Building the foundations for a productive and sustainable government

Schneider Electric

By Mark Gambino
Thursday, 05 September, 2019

Building the foundations for a productive and sustainable government

The application of intelligent design and technology-based solutions will help lead Australia into a productive, secure and more sustainable future.

In a rapidly changing world, the need for businesses and companies to ensure the continuous delivery and improvement in quality of services has become the number one priority for building engineers and systems designers worldwide. When it comes to government operations, this tenet applies tenfold.

For companies like Ecoview Integration Services — a division of national electric services company Stowe Australia — the key to achieving this lies within people, not products.

“The main component in a company like ours is we’re trained on all the new products released,” said Evan Petersen, National Operations Manager for Ecoview. “Each platform has its own benefits, pros and cons. We look at the client’s design documents to understand what’s been specified in the functionality and what the client wants to see as the end result; and we’ll know the best system that fits the brief.”

Ensuring end functionality is critical for Petersen, who understands that the experience and knowledge of his team is just as important as the training and support behind it.

This concept underpins Schneider Electric’s ‘EcoXpert’ training and certification program, which helps to provide system integrators like Petersen with the knowledge and expertise to design systems and install products that operate effectively and efficiently.

“If we’re working on a job and find a limitation with equipment, we can go back to Schneider Electric for advice and help,” said Petersen. “Schneider assist our team by demonstrating new product releases and provide on-going training and technical support when required.

“Our team has invested a lot of time testing the hardware used on our jobs, to make site installation a much more efficient and effective process.”

To this end, the team at Ecoview recently completed the design and installation of a lighting control system — based on the new C-Bus Automation Controllers — that spans 23 floors of one government building, which is monitored and controlled from a single computer; reducing the need to purchase and maintain hardware and software across multiple floors, thereby reducing cost and downtime.

Other areas of government are now mandating for smarter hardware design like this, which is leading to innovation in building services for many departments, including the Department of Defence.

“Defence operates large, complex and secure enterprise systems,” said a Defence spokesperson. “When developing new buildings and infrastructure, Defence seeks to maximise the use of extensible and programmable systems in the design and build phase, where those are compatible with Defence security environment and operational requirements.

“Defence uses available technologies where appropriate to assist with building management. Defence has encouraged innovation within its contracts that deliver facilities management and infrastructure support.”

On a community level, systems such as this are a growing component of design and construction for new local government buildings or the upgrade of existing structures to improve usability and sustainability.

An initiative of the Turnbull government, the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program is designed to “improve the liveability, productivity and sustainability of cities and towns across Australia” by funding innovative technology-related solutions in a broad range of sectors, such as education, public spaces and services, and lifestyle and recreation facilities.

Now in the second round of implementation, then Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities Paul Fletcher stated last year that the project will “deliver innovative, technology-based approaches to improve the liveability and increase the productivity and sustainability of Australia’s cities, suburbs and towns”.

A project in the first round of this initiative was the development of smart digital infrastructure in the South Australian town of Kapunda, which is now being used to collect data on city services and deliver improved living conditions to the town’s residents.

Large-scale projects such as this can be a complex task, but ones made easier by determining outcomes directly from the client to ensure the right solutions are delivered.

“Our priority is to work out what the client actually wants,” said Michael McKay, Principal Engineer at Pesce. “When you look at plans, [what is required] is not always apparent from the specifications, but it’s apparent when talking to the client. Then we choose the key equipment that accomplishes that outcome.

“Our training gives us knowledge that we use towards putting together a system that is a better design and gives us the knowledge to use a product appropriately, so we can optimise the equipment we provide.”

An Australian company that has delivered automation and power solutions for various levels of government, the team at Pesce also understand the modern security concerns that come with digitally connected systems.

“For all our systems, security is quite important,” McKay said. “It’s a very real and very big concern if someone can gain access to a poorly configured network.

“Schneider Electric take digital security seriously, so our knowledge and training on Schneider products allows us to address security concerns in a very thorough way, which gives us an advantage over other businesses.”

Through the application of intelligent design and technology-based solutions, the infrastructure of modern Australia and the skills of those behind it will help lead our country into a productive, secure and more sustainable future.

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