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Is your home a smart home?

With lights now turning off with a simple voice command and window shades rising up or being drawn down automatically with the sun, "smart is the way forward."

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By Ashish R Puravankara

The Indian home automation market is expected to cross Rs 30,000 crores by the end of 2022. With the explosion of the internet, Internet of Things (IoT), the concept of Smart Homes or technology-enabled homes is one of the most significant innovations in the real estate market; and it will drive the future. In the initial phase, smart homes in the Indian real estate market could predominantly be seen in the luxury segment. But today even the mid-segment homes are equipped with smart home features.

This is mainly because of two reasons: the quick rise in internet penetration and the affordability of smart devices. Connected homes or smart homes win over traditional houses, because they fulfil the need of the hour. They come with interconnected devices with the help of the internet and remote systems. These products combine delightful features like comfort, entertainment, mobility and security, providing consumers with a seamless experience. Technology enables one to control lights, appliances and security systems from anywhere in the house or in the world with just a smartphone.

The actual definition of what a smart home looks like has now changed to the home ensuring a comfortable, convenient, secure, entertaining, and sustainable living – all in one. Most people have a perception that smart living is not affordable. However, this is changing. Some futuristic smart-trend along with burgeoning aspiration of customers, have seen the advent of smart homes in the premium affordable category. Earlier having a good security camera, door locking systems made a house a smart one. However, today like detecting a gas leakage or sustainable lightings are now a benchmark to start with.

With lights now turning off with a simple voice command and window shades rising up or being drawn down automatically with the sun, “smart is the way forward.”

Security: Smart doorbells are one of the first things people look at when it comes to security. With motion sensors and bells fitted with cameras for security, life is now simpler. It is an automatic “security proofing” for homes. In addition to the bells, smart door locks are helping in not only making houses child proof, but the technology integrated with smartphones is also assisting in ensuring safety even when members are not at home.

Energy and cost saving: With designers and builders now being more conscious about sustainable development, some solutions are in line with these and also economical for more people to be able to access these technologies. Some energy saving devices include solutions to turn off any appliance remotely ensuring optimum utilisation, Wi-Fi enabled smart lights and smoke alarms. Automatic switching off of lights, geysers are some of the other energy saving devices which add to the list.

Smart homes can be divided into two groups: An integrated smart home that comes with a central control unit that is, in turn, connected to the internet which has any number of networked devices hooked to it and connected to one another. Besides, there is the stand-alone smart home which has an isolated application that does not necessarily use a central control unit, it serves a single purpose and can be directly controlled (e.g. via a router) from a smart device.

All these combined are contributing to the 165 million devices worldwide which are now used in making homes, smart.

Smart is without a doubt the primary way to build homes now. According to industry estimates, the Indian smart home market is currently valued at about $893 million; and expected to grow by leaps and bounds in the next five years showing a penetration of 9.5 per cent of homes by 2023 compared to 0.8 per cent in 2018.

Some recently launched residential projects in the country have already started offering smart home packages in urban homes. So, apart from broadband connections and affordability, other factors that will drive smart home growth are infrastructure, local content and interoperability.

This is indeed is an exciting time for consumers, builders and smart device providers who can look ahead to power Indian homes with comfort and convenience.

(The author is the Managing Director of Puravankara)

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