Apartments go high-tech to future-proof home technology
If you are building or renovating, you might learn a thing or two from some of our leading property developers and home technology specialists.
Their message is clear – future-proof for technology or be left behind.
Ras Jayawickrama of Schneider Electric says there are so many developments in the planning stages that developers are looking for a point of difference, and providing the very latest home technology and a sense of luxury are part of the picture.
"Buildings being completed in 2016 and 2017 need to be able to accommodate the technology trends we will be seeing in 2018, and they will be completely different. These projects will need to have the backbone in place within the infrastructure so new technology can be retrofitted."
"If the backbone is in place right from scratch, the technology can be scaled up easily at a later date. There is a mindset that such technology means big dollars, but this is not necessarily the case. There are many different levels, scales and solutions and different degrees of functionality."
"Some developers are planning for this now, because they understand that in three years time, if they try and sell without the right technology they won't meet the required price point."
Jayawickrama says interactivity is essential. Homeowners will need to be able to control every aspect of their their home technology, including, lighting, blinds, security and audiovisual equipment, from a smartphone. These systems, currently seen mostly in high-end homes, eventually will be commonplace for apartments of all sizes. This is largely due to the expectations of a younger generation of homeowners and tenants who have grown up with social media, tablets and smart phones.
"Electric vehicle chargers also need to be considered. We have 1200 electric cars on the road now, but that number is expected to increase to 60,000 by the year 2020. Already we are seeing some developers allocating a certain number of parking spaces for chargers."
Aesthetics are another critical factor. The "standard plastic light switch" has already been left behind. And don't expect to see any wires running across the floor. High-end apartments are wired for multi-room audiovisual systems.
Wynyard Central in Auckland, a massive development under way by Willis Bond & Co typifies the new approach. Project director Roger Twose says the apartments have been designed using state-of-the-art engineering, sustainability and technology principles to ensure they are future-proofed.
"The technology specification, including a fibre duct enabling high-speed broadband, is standard for every Wynyard Central residence," he says. "Apartment purchasers also have a choice of upgrade options, including a home automation system, which allows for the seamless control and automation of apartment systems using 'Internet of Things' technology, such as smartphones, tablets and computers – both locally and remotely."
Building-wide technology systems include a security system that's controlled and monitored via security card readers and CCTV coverage. "There's also an exclusive, residents' hybrid-powered car-sharing service; and a digitally enabled resident communications and updates system," says Twose.
Apartments are fully cabled for digital HDTV, with wall outlets in the main living area, master bedroom and any media room. And there's a fully integrated audiovisual package, which includes home theatre and a multi-zone, wireless audio system, pre-installed for high-quality video and audio entertainment.
The technology and sustainability go hand in hand. For energy efficiency, all lights can be turned on and off from a single master switch at the entrance to the apartment. And each apartment has the ability for 'smart' meter energy use to be monitored via the electricity retailer's proprietary web-based software.