Interconnected, Intelligent Communities See More Demand

Mixed-use estates have seen great demand even prior to the pandemic. However, the health crisis, coupled with travel restrictions and quarantine measures, emphasized its importance. Now, with the increased shift to digitalization, experts observe that property seekers are looking not just for integrated townships, but also interconnected communities.

This was one of the points raised in the latest Lamudi roundtable discussion titled The Rise of Intelligent Homes: Reshaping the Modern Filipino Home.

According to Joey Bondoc, Associate Director of Research of Colliers International Philippines, more people are after homes equipped with internet connectivity. 

He shared, “There’s now a greater need for house and lot projects or condo projects to have a good internet connection because we’re now doing this large work-from-home experiment. It’s important for homes to have stable, reliable internet connection.”

Intelligent communities, referring to those powered by the internet of things, are more in-demand, according to Bondoc.

The Rise of a Digital Lifestyle

The discussion panelists emphasized that since people were confined to their homes during the pandemic, different aspects of life became heavily influenced by technologies.

“You see our kids doing learn-from-home, online classes. We have been doing Zoom meetings at home with our colleagues. On weekends, we just stay at home, watching Netflix, Amazon Prime, everything that we can find online,” Michelle Ysmael-Ora, Head of Strategic Property Business Development of Globe Telecom, explained.

Debbie Obias, Head of Business Development and New Business for Globe At Home Broadband Business, added that grocery shopping, medical consultations, and retail selling adopted digitalization as well. 

She likewise noted the increased use of mobile banking platforms. Over P1 trillion in transactions were made in the GCash app last year.

Obias believes that these norms will stay. She explained, “These changes in people’s lives have made them realize how technology has made our lives easier.” 

Work-from-home, distance learning, online shopping, telehealth consultations, and mobile payments will form part of the new normal. Video streaming, for one, may replace free television, according to Obias.

The convenience that digital platforms offer will be the primary driving force for the new normal of the digital lifestyle. It will propel the demand for interconnected, intelligent communities moving forward.

Digitalization in Real Estate

Technology-powered communities will rely mostly on the Internet of Things (IoT), a network of connected technologies, moving forward in the new normal. The panelists in the roundtable discussion mentioned that luxury properties and millennial property owners already use a number of home automation devices. This includes connected speakers.

“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,” Obias explained.

Intelligent features can elevate certain property developments from competitors. According to Ysmael-Ora, the internet-ready infrastructure is supposed to be the baseline of real estate projects, while the built-in connectivity is the differentiating factor. Future-ready features will help promote the developer’s brand equity and make properties more attractive to the market.

For this reason, Globe highlighted the importance of collaboration between the real estate industry and the telco firms. High-tech development projects that cater to the new normal demands of property owners would help “grow the intelligent home segment,” according to Obias.

On a grander scale, the real estate sector has already been undergoing digitalization beyond the actual property offerings. Developers and brokers have been introducing virtual tours and Youtube videos to showcase products during the pandemic. Property management teams have adopted apps to streamline services.

The Urgency of Strong Internet Infrastructure

Anticipating the fast adoption of high-tech, intelligent features in the real estate market, the panelists in the roundtable discussion highlighted the importance of strong, reliable connectivity facilities. The continued improvement of internet infrastructure is a positive development. 

In the latest report from GMA News Online, the Philippines jumped 10 spots in the global mobile internet speed rankings in January this year. From 111th rank in Ookla, it placed 86th. Meanwhile, the 100th ranking in the fixed broadband global average category was maintained. 

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said that the speedup of approval on telco tower permits contributed to the improvement of internet services. 

The agency, along with the National Telecommunications Commission, holds bi-monthly meetings with telecom operators to monitor the progress of network roll-out plans and to solve issues that would trigger delays in implementation.

Sources: Globe, GMA News Online

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