- Jessica Lin / Business Insider
Technology is moving at such a dizzying rate in the 21st century that a new groundbreaking development seems to always be just round the corner.
So far, Singapore has announced to the world its plans to become the world’s first “smart nation”, which means that Singaporeans will increasingly rely on technology for their everyday activities – even at home, when they are eating or sleeping.
As it is, many Singaporeans are already huge tech junkies with some of the highest Internet and social media penetration rates in the region.
Recently, smart-home technologies have also taken off, and many new housing developments (both private and public) now come with in-built technologies and artificial intelligence tools to help improve connectivity, convenience and security.
Now, there are even talks of including robots into the mix.
Qingjian Realty, one of the first developers to introduce smart-home technologies in their projects, gave its executive condominium The Visionaire a technology boost when it was launched in April last year.
Speaking to Business Insider ahead of the launch of Le Quest, a mixed-development in Bukit Batok, an executive of Qingjian said that food delivery robots are one of the technologies it is hoping to introduce by the time the project is completed in 2021.
While the developer is not yet certain if their research will pan out according to plan, the possibility of robots delivering food to residents from the Koufu food court on the first floor is pretty exciting.
Deputy general manager of Qingjian Realty (South Pacific), Yen Chong, who has over 12 years of experience in property, says the move towards smart-homes is not only inevitable, it also needs to be fast.
“In China (and in) Australia, they are already far more advanced than what we (have) right now… so we need to move our pace a little faster to catch up,” she tells Business Insider at the showflat of Le Quest, which will be launched on Aug 5.
“Currently, (smart-home tech) is not a ‘must’, but in future it will be a ‘need’,” she says, adding that property developers need to provide extra provisions which can add value to buyers’ investments.
A resident-exclusive mobile app introduced by the developer in earlier projects has proved popular with residents, Chong says.
The app, called HiLife, allows residents to book amenities, explore the area, pay their maintenance fees, report issues and also discuss and organise group events and excursions with their neighbours.
When HiLife was first introduced, Qingjian wasn’t sure if it would be well-received, Chong admits. But after conducting surveys and gathering feedback, the developer soon saw a huge potential in the app.
And as with all kinds of technology, smart-home tech needs to be continuously reviewed and refined to better suit its users’ needs.
“We are very willing to share with other people what problems we face, and what should be avoided,” she says.
Seeing how popular these developments have been, Qingjian now makes smart-home technologies a prerequisite for all of its properties.
Some of these “standard provisions” seen in the Le Quest project include things like smart doorbells, digital locks and smart air-conditioners.
Additionally, homebuyers can choose to purchase more smart-home options, such as window sensors and cameras. These sensors can alert homeowners to changes in weather, and when a window has been opened, a feature that Chong describes as an important safety boost for families with young children.
Some other technologies being explored include sleep sensors which can help homeowners monitor the health of their family members.
Not surprisingly, Singapore’s house-hunters seem to be equally excited about the inclusion of cutting-edge technologies in their everyday lives, and more and more property launches are boasting smart-home technologies that were unimaginable just 10 years ago.
Brace yourselves. Smart nation, here we come.