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IT issues on 666 ABC Canberra Drive with Keri Phillips each Wednesday at 5:50pm
With Tom Worthington FACS, Visiting Fellow, Department of Computer Science, Australian National University
Building The Smart Apartment, 20 February 2002
This is an update to the 12 November 2001 IT issues segment about what is needed for an Internet connected home office or "smart apartment". The building has been completed in the suburb of O'connor in Canberra, but the apartment not yet fitted out with the "smarts".
Smart Apartment Design by Ian Douglas
What Can be Done On-line?
Using the Internet and the web a challenge, with some surprises as what it was possible to do on-line and not:
- Finding the apartment: On-line real estate services, such as Allhomes, provide lists of properties available, reports on the local property market. However, the apartment was actually found by driving through the suburb and seeing a sign on the building site. There was a web site with some details about the development, but this was more useful for telling distant friends about it, than making a purchasing decision.
- Paying for the apartment: On-line purchase of real estate doesn't seem to be possible yet in the ACT. Payment for the apartment was not possible by BPAY and direct creditl; a paper cheque was the only form of payment accepted.
- Electricity connection: ActewAGL have an easy to use on-line form for electricity and gas connection. They still send bills by paper mail, but payment can be arranged automatically from a bank account.
- Change of address: The ACT Electoral Commission has a convinent change of address and electoral enrollment form. You can't fill it in on-line, but the one form does electoral enrollment for Federal and ACT, as well as change of address for a driver's license, motor vehicle registration, rates, land tax, dog registration, ACT Library card and Seniors card. Unfortunately the link to the form from Canberra Connect didn't work.
- Telecommunications: Transact have a download TransACT Service Application form for their high speed network service. Unfortunately the form has to be printed out and delivered to Transact by hand or posted (it can't be faxed or e-mailed). Transact have advised that a connection would take up to six weeks, despite the apartment already having cabling installed. Transact don't seem to allow for new, simple installations. Transact sent a letter 18 January 2002 to say the Disney Channel was available on the digital set-top box, which wan't a lot of use as no box or line has been connected yet (after more than six weeks).
Smart Apartment for the Disabled?
One good use for high technology homes is for the disabled. The City Edge complex, in O'Connor, Canberra, ACT, Australia, which houses the "smart apartment", has several apartments designed for the disabled. These have adjustable height kitchen benches (including the sink and stove top) and wireless controlled front doors. They are intended to go beyond what is usual in "Adaptable Housing".
The apartments are an initiative of Community Housing Canberra Ltd, a not-for-profit association of community housing providers for people on low and modest incomes: young people, aged people, people with disabilities, indigenous people, students and double and single parent families.
The design of these apartments emphasizes practical low cost equipment. As an example the electrically operated doors are controlled by garage door openers and the adjustable height kitchen benches are adapted from office furniture.
There is potential to add computerized controls for some of this equipment, provided it could be done at a low cost and reliably.
Smart Apartment at the Bauhaus
Planning is underway to include the Smart Apartment as part of Bauhaus Kolleg's programs on the integration of ICT in work environment and life style. Activities would be on-line, at Bauhaus Dessau (Germany) and in Sydney. :
The Bauhaus Dessau Foundation is inviting architects, social scientists, designers, planners and artists and other designing professionals to apply for the 2. and 3. Trimester of the Bauhaus Kolleg III Serve City... Ute Lenssen, Project Manager, Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, Tel: +49 340-6508-402
For the Trimester starting on the 14. February they would still be able to incorporate remote participants. For the 3. Trimester, Australians are invited to Dessau to work in the interdisciplinary group at the Bauhaus.
Serve City Sydney is the third annual program offered:
Having just become the proverbial global "event city” during the 2000 Summer Olympics, Sydney, Australia, simultaneously offers a paradigmatic and unique environment in which to confront the physical, social, and economic imperatives of the evolving global service society. ... This urban landscape of divergent geographies shall serve as the setting for exploring the service economy and its spatial and architectonic representations. In particular, the Kolleg shall focus on several disparate territories spanning the Sydney harborfront currently primed for redevelopment. || The Kolleg endeavors to offer experimental architectural, urban design, planning, and product design concepts and proposals for future dwelling and workplace typologies featuring innovations for serve city and its social and spatial cohesion.From: SERVE CITY 2001-2002.
The Bauhaus Kolleg operates in the interdisciplinary tradition of the historic Bauhaus:
Founded in Weimar in 1919, the Bauhaus rallied masters and students who sought to reverse the split between art and production by returning to the crafts as the foundation of all artistic activity and developing exemplary designs for objects and spaces that were to form part of a more humane future society. Following intense internal debate, in 1923 the Bauhaus turned its attention to industry under its founder and first director Walter Gropius (1883-1969). From Bauhaus History
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Copyright © Tom Worthington 2002.