Cisco and Control4 combination provides energy efficiency, security, and entertainment Tridel uses Internet Protocol to improve building security, energy efficiency >

Home Automation Interview
Carbon monoxide alarms mandatory in Ontario
Counterfeit certified cheques being used to pay for on-line items Peel Police are looking for a cheque scammer in Mississauga who is buying on-line items with fraudulent cheques.
Homeowners dropping cable and satellite services Homeowners are looking at other options for TV service providers.
Why professional monitoring makes sense Life Safety, Medical Emergency, Reduced Loss, and Economic Value add up to make monitoring sense.
Smarter Home & Business Monitoring with Automation Customize the security and automation to fit your home and business needs.
Interactive Security Touchscreen in designer colours! User-friendly touchscreen for your Paradox alarm system allows you to upload photos and label your own zones.  Can be used on the EVO192, SP6000, and MG5050 Paradox control panels.
Holiday Fire Safety The most common household fires are caused by fireplaces, space heaters, candles, and stoves.  Learn how to prepare, plan, and prevent to make your home safe for the holidays.
Things to consider when building an in-law or nanny suite Tips to make multi-generation living work for everyone.
Protect yourself from fire

Tridel uses Internet Protocol to improve building security, energy efficiency

Written by: GREG MECKBACH, Digital media editor

Toronto real estate developer Tridel is partnering with Cisco Systems Inc. to use Internet Protocol (IP) technology to improve energy efficiency, security and entertainment systems in its buildings.

“Future Tridel buildings will have a Cisco network at the core,” Ted Maulucci, Tridel’s chief information officer, said during a recent media tour at the Reve King West , a condominium building on Front Street east of Bathurst Street, a stone’s throw northeast of Old Fort York in Toronto.

The Reve includes an apartment called EcoSuite, which uses technology from Cisco and Salt Lake City, Utah building automation vendor Control4 Corp. to operate both entertainment systems and lighting, with the aim of reducing energy use.

With the Control4 devices, users can monitor the energy going to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and they can also use it to control the video on their home entertainment devices, said Jamie James, sustainability advisor for Tridel and founder of TowerLabs, which works with real estate firms to field-test environmentally-friendly building technologies.

Cisco helped Tridel program “personalities” into the home, meaning the user could program the behaviour of the lighting, heating and other features, said Bill McGowan, smart and connected communities specialist for Cisco Systems Canada Co.

For example, McGowan said, “I don’t want to get out of bed to turn off lights, music or the cappuccino machine, so I want everything landing on my iPad.”

He added EcoSuite also includes measurement devices that tell users how much energy each device is consuming, whether it’s the refrigerator, stove or entertainment device.

Cisco is also working with the Zigbee Alliance to have different devices in the home communicate with one another. ZigBee is a wireless communications standard using the 2.4GHz radio frequency spectrum.

Founded in 1984, Cisco’s traditional core business has been manufacturing switches and routers for computer networks. But the San Jose, Calif. firm, which had revenues of US$43.2 billion in the year ending July 30, 2011, has since branched into other information and telecommunications technologies, including building automation.

In addition to energy management, Cisco provided Tridel with a “virtual concierge,” a video conferencing system that lets Tridel serve the Reve from a different building outside Toronto.

“She can see just about anywhere in the lobby area,” Jim Ritchie, Tridel’s vice-president of sales and marketing, said of “Vanessa” the concierge on duty during the media tour, which took place the same day the U.S Green Building Counsel held its Greenbuild conference and expo nearby at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Ritchie said the concierge could also control the building’s mechanical and emergency safety systems, as well as the cameras, from a remote location.

“With an IP-enabled building, you can create a neighbourhood watch,” Ritchie said of Internet Protocol, the electronic communications standard traditionally used for communications between computers but which is now used to connect non-computing devices such as phones, cameras, wireless access points and building automation systems. “Everyone who lives in this building could go to tablet, go to their own PC or something like that and they can see every camera that Vanessa can see downstairs, 30 or 40 cameras.”

Ritchie said the EcoSuite is the only unit of its kind at the Reve, which is designed to enable Tridel to get feedback from prospective buyers. At press time, it had not been sold but Tridel was expecting to sell it for about $700,000.

James said TowerLabs, with Tridel co-founded with the MaRS Discovery District, is getting feedback from focus groups on devices such as programmable thermostats or the possibility of putting programmable thermostat functions on a portable electronic device such as Apple Inc.’s iPhone.

Ritchie said having fibre optic cabling in Tridel’s buildings makes it easier to include such features.

He added almost a third of Tridel’s condo occupants use cellular phones and have no landline, which is significant because they are built with reinforced concrete, so the steel can interfere with wireless communications.

“We are working with the service providers to bring antennae through our elevator shafts into other parts of the building so that you can rely on this completely without having to go out on to the balcony to order pizza or something.” 

Actions: E-mail | Permalink | | Login | Register