider and resident (if they care to look) – automatically and simultaneously. The homeowner can have peace of mind, knowing that the repair is underway - or can check what temperature the swimming pool is that day.

Sanjeev Srivastav, Persistent Systems SVP and GM IoT Industrial Solutions says, “This is a powerful, real world example of how the Internet of Things offers the opportunity for the most brick and mortar – literally – operations to become software-driven. Three Phase Electric’s Common Sense initiative has a profound effect on how HOAs can operate with tremendous upside not just for themselves, but all the constituents of these housing developments. It offers fast, accurate, transparent reporting, taking the inefficiencies and delays out of the whole maintenance process.”

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