A new way to keep track of your city's resources?

Some say that it could be the year of the dashboard. With efforts underway at various levels in Australia, to build data management platforms, and other city performance frameworks, it’s nice to see examples of where success is being realised on the ground. And that’s where this work by Buddy is making an impact – helping to tie together disparate data sources, and extracting it in real-time, in a democratized way.

And with our challenging resource constraints, and aggressive carbon reduction goals under the Paris Agreement, the ‘Ohm’ platform is a much needed tool to help in making better city management decisions. In this article we find out more about this home-grown innovation. — Adam Beck



As cities undertake smart city initiatives to provide a more sustainable and livable environment for their citizens and improve and expand services, many if not most find cost and integrating new technologies and systems with existing ones are major hurdles. Efficiently managing resources is a key strategy for helping cities get around the hurdles.

There are several approaches to ensuring efficient resource use. Adelaide-based Buddy's 'Ohm' hardware and cloud platform is a relatively new one. And it's attracting attention. Council Lead Partner Microsoft is one of the platform's early investors.

What does it do?
Ohm is designed to monitor and measure the consumption of electricity, gas, water, solar and steam generation, an important step in identifying where increased efficiencies are possible. It measures energy use in buildings, government facilities and public infrastructure to provide a more clear view of the cost, both financially and environmentally, of those facilities and their operations.

In a nutshell, the Ohm base unit is placed near meters or sub-meters to monitor those resources. It also wirelessly plugs into other sensors in the city and its buildings. In addition, a variety of types of monitoring equipment can be used because it's an open platform. An online presentation from the company provides more technical details.

"The global conversation around energy – how we generate it, how we consume it and how we conserve it – has never been more urgent, nor more relevant. Smart cities represent an amazing opportunity to dramatically change how we consume energy while improving the quality of life for citizens. Improving the efficiency of those underlying systems is the first step for reaching those sustainability goals," Buddy CEO David McLauchlan said in an iTWire article.

Buddy's first customer for Ohm will be the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, a structure roughly the size of the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall.

Doug Peeples is a writer specializing in technology and energy. Follow @smartcitiesanz on Twitter.