With millennials looking for a work-life balance, demand for interactive and multifunctional homes is growing.
Smartphones, smart cars, and smart devices are increasingly becoming a part of our daily lives. This ‘smart’ revolution coupled with the emergence of cloud-based services and convergence-based technologies such as IoT (internet of things) has brought a new era in smart home automation.
With Indian millennials focussed on achieving work-life balance, demand for smart, interactive, multifunctional, sustainable, and flexible spaces is growing in leaps and bounds.
As economies worldwide start recovering from COVID-19 shutdowns, families are using internet-connected devices for remote monitoring and management of appliances and systems, such as lighting and heating. Devices like thermographic cameras that check occupants for fevers to Bluetooth wristbands that warn wearers of people coming too close together are also being used more and more.
For instance, Samsung has introduced Ballie, a small ball-shaped robot, which can assist in daily chores. Consumer electronics giant GE Appliances, has unveiled a personalised kitchen design called ‘Shift’ - which uses face and voice recognition and comes with height adjustment for wheelchair users. Miraie - an IoT and AI (artificial intelligence) enabled connected living solution by Panasonic - empowers the everyday lives of consumers with comfort, convenience, and seamless connectivity across all Panasonic devices. The first range of connected products includes AC, smart doorbell, plugs, and switches, with plans of adding refrigerator, washing machine, TV, fans, and geysers in the future. Miraie can receive doorbell alerts on the smartphone with a video feed or manage switches with in-built voice assistance, etc.
One of the most touted benefits of home automation is – it provides peace of mind, comfort, and convenience to homeowners by allowing them to control smart devices, often by a smart home app on their smartphone or another networked device, and automating actions based on the homeowners' preferences. But for home automation systems to be truly effective, devices have to be interoperable regardless of manufacturer and use the same protocol or, at least, complementary ones.
Tempting as it may be to adopt such technology, its deployment including the civil work needed to automate the home has to be a well-orchestrated process to achieve the real benefits. A drawback of smart homes is their perceived complexity - some people have difficulty with technology or give up on it with the first inconvenience.
All these notwithstanding, IoT and AI are clearly doing wonders for the smart home automation market, and the best is yet to come! As technology continues changing, smart home possibilities would be endless.
While discerning buyers with high disposable incomes are opting for bigger apartments that are Wi-Fi-enabled and incorporate IoT and voice assistant technology, those with not-so-deep pockets are buying affordable homes designed to accommodate multipurpose furniture to make every inch of the available space truly functional.
As affordable homebuyers pivoted to a new stay-at-home lifestyle, demand for stylish but practical, versatile, and space-saving solutions for convenience rose. Carving out places to work and study has become a priority, as did styling ‘Zoom’ backdrops that wouldn’t embarrass them in front of teachers and co-workers.
Use of customised, tailor-made or modular furniture including sofas that double up as beds, study units that can be folded away, customised desks, ergonomic chairs, and dining tables, which can also double up as WFH (working from home) counters were the only way to create more space in a compact, affordable homes.
Online home interior company HomeLane, Godrej’s furniture arm Godrej Interio, Pepperfry, and Urban Ladder – all are busy adopting innovative technologies and solutions in the space-saving furniture category to cash in on the opportunity.
Real estate developers, designers, and architects have begun designing a multifunctional space since spaces inside a home can’t any longer have a singular purpose. Remodelling small apartments is not an easy task, but architects and developers are constantly re-evaluating the spatial configuration of interiors with an emphasis on flexibility. Based on customers’ feedback, options like collapsible partitions, mezzanine space as well as acoustic soundproof panels are also being toyed with.
With people spending a significantly substantial time indoors in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, home buyers are seeing merit in making small additions and changes to their home environment, to make it more aesthetically pleasing as well as functional.
This focus on the interiors is here to stay!