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CORT turns to IoT to create healthier, safer community housing

CORT turns to IoT to create healthier, safer community housing

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Tether’s IoT devices and software, powered by the Thinxtra 0G Network, enable indoor air quality monitoring for improved living conditions across hundreds of buildings.

CORT Community Housing is creating healthier and safer homes with indoor air quality (IAQ) monitoring technology from New Zealand company Tether, powered by Thinxtra’s Internet of Things (IoT) 0G network.

CORT (Community of Refuge Trust) is a community and affordable housing provider that operates more than 400 medium density properties, home to more than 550 people, in Auckland, with over 100 more dwellings under development.

According to Stephen Hart, Operations Manager at CORT, the non-government, not-for-profit (NFP) organization saw an opportunity to leverage affordable and sustainable technology solutions and the data these offer to better understand the living conditions in its dwellings.

CORT selected Tether’s EnviroQ solution, comprising battery-powered devices and powerful analytics software, allowing it to improve IAQ and ventilation by monitoring temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, light and noise, among other factors. The data from the smart IoT devices is communicated across Thinxtra’s 0G Network, which uses Sigfox’s low power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technology.

“Community and affordable housing must be treated with the same on-going care, maintenance and investment as other residential and commercial developments, not forgotten after construction,” said Stephen Hart, Operations Manager at CORT. “The NZ Building Code outlines regulatory requirements to maintain safe, healthy and durable dwellings, but the framework alone doesn’t ensure these conditions are actually met in the real world.”

“With Tether and Thinxtra’s combined IoT technologies, we are increasing the depth of our knowledge of the living conditions in each home, far beyond that which we could glean from only observing and speaking with tenants. That information is also passed back to the occupants of our buildings, fostering a partnership where we have a chance to proactively discuss improvements should there be a need.”

CORT has commenced installing two sensors inside individual properties, with a third on the outside to allow for comparisons. Information from the devices is provided to CORT’s team through Tether’s mobile and web applications, containing dashboards that offer a real-time view into living conditions.

Sensors are connected to and communicate data over Thinxtra’s national 0G network, eliminating the need for CORT to build a dedicated network or invest in maintenance. As the sensors are battery-powered, they do not draw power from homes, and only need to be replaced once every five years.

“The property sector is a case of contrasts, whereby so much money is spent on developing apartments and houses, and so little is invested to understand the potential impacts of living in them,” said Sam Blackmore, Chief Operating Officer at Tether. “CORT is taking a leading position by not only providing high quality dwellings, but also equipping them with leveraging low power, low cost IoT devices to establish a knowledge base that keeps residents healthier and more comfortable all year-round.”

The Thinxtra-powered EnviroQ solution will also help CORT manage unforeseen challenges resulting from climate change. With granular data on internal and external environments, the NFP can ensure conditions in Auckland’s typically well-insulated homes, designed to cater for winters without using excessive energy, are performing equally throughout consistently hotter summer months.

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