The availability of intelligent devices in Filipino homes will largely rely on a strong fiber infrastructure in buildings. This was among the key insights experts raised in the recently concluded Lamudi roundtable discussion titled The Rise of Intelligent Homes: Reshaping the Modern Filipino Home.
The panelists from telecommunications giant Globe emphasized the importance of laying down a tech network even before the first resident moves in.
“The infrastructure needs to be fiber so that all the other intelligent building solutions will become available to the residents and end-users,” Michelle Ysmael-Ora, Head of Strategic Property Business Development of Globe Telecom said.
According to Debbie Obias, Head of Business Development and New Business for Globe At Home Broadband Business, internet services should be treated as basic essentials. “It’s exactly like electricity and water. When you buy a unit, you already have [these necessities]. It’s a must that even the internet connectivity should be there,” she explained.
Towards High-Tech Homes
As infrastructure becomes more advanced, experts believe that the residential real estate market will grow interested in sophisticated tech solutions. The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation, with almost all human activities done with the assistance of technology, from remote work to distance learning to shopping for necessities and luxuries.
“These may be indicators that we’re progressing into this new era of connectivity. We should all be ready for that,” Obias emphasized.
She added, “In the near future, we see people using voice assistants, like the Alexa or the Google Home, which could aid us in our day-to-day needs.”
These voice-activated devices can form part of the ordinary Filipino home in the future, according to Obias. However, she shared that they should “go beyond novelty” and accommodate the real felt needs of the property market to achieve mainstream status.
At present, a few luxury developments in the country feature built-in intelligent devices.
Early Adopters, Real Winners
Citing the year-end trend report Lamudi published titled Hotspots Unwrapped: 2020’s Most Popular Locations, Obias noted that millennials are the most active segments of the property market, saying that these are digitally-savvy property seekers. They may drive the demand for intelligent homes in the new normal.
Meanwhile, according to Rouen Raz, Vice President for Sales and Marketing of DataLand, intelligent devices in residential spaces will be beneficial for empty nesters.
He projects that senior folks may consider living in condominiums in the new normal, as the residential spaces offer convenience and comfort. Amenities, such as elevators and gardens, as well as property management services will be appealing to this market segment.
Globe has been stepping up its digital services in the last years to accommodate varying market preferences.
“One of the game-changing things we have done so far with our partners is not just to have fiber-ready developments, but ensure that it’s also built in with broadband before it’s turned over to the unit owners,” Ysmael-Ora shared.
Obias added that they bundle these broadband services with other tech solutions, including intelligent devices, to further support the connectivity needs of modern homeowners.
According to a report from Inquirer, 7.4 billion home connected devices were estimated to be active in 2020. Analyst house Juniper Research forecasted that market consumption could reach 13.5 billion in 2025.
Intelligent entertainment devices, including speakers, televisions, and video game consoles represent the largest number of connected technologies. The category will contribute an estimated $230 billion in revenue in 2025.
Home automation features are expected to increase to 3.9 billion active devices. The devices are under the categories of smart locks and connected lightbulbs.
PH’s Internet Connectivity
The country’s internet connection speed posted a 14-notch increase in Ookla Speedtest Global Index, according to Business Mirror.
The average mobile internet speed in December 2020 stood at 22.50 megabits per second (Mbps), higher than the 18.49 recorded in the month prior. The 4 Mbps difference was the highest monthly increase since July 2016.
Out of the 50 Asian countries, the Philippines ranked 29th from its previous 34th place. In the Asia-Pacific region, composed of 46 countries, it slid into 18th place from being 22nd.
The government has beefed up efforts to accelerate approvals in the construction of telco towers since last year to improve internet speed and support the growing need for connectivity in the new normal.