• Published Date: Issue Oct/ Nov 2021

    As the first public housing district to holistically incorporate smart features, Punggol Northshore offers an exciting glimpse into the future of HDB living. 

    Punggol Northshore is the first smart and sustainable housing district where HDB has test-bedded smart technologies to create a more liveable, efficient, sustainable and safe living environment for residents

    Punggol Northshore is the first smart and sustainable housing district where HDB has test-bedded smart technologies to create a more liveable, efficient, sustainable and safe living environment for residents

     

    “Living in a ‘smart’ home has been life changing,” says Satya Saravanan, who has just moved into Northshore Residences I with his wife. “We no longer need to bring our home keys out as our smart lock lets us unlock our door with a fingerprint scan or via a keypad,” he explains. “My phone doubles up as a remote control and I can turn on my entertainment system without leaving the couch. Also, lights, such as those in the balcony, are controlled by sensors so we reduce the chances of leaving them on unnecessarily.” 

    Northshore Residences I resident Satya Saravanan enjoys the convenience of a smart-enabled home

    Northshore Residences I resident Satya Saravanan enjoys the convenience of a smart-enabled home

     

    About 1,400 other families are set to live in similarly smart-enabled flats, which are pre-equipped with data points and high-tech distribution boards—the ‘brains’ that make homes smart from the start. Not only do they support easy installation of commercially available smart solutions, these help residents monitor their energy use and facilitate changes to usage patterns for a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle. 

    Satya is also a Smart Home Ambassador, a group of volunteer households who provide feedback on the smart-enabled home provisions and smart devices, and help facilitate the adoption of smart home solutions among Northshore residents.

    The Internet of (HDB) Things

    In Punggol Northshore, the common areas are windy and pleasant. This is the result of computer simulations conducted during the planning stage, which identified well-shaded locations for playgrounds and outdoor amenities, and also highlighted potential hotspots that could be mitigated with greenery.

    More greenery has been planted in potential hotspots around the estate to lower the ambient temperature

    More greenery has been planted in potential hotspots around the estate to lower the ambient temperature

     

    Some of the other technologies used in the district are almost as invisible, given how seamlessly integrated they are. A big giveaway is the comfort and convenience that residents enjoy. Waste disposal is clean and fuss-free, as rubbish travels through the covered pipes of the smart Pneumatic Waste Conveyance system (PWCS). Additionally, real-time data on the performance of services from the sensors can predict issues with common amenities such as lifts and lights, thus enhancing the reliability of estate maintenance services. At night, smart lighting along common corridors adjust illumination levels based on human traffic patterns to reduce energy consumption. 

    Residents can conveniently dispose their waste and recyclables in separate chutes, which will then travel through the pipes of the smart PWCS

    Residents can conveniently dispose their waste and recyclables in separate chutes, which will then travel through the pipes of the smart PWCS

     

    New-Generation Smart Car Parks

    A series of sheltered walkways directly connect the residential blocks in Northshore Residences I and II to the precinct car park, which extends across the length of the development. Powering its operations is HDB’s new-generation smart parking system, Parking@HDB, which offers motorists an improved parking experience. 

    “As vehicle plates are registered by cameras, there are no gantries. This will help eliminate the bottleneck that could happen at car park entrances and exits during peak hours,” explains Senior Estate Manager Joyce Ke. 

    Parking@HDB app and barrier-free car park entrances and exits

    At the smart HDB car park in Northshore Residences, car park users can opt for automatic payment via the Parking@HDB app (left), and drive through barrier-free entrances and exits (right)

     

    Motorists can locate available lots easily with overhead light indicators, and be alerted if they erroneously park in reserved lots. The Parking@HDB app can also automatically deduct parking charges, providing ease of payment.

    Design-wise, roof openings that allow natural light to enter, and sloping greenery along the perimeter provide visual relief and keep the car park from looking drab. A vent monitoring system outfitted with jet fans automatically injects fresh air into the area when carbon monoxide levels are deemed too high, keeping air quality in check. 

    Sloping greenery and vent monitoring system

    Sloping greenery (left) helps absorb and reduce noise for residents living near the car parks, while a vent monitoring system (right) in the car parks keeps air quality in check

     

    Seafront and Smart

    The precinct’s sheltered walkways also lead to HDB’s first seafront neighbourhood centre, Northshore Plaza, as well as the park connector beyond. When the neighbourhood centre opens its doors early next year, it will offer residents an array of dining, retail, and recreational options close to home. There, artificial intelligence will be applied to optimise comfort, such as lighting that is adjusted based on human and vehicular traffic, and fans that are triggered when certain thresholds of temperature and humidity are reached, to keep visitors cool.

    Similar to the residential blocks, community spaces in the neighbourhood centre are located and designed to capitalise on the wind direction and maximise air flow, and greenery is purposefully planted in potential hotspots to lower the ambient temperature. 

    smart fans

    Smart fans in Northshore Plaza help keep visitors cool

     

    Bigger, Better, and Smarter

    HDB is not the only player contributing to realising the vision of Punggol as a smart and sustainable town. At Northshore Plaza, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) will deploy an Autonomous Mobile Vehicle with smart navigation sensors to pick up and deliver goods from the loading bays to tenant stores, thereby reducing the need for manual deliveries.

    In Punggol’s Waterway East district, IMDA is also leading a year-long trial to use robot couriers to deliver groceries and shopping to about 700 households in Waterway Woodcress. The robots can easily navigate the estate’s pathways and ramps to reach the lift lobbies, where the items will be delivered at a pre-arranged time. 

    Separately, SingPost will trial PostPal, a smart letter box for residents. It is able to store mail for an entire housing block and automatically sort items into storage slots. Residents can scan a QR code to retrieve their items. 

    Punggol Town is the embodiment of how HDB incorporates technology, data, and heart into homes through infrastructure, applications, and services. It demonstrates how future living in Singapore could look like. Designated as a Strategic National Project for Smart Nation – the trials conducted in Punggol will be scaled to guide the development of new towns and districts, as well as the redevelopment of existing towns.

    Northshore Plaza

    Northshore Plaza, HDB's first seafront neighbourhood centre