The core goal of our business here at NoiseNet is to help people around the world live quieter, healthier lives by reducing nuisance noise pollution. To that end, we’re excited to talk about our recent set of trials in Singapore, focused on their public housing program and raising the quality of life for residents. Conducted alongside Fonda Global, a smart-city focused property management firm, and Singapore’s Ministry of National Development, the trials have proved extremely successful, and are now progressing to the second stage.
Singapore gained its independence from Malaysia in 1965. The following years saw a massive boom in land reclamation projects, careful urban planning, and snowballing public works projects, including wide-reaching public housing developments built with a focus towards community cohesion and a unique private purchasing and leasing scheme. As of 2020, 78.7% of all Singaporian residents live in public housing – one of the highest rates in the world. While this is a vital asset for the livability of Singapore and the economic wellbeing of Singaporean residents, it does mean large numbers of people live in very close proximity, making urban noise an ever present issue that needs to be addressed, before it leads to widespread physical and mental health issues.
As a small country with few natural resources, Singapore has largely focused its economic efforts on technological innovation. Today, it holds the reputation of being the “World’s Smartest City”, and has been the proving ground for many of the technologies we take for granted across the world, including EFTPOS, USB drives, and infrared fever detectors – not to mention the hundreds of more niche inventions that have improved industries like medicine, transport, banking, resource refining, and farming. Singapore’s government is always willing to join forces with emerging tech developers to help get a technology to market, and we feel extremely privileged to be given the opportunity to demonstrate our technology in the world's best Smart City.
One of the most interesting things we’ve learned about Singapore’s culture around suburban noise is what their Ministry of National Development calls “The Marble Problem”. Singapore, like most Asian countries, don’t use carpets – tiles are the most common, with polished timber and linoleum coming in close second. In combination with this, a popular pastime for kids is playing marbles. Glass marbles plus solid floors equals a large amount of noise being transmitted to the apartment below, and is actually one of the leading causes of complaints in Singaporean apartment buildings! Of course, it’s not always actually marbles making the noise, but the term has become popular enough that residents will use it in their complaints.
The Marble Problem was also one of the key tests that Fonda Global used in their first set of NoiseNet trials. These tests were conducted in a controlled environment: an empty apartment building. In the trial, Fonda Global’s noise experts installed two NoiseNet devices in different parts of the building and made the kinds of noises you’d expect to hear in an apartment building, including shouting, stomping, loud music, poorly-maintained air conditioning units, and, of course, dropping marbles. Even though the tests are towards serious ends, they sound like a good bit of fun for the Fonda Global testing crew!
The upcoming second phase of trials, however, will be where NoiseNet can truly shine. In these trials, NoiseNet will be deployed into live environments – real public housing towers. While NoiseNet’s noise detection capabilities are highly effective, the true power of NoiseNet comes from the psychological effect of having hard data in the complaint resolution process. Many of our current clients in Australia and the USA have found that parties involved in a noise complaint never have matching stories, and a lot of time is spent finding the objective truth of the situation. Once NoiseNet becomes part of the equation and objective data is available, parties are much quicker to come to an agreement and begin to work towards a solution.
The Ministry of National Development and their partner compact Fonda Global are responsible for managing the stock of public housing in Singapore, including planning, construction, community management, and upgrading and enhancement. They are both extremely keen to bring NoiseNet to market, and we’re excited to be breaking into this new field with our devices. To be working alongside such world leaders is both a huge privilege and a humbling challenge, and we’re very excited to see where the second phase lands. Check back soon for more updates on the progress of these trials.
If you’re interested in what NoiseNet could offer your city, head over to go.noisenet.com.