Be Smart! Turn Your House Into A Smart Home
The masses love smart phones. But high net worth individuals prefer smart homes. Smart homes have been evolving, though slowly.
In smart homes, advanced automation systems and connected devices, like lighting, appliances, heating, air-conditioning, computers, TVs, entertainment audio and video, security and interconnected CCTV cameras are seen as a priority. In India, homebuyers who buy flats in premium housing projects, mainly in the Rs 5-crore-plus segment, love to buy smart homes.
As the smart city mission is progressing, the concept of smart homes is getting more attention too. This has led to positive effects, even in mid-segment properties. Owners started turning their homes into smart homes, because everybody wishes to live in energy-efficient homes that offer comforts and conveniences. Smart homes, however are restricted to urban areas, especially in metros. Small cities are yet to understand the concept of smart homes. It will take a few more years for small cities for the concept of smart homes to penetrate to small cities.
Factors that drive the concept of smart homes
The key drivers are convenience, security and energy efficiency, at present. The Indian culture is changing at a fast pace, with more families becoming nuclear. So, safety, security, comfort and convenience are of greater importance. Because of high office space rents, many self-employed professionals prefer to work from home. So, smart homes are the perfect solution to many problems.
Who are the influencers?
Interior designers and architects are the main influencers. Recommending smart homes to their clients is not always easy, because of budget constraints. There are four major constraints: cost, company's reputation, service and warranty.
There are many homebuyers who decide not to buy smart homes, because the cost is too high. Smart homes can cost around 10 per cent more because of one-time initial investment. Buyers should not forget that these initial charges are soon recovered through lower usage of energy and other scarce resources, ensuring higher savings in the long run.
Growing popularity of retrofitting
Retrofitting existing homes with smart systems cost much less. This is about adding new technology or features to older systems. Some companies are well-equipped to offer greenfield smart home solutions or retrofit existing homes.
Awareness of the damaging impact of global warming, rising temperature of the earth, unpredictable weather patterns, fall in agricultural productivity and submergence of low-lying areas will lead to greater acceptance of smart homes. New-age energy meters regulate the flow of energy throughout the house, lowering energy use and electricity bills. Similarly, automated HVAC systems and sensors switch off the moment a room is vacant.
There are other benefits too. There is assured safety and security for children and elders in a smart home. With CCTVs, night-vision cameras and intruder alarms, houses are more secure. Smart homes with voice command systems also help bed-and wheelchair-bound patients.
Smart homes can save lives as well
Smart homes not only save money; they also save lives. If there is any emergency at home like accidental short circuits or fires, circuit breakers can automatically stop the power supply. Likewise, ground-fault circuit breakers in bathrooms (where chances of fatal shock during leakage are high) can cut off power supply within milliseconds.
Strangely, most homeowners who can afford smart homes are unaware of these benefits. To increase the adoption of smart homes largely, it is important to communicate the advantages of smart homes to homeowners and developers.
Because of lack of awareness, smart homes are not popular enough. This is the biggest barrier. All types of developers – from premium to other segments – need to understand the technology solutions to eliminate energy and resource wastage.
Innovation happens in all fields, and smart homes are no exception. Smart homes are bound to reach new heights in innovation, efficiency and cost efficiency. New innovations will certainly save time for homebuyers.
Selecting smart homes is one of the best ways in which homebuyers can contribute to saving the earth from the perilous consequences of global warming while making their own lives easier, comfortable and convenient.