Technology Shaping Functionality, Safety & Sustainability
The Schneider Electric Innovation Talk webinar presented a session that emphasized on smart home technology becoming new normal in the post-covid situation and the key in enabling green homes, buildings and cities.
Architect Dinesh Verma, Principal Architect & Managing Director, Ace Group Architects [P] Ltd was of the view that happy homes are the healthy homes. “Today we are looking at safety measures in homes not only from the climate and physical conditions, but also for social distancing in the current scenario. With most families being a nuclear family, technology has become a big part of wellbeing and safety and security. However, using technology in the correct way is also an important factor.”
Pooja Bihani, Founder & Principal Architect, Spaces & Design sharing her opinion commented, “If you have comfort at your fingertips definitely it will make life easy. Automation does not need to be very complex. It should be simple to operate, be at your fingertips and easily manageable through smartphones. The trend is more evident among the millennial homebuyers who are tech savvy and are inclined towards smart home automation. As designers we need to be ready to adopt such changes in our designs and manufacturers should offer user friendly products which are easy to use yet effective.”
According to Ar Divya Kush, Immediate Past President Indian Institute of Architects & Member Central Vista Committee, the comprehensive understanding of sustainability is very important while making policies. There are regular issues of education, awareness, incentives for sustainable architecture, design and development as also taking that to the people at the grassroots level and engaging them in policymaking. “United Nations programme has underlined 16 sustainable goals. If we understand all those goals comprehensively and come out with consolidated approach towards sustainable development it will work out in favour of the country.”
Rahul Dalvi, Co-Founder, Dalvi Associates added that sustainability is something that should be affordable and offer value for money. Through technology and IoT connected devices, it has become easier and affordable to save and manage resources. This is where retrofitting of existing homes and buildings can play a big role in driving sustainable green living.”
Kavita Sastry, Principal Architect, KS Design Studio felt that the present pandemic had brought the focus back on homes.” Given people are now spending more time at home for live work and play they are now looking at smart devices for multi-functionality of spaces and for convenience. In addition, architects and designers are becoming more aware of their responsibility towards Green designs and building sustainable structure.”
Nandan Mahale, Head, Wiser, Home & Distribution, Schindler Electric while agreeing that the most important question in present times is sustainability, also drew attention to the role technology can play in driving energy efficiency and efficiency in use of resources. “With the help of IoT we can collect data on the consumption patterns and the scope of savings. At Schneider we are working on how we can make home a smarter and more eco-friendly. With cost efficient systems and devices available today, we can make existing homes as smart as a new construction.”
Jayant Vaitha, Director & Head Design Services, Colliers concurred that technology is playing a big part in making cities and buildings and at a micro level even our homes safer, healthier and greener.
Globally and now in India as well, homeowners are using technology-driven networks to connect, control and monitor various appliances for their flexibility and safety.
THE NEED OF SMART AUTOMATION
Home automation systems are quite proven in terms of energy efficiency. You can use these to control or pre-program the temperature based on the time of day or day of week. Rahul Dalvi stating the importance of technology in our day to day lives said, “Nowadays everything is dependent on technology from smart water and electricity metering at homes to running metros and for smart city planning.”
Divya Khush while favouring a suitable use of smart devices to drive efficiencies also cautioned on over use of technology that may hamper human connect. “Technology is an enabler and should not be used as a crutch in our designs. Passive design elements can be enhanced with tech tools for going green.”
Dinesh Verma adde, “Next generation buildings will not only look smart but they will be intelligent too as they will study the occupants behavioural algorithms and function and respond accordingly.” Kavita Sastry shared, “Technology can be a curse or a blessing. It is up to us how we use it.”
Nandan Mahale explained, “Smart devices offer us data to process and alter consumption patterns to save energy, water and other precious resources. However, cyber security and internet connectivity infrastructure are some challenges that manufacturers and government are working to resolve as we move ahead towards smart city goals.”
Pooja Bihani agreed that “Technology enabled homes not only can create happy home through comfort and convenience but also contribute to society with efficient use of resources.”
Jayant Vaitha concluding the discussion shared that the biggest drivers for home automation are ease of living, energy efficiency and security. He said, the day is not far when our buildings will also be producing food with the help of smart technologies.”
Homes are set to get much smarter in the years to come evolving from voice assistants to remotely controlled doorbell, thermostat and appliances to wearable tech and connected cars.