Intelligent Homes to Go Mainstream in PH Soon, Experts Say

Thought leaders from various industries shared their forecasts on the future of homes during the virtual roundtable discussion organized by leading real estate partner Lamudi. Held last February 11, 2021, the theme of the online dialogue was The Rise of Intelligent Homes: Reshaping the Modern Filipino Home.

The panelists included Joey Bondoc, Associate Director for Research, Colliers International Philippines; Rouen Raz, Vice President for Sales and Marketing, DataLand; Janlo Delos Reyes, Head of Research and Consulting, JLL; Debbie A. Obias, Head of Business Development and New Business for Globe At Home Broadband Business, Globe Telecom; and Michelle T. Ysmael-Ora, Director, Head of Strategic Property Business Development, Globe Telecom.

Globe Telecom and Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA) were the official event partners, while ANC was the official broadcast media partner.

News anchor and executive producer at ANC Raine Musngi hosted the virtual discussion. 

Accelerated Digital Adoption

The panelists agreed that as the pandemic restricted human activities, the crisis sped up the digital transformation in the country. Confined to homes, people have adopted online technologies to maintain lifestyle routines–the youth on their virtual classes, professionals on teleconferencing channels, and households on grocery and banking apps and video streaming platforms.

Telecommunications companies, such as Globe, were compelled to step up services and accommodate the new normal needs of people. Obias believes that the changes brought by the pandemic, including learn-at-home, work-from-home, food and grocery deliveries, and online shopping, are here to stay long after the crisis. 

She noted, “The digital lifestyle will remain as people get used to it. For some, they would actually enjoy it because of its convenience.”

In the context of the real estate sector, she said that brokers and sellers can differentiate themselves from competitors using high-tech online innovations, such as virtual tours and contactless business transactions.

Internet as a Basic Need

According to Ysmael-Ora, fiber-ready infrastructure is crucial in building intelligent developments.

She said, “One of the game-changing things we have done so far with our partners is not just to have fiber-ready developments, but really ensure that it’s built in with broadband before it’s turned over to the unit owners.”

Obias emphasized this, sharing that internet connectivity is treated like electricity and water, basic essentials in unit offerings. For real estate players who aim to differentiate themselves from the market, Globe provides the option of installing intelligent home devices, including outlets, multipurpose sensors, and cameras.

Sharing a forecast on vertical developments, Raz said that empty nesters will likely prefer condo projects because of the rise of intelligent home features that make living easier.

According to Obias, home automation devices will soon be mainstream in Filipino homes.

Connectivity in Other Real Estate Segments

The panelists in the virtual discussion honed in on the influence of internet connectivity in the commercial, retail, and industrial real estate segments. 

Raz pointed out that more developers have been planning to introduce technologies in their projects. DataLand itself is looking at developing intelligent office towers to cater to the demands of the business market.

Meanwhile, in the retail sector, Bondoc noted that brick and mortar stores within the capital region are being converted into microwarehouses to accommodate the rising demand in e-commerce.

He said, “What mall operators have been doing now is they’ve been pivoting to what the market requires at this point, and that is having fulfillment centers within Metro Manila. After all, much of the [online shopping] deliveries are happening within Metro Manila.”

Meanwhile, Delos Reyes outlined the considerations of retail industry players when it comes to rationalizing spaces. He said that dependencies include changing consumer habits, number of customers adopting online shopping, and optimization of costs.

In-Demand Locations

Township developments, which offer easy access to essential establishments, continue to be appealing to the real estate market. 

Delos Reyes said, “Access to complementary developments [such as medical facilities, religious institutions, and open spaces] have always been a positive appeal to buyers even before the pandemic. What the pandemic has done is heighten the interest for these amenities within the community.”

For Globe’s part, Ysmael-Ora said that they look at next-wave cities when it comes to building technology infrastructure. She remarked that their company goes where property developers go.

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