Smart technology was once very rare and very luxurious, but today, it’s becoming the new normal. The world changed drastically in the past 10 years alone, and new technologies are popping up every day trying to help manage and maintain a high level of comfort in our lives. While smartphones are the new norm in the cellular phone industry, there are also smart TVs, stoves, washing machines and lighting, so our homes are becoming more and more connected and adapted to our needs. Now, smart technology is spreading further, into our cities, creating a whole new concept—a smart city. What is it and how it’s changing the real estate landscape?
What is a Smart City?
Smart cities have the aim to create more urbanized, more tech-savvy settlements, with drones, autonomous vehicles and robots roaming our streets and helping residents in their day-to-day life. Future cities are being built to make our lives more comfortable through smart energy (something we have already since we can control our HWAC system with our phones), smart buildings, smart transport, healthcare, governance, education, etc.
When we’re talking about real estate, smart buildings have the biggest impact on the industry, since buyers, especially Millennial buyers, are very interested in living in such modern, smart and eco-conscious dwellings.
What does it mean for the industry?
Smart buildings, thanks to their inter-connectedness, have the power to reduce energy requirements, perform preventive maintenance and minimize operating costs. Thanks to various sensor technologies that can track information and automatically analyze it, flaws and insufficiencies in the system can be reduced quickly and easily. According to experts and analysts, smart buildings can reduce costs and boost efficiency by up to 20% in the first year!
When it comes to real estate, this cost reduction carries great profit. Additionally, the biggest benefit comes from the enthusiasm of eco-friendly people (buyers, renters and businesses) to invest in such smart structures that will provide them with minimal costs and minimal carbon footprint. The industry needs to keep up with the demand and stay up-to-date with changes and new futuristic properties.
What does it mean for the residents?
Investors see the clear benefits of the smart cities, but how about the residents? One of the best features of such dwellings is the smart electric grid that allows users to measure their power consumption and pay their bills online. Additionally, this smart electric grid can be turned on and off as you need, so you can easily cut off power to your house when traveling to reduce running costs.
Next, we have smart lighting. City lighting is always problematic since it’s so hard to control and program to fit the residents’ needs. However, with smart LED options for streets and roads, we have lighting with presence control, daylight sensors and various other systems that enhance the flow of people and vehicles. Low energy consumption, durability and minimal maintenance are also included.
Thanks to smart water management, smart cities provide each resident with a necessary amount of water while reducing wastage. Water theft is eliminated with security systems and any leakage can be immediately located and resolved. Additionally, cooking gas is supplied directly to your home, also equipped with leakage detection for quick damage correction.
Residents also don’t have to worry about security. Smart cities have the best security management systems in place equipped with HD CCTV cameras, license plate recognition and even face recognition for maximum safety.
Should you invest?
Smart cities are a great opportunity for investors. Right now, real estate prices in smart cities are reasonable, since everything is still in its early stages of development, but the potential for price appreciation is very high. However, one must be cautious.
If you’re a buyer with a short investment horizon, you need to know that smart city projects are still in their implementation stage and it will take several years before they become fully functional. It’s also important to rely on on-ground realities instead of promises. But, if you’re looking to invest in something that will bring you income in the long run, smart cities might be just the thing for you.
The real estate world should and will soon embrace smart city solutions which will create a true revolution in the industry. Millennial buyers (and the future generations) are already showing enthusiasm to become a part of this new movement thanks to all the interesting features of a smart city. One is for certain, the industry needs to move forward and keep up with the changes that will arise in the future.
Lilly Miller is a Sydney-based graphic designer and a passionate writer. Loves everything about home decor, art history and baking. Shares home with two loving dogs and a gecko named Rodney.