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Luxury apartments get smarter with Alexa

Although the smart speaker space is at a nascent stage in India, companies such as Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook are trying to tap the market

June 02, 2018 / 02:35 PM IST

Now, homebuyers in India will be able to play music, control appliances and even place online orders on Amazon even without moving their fingers as luxury apartment maker Embassy Group is launching smart homes fitted with Alexa in India.

These homes will come equipped with automation devices that will turn the living spaces into voice-enabled smart homes.

While Embassy Group is using Alexa, a bunch of other builders are learnt to be building smart homes using other voice enabled devices to enable remote monitoring and management of appliances and systems.

While Embassy Group has said that the starting prices of these houses for a one BHK of 607 square feet could be Rs 35 lakh, according to real estate experts, owners can also opt for per room option.

“Luxury smart homes are intelligent project where all electronic appliances are connected to a remote or an application on your smartphone. The pricing of these houses can depend on the levels and the requirement of the owners but approximately it starts from Rs 25,000  per room to 3 lakh,” said Amar Haware, executive director and CFO, Haware properties.

Besides security and comfort, home automation also provides energy efficiency as users can control the appliances often by a smart home app on their smartphone or any other networked device.

"These homes are sustainable, cost-effective and are secure even if the residents are not around. The smart surveillance features also allow the safety of children and elderly people to be monitored remotely via smartphone apps," said Amar Tendulkar, President, Planning and Design, Omkar Realtors.

Though smart speaker space is in nascent stage in India but companies such as Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook are trying to tap the market. Apart from these tech giants, there are many local companies which are developing appliances for home automation.

"The smart home devices will start from luxury segment and people who are tech-savvy may adopt it as an experiment. There should be proper infrastructure for it and India is still at a nascent stage in terms of adopting the smart home devices," said Sanchit Vir Gogia, CEO of research firm Greyhound Research.​

According to Gogia, there are also some concerns about data privacy and it may take about 2-3 years for the Indian real estate market to adopt this.

Recently, Alexa recorded a private conversation of a couple in Portland and the recording was sent to an employee of the husband. The smart home speaker was also caught up in a creepy laugh controversy when Alexa mistook words and phrases as command.

However, when it comes to customers, the properties are not just being bought by millennials but young and old people alike.

"We are seeing young and old people opting for smart homes and home automation. Even Amazon and Google are working to make the device in vernacular language," said Haware.

He however added that there are pros and cons of every technology. “We can see that tech giants such as Amazon and Google are very strict regarding the data policies and security but the local home automation devices don't have enough technology to do that and that's a concern,” he said.

Lockated is a Mumbai-based smart software company that is helping real estate companies with consumer centric technology solutions for their home. The company's founder and CEO Chetan Bafna said that smart home devices have started making an entry into the Indian market and are considered to be luxury products.

While talking about the adoption of the smart home devices he said, "A lot of people have started including them as a part of their homes either if it is new house interiors or even starting from the scratch. There is currently an upward trend in the market given the rising awareness and affordable price of the devices."

With the launch of smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home, Bafna said that there is a positive impact on demand and it is helping in building the overall industry and market size. “They are playing a huge role in making the market aware and creating demand for the same,” he said.

He added: "People have started adopting them in their newer houses and a lot of real estate developers have started offering them as a part of their core project offerings. It helps real estate companies to even market their projects as smart projects. In future, we will see a lot of companies offering ready to move in apartments with automation and IoT as a part of their home specifications."
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Sabahat Contractor
first published: Jun 1, 2018 04:16 pm