While the digital revolution changed the way we work, go about our days, and communicate, it has also infiltrated the real estate sector. One of the most remarkable innovations that have emerged from the digital revolution is the Internet of Things (IoT), which has been swooping the headlines over the past couple of years, alongside blockchain, big data, and artificial intelligence – changing our understanding and experience of how we live in our homes, forever.
How is IoT changing homes?
In your home, you may have a device or more that is considered ‘smart’. The Internet of Things takes it up a notch by allowing devices to ‘speak’ to each other through the internet, going as far as acting automatically upon you entering the house.
For example, you can replace your alarm with your curtains. They can automatically open slowly in the morning once the sun is out, making it easier for you to wake up during your natural sleep cycle; as soon as you leave your bed, your coffee can begin brewing downstairs, while your heater turns on automatically in preparation for your morning shower.
This is just a small example of how your home is upgraded with the IoT. Your fridge can also remind you through a notification on your phone that you “need eggs”.
The IoT, essentially, is a network wherein devices can ‘speak’ to each other online, and this includes mobiles, cars, buildings, and generally any device that can be embedded within a software to collect and apply data.
More applications of IoT in real estate
- Predictive maintenance. With the IoT, devices in homes can sense when they need maintenance before any complications occur, notifying tenants of leakage or routine checkups. This is quite similar to sensors in cars that notify drivers of any required oil change.
In fact, tenants can expect to be notified on their phones, schedule maintenance appointments, and pay in one go – clearing their mind off the headache of maintenance.
- Tight security. Thanks to real-time surveillance and the integration of all devices, the IoT enables a quick and advanced emergency response system.
- Energy efficiency. Lights are not switched on all the time, let alone all other electricity-powered devices, unless they are deliberately used. Unlike manually switching devices on and off, the IoT allows devices to automate this process and switch off automatically when not used, decreasing electricity bills and offering a more energy-efficient home!
- Data analytics. For retailers, the IoT can gather data and identify customers and visitors based on their footpath and movements, categorizing them into “buyers” and “browsers”, which is useful is analyzing and collecting data for operations.
For tenants, this means a more enhanced and holistic experience of their home, as their devices can automatically switch on according to the tenants’ routine.
- Space design. Tenants and homeowners can receive recommendations on how to design their home in a more efficient manner that is based on data of their daily habits, from food consumption, favourite devices, to health statistics.
In an illustration by Deloitte, the IoT enhances homes by:
- Identifying, tracking and learning about the preferences and habits of tenants
- Offering comfort and convenience through a customized home experience
- Allowing tenants to use and control home systems and devices remotely
- Providing high-level security through real-time monitoring and instant notifications
- Saving money for landlords and tenants by reducing utility costs and predicting maintenance checkups
All in all, the IoT is offering a truly holistic experience for homeowners and changing the expectations of buyers from the real estate industry. In all applications of life, more consumers are expecting a personalized and customized user-experience, from retail shopping, to home-living, and education.
For real estate companies, this means getting on the bandwagon as soon as possible, as the IoT is here to stay – for good.
 Deloitte, Smart buildings: How IoT technology aims to add value for real estate companies, The Internet of Things in the CRE industry