Forward-thinking property developers and housebuilders have realised they must invest in smart technology to ensure new properties keep pace with digital living demands, particularly for homes at the top-end of the residential sector aimed at millennial purchasers and energy-conscious buyers.
Keeping abreast of fast paced technological developments and the rapid rise in connected devices is proving a challenge for many housebuilders. In a bid to assist, a unique training facility has been opened to provide independent product advice, technical expertise, professional training and an opportunity for hands-on testing.
The SmartAPPartment, a 4000sqft experience centre in central London, has six fully working rooms showcasing the latest digital technology; all seamlessly threaded through the building’s infrastructure and controlled from a simple single app. A large demo suite dedicated specifically to property developers was added to the facility this week (01/07/16), featuring products suited to commercial projects and multiple dwelling unit (MDUs).
Packed with the latest smart kit for efficient heating, ventilation, lighting, CCTV, air conditioning, home entertainment and AV systems, the suite also features a robust home automation system from Legrand, which is expected to appeal to a wide range of developers.
Cornflake, a leading home automation consultancy and integration firm with 30 years’ experience, has launched the new facility. CEO Robin Shephard says: ““The rise in demand for turn-key apartments has created a huge opportunity for housebuilders to create homes in which to live, work and play. Modern homes are increasingly energy efficient, but they must be entertainment efficient too. It is predicted by 2020 that the global smart homes market will be a $100bn (£70bn) industry, and that entertainment will account for 80% of this.
“It’s hugely important to factor in connectivity from the beginning of a development. Phone lines, TV and broadband are central to modern living and are now considered essentials, not just desirables. Like basic utilities, new homeowners need immediate online access as soon as they move in,” he stresses.
Richard Hayward from Legrand, concurs: “For the bespoke home and penthouse apartment, intelligent control systems are almost ubiquitous. No longer simply about the wow factor, systems that provide smart integration of functions including heating, cooling, lighting, AV and even blind control can also enhance a property’s energy efficiency and enable the occupier to tailor the space to suit their lifestyle.
Hayward adds: “As an industry, we have moved beyond simply providing connectivity to suit today’s requirements; developers need to future-proof the technological infrastructure. Many consumers are familiar with smart TVs, but our homes are quickly becoming smarter in other exciting ways. Turning on the heating, lights, opening the gates, or drawing the curtains before we arrive home will be a prerequisite of every new home, and developers who think otherwise will be left behind.
“As more technology becomes available, demands on a building’s infrastructure will increase very quickly, especially over the next couple of years. The nation’s property developers must ensure their homes are not just ready for today’s technology, but also tomorrow’s.”
Shephard concludes: “There are undoubtedly challenges to bringing smart homes to the mass market, but those issues will dwindle as digital living becomes more mainstream. The trickledown effect will be quite rapid with companies such as Apple, Google and other trusted brands already offering solutions. It’s going to be hard work but a lot of fun; we hope our new facility will help with education and training, and demystify this wonderful technology.”