Image: Ermerson and Lumara Viana with their two daughters and niece in Smart City Laguna

Planet Smart City is offering IoT automation solutions to residents living in one of its affordable developments in Brazil. Testing is underway and will provide data and insights so the systems can be rolled out in other projects in the country, as well as in India and across the globe. 

At the world’s first affordable smart city, Smart City Laguna in Ceará, Brazil, a Citizen Lab has been set up and families are being invited to test IoT automation systems within their homes. This user-focused strategy empowers our residents to guide us on the solutions that are most useful to them. 

Furthermore, the operation will generate valuable feedback, data and insights that will be useful in future decision-making and for rolling out the systems in other projects globally.

In contrast with most traditional real estate operators, harnessing the power of technology to enhance our affordable housing developments is a priority for Planet. We are already making tracks towards achieving our mission to improve lives by making IoT solutions accessible within affordable housing. 

Residents test IoT home automation systems

IoT solutions have already been installed in the home of one Laguna family, Ermerson and Lumara Viana, who moved into the smart city in February 2020 along with their two daughters. They are currently experimenting with a variety of systems which are all remotely controlled via mobile application. 

Smart lighting is being tested in the family’s living room, master bedroom and kitchen, allowing them to turn the lights on and off remotely. Feedback has already been received, confirming that they find it very useful for simulating presence while they are away and for turning lights off if they had been left on by accident saving on electricity bills. 

With security a major focus in Brazil, a Wi-Fi camera has been set up for added safety inside the Viana’s living room, together with security sensors on doors and windows and an alarm. The system has made the family feel much more secure since they can monitor their home when they are away. 

Other IoT systems such as smart plugs have been deployed, allowing residents to remotely control appliances via their mobile phone and also to monitor their electrical energy consumption. The next items to be sent for testing include a smoke detector and gas detector. “It’s very nice to have the house fully automated and be able to control electronic devices. I’m going to keep installing new equipment to leave my house smarter,” says Ermerson, Laguna resident, tech enthusiastic, robotics professor and YouTuber.

At the time of writing, a second Laguna household, Didier Dantas and Tonny Uchoa, have joined our Citizen Lab and commenced test deployments of home automation solutions. At this early stage in the programme, we are already receiving positive feedback particularly on the security benefits of the Wi-Fi camera and security sensors.  

Laguna Smart City household
Tonny Uchoa (pictured) moved to Smart City Laguna with Didier Dantas in July 2019


Our residents are also engaging well in the co-design process and have suggested a number of interesting scenarios where IoT solutions could provide particular benefits. We are very excited about the bi-directional advantages of this co-design process, where residents of our affordable smart city are given a voice and enabled to participate in the process of defining smart solutions for their region, while we also benefit from their insights as we refine our product offerings.

IoT automation in communal areas

A number of communal automation projects are underway in Smart City Laguna. At the Library of Things, where residents can borrow everyday household items such as ladders and power drills, a smart door lock and Wi-Fi camera have been put in place. 

Previously, residents would book items on the Planet App before going to the smart city’s reception to pick the items up. A Planet employee would then go to the Library of Things, collect the requested items and carry them back to hand over. 

Thanks to the newly-installed smart door lock, residents with a confirmed item booking can now enter the Library of Things themselves and pick up their items directly. As they do so, staff can observe the Wi-Fi camera to make sure the correct items are obtained, while using a two-way audio link to provide guidance if needed. This system is currently in the testing phase and the plan is to roll it out to other projects in Brazil in due course.

Another solution under development for installation in Laguna is an electronically controlled smart lock for the gate of the football pitch. This will enable residents to receive a QR code when booking the pitch that can then be held against the smart lock to unlock the gate. Naturally, our IoT solutions are being integrated with the Planet App, allowing residents to use their smartphones to book the facilities and unlock the gate.

At Laguna’s communal kitchen, a gas leak detector will be implemented to ensure the safety of residents at all times. The system will automatically cut off the gas via a remote-controlled smart valve in the event of a leak, protecting residents and the environment.

What is the Internet of Things?

Internet of Things (IoT) is the term given to the various physical devices that are connected to the internet and which collect and share data. Bringing different objects together and adding sensors facilitates real-time communication. Thanks to IoT, almost anything has the potential to be smart. 

Such technology can bring huge benefits to housing providers and residents alike. The deployment of IoT devices could lead to large-scale behavioural changes and generate a wealth of aggregated data for analysis, predictive forecasting and business planning.

With digital transformation having accelerated recently, the way we live our lives is rapidly changing on an exponential basis. Just as technology impacts the daily lives of ordinary people in both developed and developing countries, it has also impacted the housing sector. 

Housing providers have become increasingly interested in the power of technology to overcome not only challenges such as sustainable energy consumption but in enabling relationships with residents to be more digitally-led, strategic and practical than ever before. 

At Planet Smart City, we recognise the potential impact of harnessing technology to make neighbourhoods smarter and improve residents’ quality of life. Utilising digital tools to make lives easier, more reliable, cost-effective and safer has been a significant focus for us since inception. 

Today, with the help of the Internet of Things, we are turning our vision into reality. We are excited to extend our unique approach to more communities so we can impact even more lives in the years to come.

Stephen Dunphy
Global Head of IoT 

With a degree in electronic engineering and industrial automation, Stephen has over 25 years of experience leading international teams driving smart city and big data initiatives. At Planet Smart City, he is in charge of the global IoT strategy.