More condo developers using smart tech

More condo developers using smart tech
At iNz Residence, a 497-unit project in Choa Chu Kang, residents will be able to control appliances through an app.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

It is a tech race among condo developers this year.

Smart technologies, such as facial recognition devices for access to gyms or mobile apps to book facilities or even control appliances are now must-have features in new condominiums.

Future residents at Clement Canopy, launched on Saturday, will use a mobile app that integrates smart technology for their home and common areas in the estate.

Other developments such as Qingjian Realty's iNz Residence executive condominium in Choa Chu Kang and Fantasia Investment's 6 Derbyshire also promise smart-living technologies for residents.

Smart home concepts are not new.

Qingjian Realty's Visionaire, launched last year, was one of the first few projects to feature smart-home technologies.

Mr Li Jun, executive director of Qingjian Realty, said the features have been well-received, with about 80 per cent of buyers opting for smart homes.

He said: "At an industry level, we are quite heartened that developers have subsequently introduced smart home packages.

"This will ultimately benefit the buyers, as the industry evolves to better serve their needs."

Such innovations should be integrated with smarter communities and digital payments, said Mr Andrew Tan, director of business development and sales at Smart Gateway, who is behind 6 Derbyshire's app.

The app, named LifeUp, allows residents to book facilities and make payments for maintenance fees, as well as control appliances within the home.

The freehold development at Novena also has car plate recognition systems and facial recognition devices for residents to access facilities like the gym.

Mr Tan said that his firm has been approached by other condominiums.

"LifeUp connects residents, MCST (the condo's managing body) and managing agents in an entire ecosystem, creating unprecedented cost savings and productivity gains to the business," he added.

Smart technology has not been limited to private homes.

In 2015, the first "smart" Build-to-Order project was launched in Punggol and would be ready by 2020. These Housing Board flats will come with extra power and data points to support the smart systems.

Last April, the Yuhua neighbourhood in Jurong East became the first HDB estate to roll out smart home packages to over 3,000 households.

The technologies include a utilities management system which helps households monitor energy and water usage through a mobile app and an elderly monitoring system that consists of motion sensors and alerting capabilities.

Mr Desmond Sim, CBRE's head of Research, Singapore and South East Asia, thinks that developers have recognised that they have to provide smart features to remain competitive.

He said: "For homebuyers, (such features) won't be a compelling reason to buy, but it's a good-to-have. The price and location of a development is still the biggest factor."

Qingjian's Mr Li said: "In three to four years, Singapore would be a smart nation... Home owners would naturally expect to go home, at the end of the day, to a smart home."

linheng@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Feb 28, 2017.
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