San Diego’s Petco Park expects to cut operating expenses by 25% over the next five years, thanks to smart city technology. The park is not installing new pumps or meters, instead adding sensors and gateways to its current infrastructure to create a smart stadium.
“We can see exactly how much water, power and gas each operation uses ballpark-wide, and can work with our operators and tenants to manage usage and increase the reliability and overall performance of the venue,” said Randy McWilliams, senior director, facility services for the San Diego Padres.
The system is expected to slash expenses by enabling the facility to anticipate and prevent power outages, pump failures and turbine failures, and to monitor the resource use of each vendor in the stadium. Gateways powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors collect data from stadium infrastructure systems and stream it over both wired and wireless networks to software developed by Qualcomm partner OSIsoft. The system accepts both analog and digital inputs and supports multiple communication protocols.
For Qualcomm, turning its hometown of San Diego into a smart city would be a home run, and the chipmaker has already made it to first base by connecting Petco Park.
Smart city game plan
Qualcomm Intelligent Solutions President Kiva Allgood said the system her company has developed with OSIsoft could be used for almost any multidwelling unit, or for multitenant office buildings. She said Qualcomm has already implemented similar systems across its own campuses. “We’ve been able to actually make bold statements within our own sustainability goals because now we have the data in a finite enough fashion that it is actionable,” she said. “So instead of it just being for metering for a bill at the end of the month, we’re actually able to see, based off of the information coming off the equipment, what types of things we need to do during the month to be able to either prevent an accident or improve efficiency. So that same type of concept we’re able to apply really to any currently built building.”
Adding smart systems to existing buildings is a much more scalable approach to smart city development than building new “smart buildings.” Qualcomm sees the combination of sensors, gateways and software as a way to bring the “internet of things” to municipalities in an affordable way.
“Qualcomm Intelligent Solutions’ approach to creating smarter cities starts with repurposing existing infrastructure, including existing water and gas systems installed in facilities such as Petco Park and other large event venues,” said Allgood.
Allgood knows that connecting one ballpark is less complex than connecting an entire city, but OSIsoft has a proven track record with customers that collect data from multiple locations. The software company said one of its customers, Excel Energy, has saved $46 million over the past six years. OSIsoft sees smart cities as a logical market for its data collection platform.
“The foundation of the smart city is data,” said Martin Otterson, SVP of sales, marketing and industry at OSIsoft. Otterson hopes that a home run at Petco Park will start conversations with other ballparks in other cities.
“There are approximately 12,000 stadiums in the world, and many are in regions and cities mapping out plans to use energy and water in smarter ways,” he said. The challenge will be bringing together each city’s disparate stakeholders in pursuit of a common set of solutions.
“On average a city has about 40 different planning departments,” said Qualcomm’s Allgood. “But I would say we’re starting to see a transformation in how they think about that infrastructure and its engagement with the citizens in a different way.” Allgood said she is encouraged by a federal grant from the Department of Transportation and the Department of Energy that is focused on “gaining insight and improving the performance of the current infrastructure, … a testament to the fact that people are starting to recognize they’re going to have to use technology in a different way.”
Source: RCR Wireless