For the gadget-conscious IT pros as well as most of the new IT savvy young buyers, automated homes are definitely now something to aspire for. Though smart homes are still something of a niche, there is definitely growing demand for them. In the past, only about 15 per cent of the overall numbers of aspiring home buyers were ready to consider smart homes as an option because of the higher costs involved.
In the past, they were largely luxury offerings, and there was a considerable premium attached to homes with ‘smart’ features which varied according to how many such features were included in the project. Today, however, many of the developers catering to this segment have successfully sized and priced their projects well, thereby managing to draw a much larger demand.
Typically, smart home buyers today are in the age group of 30-45 and are either well-established in their careers or very upwardly mobile. Another typical defining factor for these buyers is that they tend to be IT-savvy and usually very stressed-out in their jobs. For these buyers, the comforts, conveniences and importantly the security that smart homes give them are critical factors influencing their purchase decisions.
Interestingly, smart homes have a definite status value attached to them, tend to have higher resale value both because of their locations and features and can make life simpler for those who know how to exploit these features. They are definitely not suitable options for those who will under-utilise them, except maybe from an investment perspective.
A large segment of the current demand for smart homes comes from people employed in software parks, BPOs and IT companies. It is for this reason that many of the smart home projects in cities like Pune tend to crop up in IT-centric areas. Software professionals tend to have had considerable exposure to IT-specific concepts, which is one of the primary reasons for their preference for smart homes. They also tend to draw above-average salaries, and quite often had training and even long periods of stationing in foreign countries. As a result of the latter factor, they have had exposure to technology-driven residential concepts in those countries and seek such a lifestyle back home in India. With the rapid proliferation of Internet usage across nearly all segments of Indian society, the target audience for smart homes has expanded considerably. It now includes a much larger section of gadget-conscious and professionally secure younger home buyers with a well-defined yen for automated homes.
Smart homes are not just an interesting variant. With the growing awareness of and concern about environmental issues, they are progressing towards becoming the default option for more and more home buyers over the next decade.
Smart homes offer technological features wherein home owners can operate almost anything in their homes (including lights, air conditioners, security systems, curtains and blinds) from within and even outside at the touch or click of a button. Today, smart home technology uses user-friendly software that allows simplified control of climate, lighting, entertainment and communication. The technology involved impacts three key areas — energy efficiency, security systems and telecom systems.
The appreciation of such properties is also influenced by the very nature of the features that make life simpler, safer, more comfortable and more exciting. The technology that drives smart homes can be readily upgraded, making them completely future-ready. This increases their potential resale value many times over.
The writer is CMD, Amit Enterprises