Daily Post: Saturday, 18 January 2014


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Smart homes, also called as intelligent homes, house a technology by which one can have full control of all gadgets or devices at home even if the owner is far away from it
Ajay Goswami

Chandigarh

After the sky if there is anything that can be called as limitless, it will most probably be needs of a human being that can be stretched to any extent. Take housing, now the definition of a house is not restricted to its earlier use when it was taken as a shelter made of four walls and a roof. But it has expanded to that extent which was not even imaginable for the people a couple of decades ago. And this change can be attributed to constantly squeezing dwelling spaces, increasing competition and pressure on workplaces and speeding up of nuclear concept in India.

Safety and security have not remained the only concerns for consumers nowadays but comfort and efficiency have also become priorities for them. Given the trend and surge in demands, it would not be relevant to ask why the concepts like home automation are fast making inroads into the realty. In recent years, there has been tremendous growth in launches providing such solutions and surprisingly, at that time when the market is in its slowest pace ever.

Smart homes, also called as intelligent homes, in simple words, house a technology by which one can have full control of all gadgets or devices at home even if the owner is far away from it. What is required is to have a proper installation of smart technology, complete power back up, high speed internet and a smartphone and it does not matter if a user is aboard on plane or busy discharging duties at office, everything will be under her scrutiny and enough control with the help of a pocked-friendly and handheld device that is common to have nowadays.

Elaborating on the need and changing people’s perception, CP Singh, Founder and Chief Mentor of Smart Group, the company frontrunner in delivering services in the same segment in India, says: “The whole essence of the story lies in the viability. If the product is in accordance with demands of a particular time when it is being introduced, there is no chance of consumers’ snubbing to it. Around a decade ago, the concept that was nowhere in the scene in the country has now become an inherent part of real estate. And the prevailing trend in the Delhi-NCR region vindicates this fact quiet aptly where in current times hardly any new construction is coming to the fore which does not incorporate smart technology. And contrary to perception, it is not as expensive as it has been considered by the people. Depending on installation of equipment, the cost ranges from Rs 150 to 500 per sq ft respectively at the minimum to maximum level which, to say, is very economical won’t be illogical.”

Home automation, in actual, is an assortment of solutions subject to desirability of customers as to what serves the purpose effectively according to needs. While the lighting control system, as name refers to, works towards the functioning of lights and ambiance related matters, access control, another stream of it, is applied to control apparatus relating to entry and exit points. The third one, security control, refers to intrusion detection, motion sensors and video surveillance etc.

“Apart from drawing visible benefits like convenience and safety, home automation drives benefits also which may not be noticeable in first sight but can have merits for a longer term. As in the case of lighting control, where the lighting operation work automatically and governed largely by requirements with the help of dimmers, the power saving can be of up to 40 per cent,” says he while explaining how: “By default lights, due to having equal transmission of power, work in same brightness all the time regardless of timing and purpose but in smart technology, the functioning is diametrically opposite to the former.

Here by setting timing and purpose, the users can take productive use of it. It is like if particular place requires less brightness at any time of the day or if you want to change the light effect for a desired ambience, it can be set in that frequency which means sustainable use and sustainable living, quite contrary to one-size-fit-for-all approach,” says Singh.

“The same is the case with AC and refrigerators which make 60 per cent of the total electricity bill. “It is usual for everyone to forget to off these appliances while leaving a house and the realisation comes when it becomes impossible to reach there.

This technology is also helpful to thwart such happenings to occur, thereby, a substantial increase in your wealth as every penny saved is a penny earned.” On this Anil Mthas, CMD, Unnati Fortune Group says:

“Home automation is gaining traction because of its capability to address issues commonly faced by urban population given hectic lifestyles and complex working regimes and shortening dependence on family members. This was the reason we in our project Unnati Fortune World were pretty sure to deploy the technology and did the same also.

The villas in the project are covered by electronic surveillance devices by which residents can monitor and communicate to outsiders on the entry point even without stepping outside to home.

Moreover, emergency alarms have been fitted to help alert security personnel to identify crisis in order to overcome them on time. Life-saving sensors like smoke detectors, medical panic alert have been placed to avoid any untoward incident. Similarly, we have made arrangements for Wi-Fi services and inter-connected electric wiring that helps save electricity when property is not occupied.” “Through M2M system the cost of electricity and water bills can be reduced significantly. There can be saving of up to 30 per cent on electricity and water consumption through this”, says Abhay Kumar, MD, Grihapravesh Buildtech.

But it is not like this technology is available for only first home users. Earlier, remained largely limited to primary markets, the concept of automation has caught the fancy of second home users also who are now being more benefitted with the advent of wireless technology which has replaced the use of wiring deployment, a practice most common in former times. Called as retrofit placement, it does not require users to have their homes walls damaged or broken, but can be done safely with the help of remotes and sensors.

How much it costs

Depending on facilities one is going to opt, the cost ranges from Rs 150 at the minimum and Rs 500 at maximum level. Given a 2 BHK flat covers around 1,000 to 1,200 sq ft area, the automation will incur Rs 1.50 lakh to Rs 5 lakh cost for a user. Prices, although, can vary to services, the initial cost for employing technology requires the infusion of around Rs 75,000.

Bottlenecks in Indian context

As known to everyone, on infrastructural front, the country does not depict a promising picture; to enjoy services in an impeccable manner is not guaranteed. Power and Internet, the major facilitator, are highly likely to play a spoilsport.

Gains galore

When it comes to benefits, these are for all without any favoritism however, if there is a need to single out who will be benefitted a lot; they are children, old age people and working couples. Apart from obvious gains, power saving and convenience followed by productive time utilisation, are some gains which may not be visible but have considerable impact on day to day life.

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