In the late 90’s The Jetsons was the most futuristic cartoon. I remember watching stupefied as various members of the Jetson family walked in rooms where doors opened automatically, temperatures and humidity were auto-modified, lights seemed to magically come on and go off and a robot followed them around to fulfill their every need. Back then the futuristic amenities featured in the Jetsons’ home seemed unattainable and inconceivable. Today however, we can enjoy all the high tech features the Jetsons enjoyed in our own smart homes through high quality home automation systems.
Inman reports that by 2020, experts estimate that the smart home industry will be worth over $21 billion. Homebuyers are increasingly favouring smart homes or homes featuring the latest in smart home technology. A 2016 study found that nearly half of Americans either already own or plan on installing smart home technology. Interestingly its the millennial brigade – 18 to 34 years – of homeowners who are willing to pay thousands more for home with smart home technology. In India too the smart home fever has caught on. It may not be the rage it is in the West, however, developers have taken notice and are including such features in their development plans.
The smart cities initiative launched by the government of India has in a big way created awareness about and demand for smart home technology. People no longer want only solar powered street lights, wi-fi networks, citizen feedback management, integrated traffic management and renewable energy powered electricals. They also want their homes to mirror the smart cities they live in. So let’s look at some of the leading smart home technologies you as a home buyer can look forward to in the current real estate market.
Being able to control temperature, humidity and light remotely is just the tip of the iceberg. Devices such as dishwashers, smart refrigerators and televisions, microwaves and air conditioners which can be controlled by voice or pre-programmed are coveted by home owners and in demand. Professionals are constantly on the move and have devices they can control and manage remotely makes life easier, digital and in control. Developers like Ruparel Realty have their pulse on homeowners’ needs and have incorporated a digital footprint for their latest offering in Chembur called Orion. Orion is a residential project offering techno-luxury homes. Home automation is a key USP of the project and a major selling point too.
Video Door Phone
Security in the big cities is of paramount importance. Beyond the common security amenities provided at most residential complexes and gated communities such as 24×7 security guards, CCTV cameras and sensors, residents also want agency of their own security. This is where video door phones take center stage. One might say they are an upgrade of the humble intercom that allowed one to know who their visitor was. The video door phone allows the residents to see the visitor. Most major developers are providing video door phones with their residential offerings. Ruparel Orion, Kalpataru Crest, Runwal Greens and Sheth Beaumonte are some of the contemporary examples of upcoming residential developments including video door phones as amenities in their smart homes.
Automated Car Parking
In a city like Mumbai or Delhi parking comes at a huge premium. On most roads in residential suburbs one can pass car after car parked on the road outside homes and buildings. This is a reflection of the lack of planning in providing space for parking vehicles. Upcoming residential projects include multi-levels of parking and in some cases automated car parking. Ruparel’s Orion in Chembur and Puraniks Grand Central in Thane both have multi-storey automated car parking as a major amenity for homebuyers.
Rooftop Solar Panels
This is the age of solar power. There is a visible rush among researchers, scientists and companies working at the cutting edge of science to find the cheapest way to utilise solar energy. This has resulted in numerous rooftops even in urban centres sporting solar panels to augment their electricity supply. Residential complexes in major Indian metros are using solar panels to store power to run common facilities such as elevators, internal street lights and lighting in podiums and car parks. Raunak Group are a big proponent of this technology and have provided in their projects in Thane and Kalyan. JP Infra are also doing so with North, their sprawling residential complex in Mira Road.
Regular keys are prone to be lost or stolen putting your household in danger of crimes. However with digital keys this imminent danger is largely mitigated. Digital keys include using biometrics, face recognition and voice recognition. In some cases the design replicates the key cards one gets at hotels. These keys can also be remotely disabled or activated thus improving home security. Gagan Properties have introduced digital keys at their upcoming project NuLife in Kamshet, Pune which caters exclusively to senior citizens who are prone to forgetfulness.
Life in a smart home is certainly of a higher standard and affords better control, management and security. Developers today ensuring they keep abreast of the latest technology and provide these in their newer developments. Mantri Group has incorporated a host of technologies at their WebCity in Bangalore. The project features social parks, web room, digital library to have a fun reading experience and social water clock with greetings. As technology races ahead the scope for more enabling and experiential digital amenities will only widen and homebuyers’ appetites for digital or smart homes will grow.