How cloud-enabled smart homes are transforming how we live

Homebuyers expect a property to come fully equipped with connected technology

Credit: ID 45828700 © Photographerlondon

2020 has seen most of us spend more time in our homes than any other year in living memory. This has had the effect of dramatically increasing the market for technology that makes our homes more convenient.

In fact, a recent global survey of executives, published by management consulting firm, McKinsey and Company, revealed that this year alone, their companies have accelerated the digitisation of their customer and supply-chain interactions and of their internal operations by three to four years.

This accelerated rate of digitisation means the worldwide market for smart home technology is on track to grow by 4.1 per cent in 2020, according to IDC. It should come as no surprise our attention has turned to how to make our homes more comfortable and liveable, now that we’re spending so much more time inside them.

Modern apartments are filled with smart devices and systems, from cloud-connected refrigerators that self-diagnose to voice-controlled audio-visual systems that serve up a tailored menu of online entertainment content. They even have smart elevators that know intuitively which floor you need without having to do anything other than enter the building.

During this time, when we are still encouraged to socially distance, improvements to residential flow that is achieved by smart elevators and touchless entry is highly beneficial.

Even the traditional door key is becoming obsolete as the use of digital keys and biometric recognition increases. These, and many other technologies, are often controlled via apps on smartphones and other mobile devices that have become virtually indispensable in our everyday lives.

This has enabled the seamless introduction of smart home technology, given that much of it is controlled by the same mobile device that we conduct most of our other routine activities with, such as shopping, communicating, banking, and working.

As our homes become more technologically advanced, so too does the expectation of homebuyers (particularly new-build apartment buyers) that those homes will come fully equipped with connected technology.

Buyers expect the process of entering, leaving, and securing the property, as well as the operation of features within the home, such as blinds, lighting, AV equipment, appliances, heating, and cooling are all future-proofed and digitally connected.

There is now so much intelligence inside our homes that it has begun to extend beyond our front doors. Building developers and owners are now answering the needs of increasingly demanding and technologically aware residents by providing solutions to the everyday challenges they face in apartment living. This means introducing smart technology that provides better accessibility, secure, intuitive and touchless access control, and new and novel communication methods. It also provides developers with the opportunity to differentiate their residential offerings and gain a genuine competitive edge.

Facility and strata managers can use connected technology to send relevant building-related information direct to residents' smartphones, or to information screens in the elevators or lobby. They can even automatically call an elevator to take the user to their home floor once they enter the lobby, eliminating the need to carry or use physical keys or access fobs.

From the perspective of homeowners within smart and connected developments, not only is having this technology likely to help them sell their property quicker if and when they choose to do so, they can also expect to command a premium on the sale price.

Moreover, the technology can also be retrofitted to existing buildings, so owners of apartments within older buildings needn’t miss out on the benefits of connected technology or, indeed, capitalising on the potentially improved property valuation.

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