The smart home trend is becoming a reality in the UAE
Arada has become the first developer in the UAE to launch smart home technology as standard throughout a single project
Amazon.com acquired Ring, a manufacturer of video doorbells, in a deal valued at more than $1 bn in March this year. The acquisition, believed to be Amazon’s second biggest after it purchased Whole Foods last year for $13.5bn, is the latest in a string of moves that signal the company’s ambitions to enter new markets and sectors.
Amazon’s control in the smart homes sector strengthened with this deal as it already had the Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant. The Ring acquisition also increases Amazon’s firepower to compete with Google’s Alphabet Inc. which acquired Nest Labs for $3.2bn strengthening its own home automation unit in 2014.
This demonstrates the potential in businesses such as Ring, and the value it commands in the market. Similarly Google’s Nest Thermostat is being considered as a key component in smart homes.
Nest manufactures smart-home security fields and smart thermostats, smoke detectors and security cameras that work with both Google and Amazon’s virtual assistants.
In August, Ring announced a collaboration with Hitches and Glitches (H&G), a home maintenance company which is part of the Farnek Group, which would see H&G retail Ring products via its online store and install the smart home security products in residential communities in the UAE.
We are also witnessing the buy-in from developers in Arada’s $6.53bn (AED24bn) megaproject, Aljada in Sharjah.
The Arada Smart Home technology will be introduced in every unit of the luxury Misk Apartments buildings in the 24 million square foot city, providing benefits and energy cost savings to homeowners.
In the process, Arada has also become the first developer in the UAE to launch smart home technology as standard throughout a single project, it claims. The smart home system will allow buyers access to a number of features, ranging from remote front-door access and 24-hour video security through their mobile phones, to the ability to amend temperature and lighting, as well as managing utilities.
Homeowners will also be able to switch to their favourite mood lighting, enable motion sensors within their apartments, and open and close blinds and curtains remotely. Each of these features can also be controlled by voice activation as well. Arada is adding this new technology to each unit free of charge and it will be operated by a centrally managed and well secured building monitoring system.
In November last year, Ring launched the Ring Video Doorbell 2 in the Middle East. While, Google launched the Nest Thermostat in the UAE last month for $272 (AED999)
According to a survey initiated by the British Institute of Facilties Management (BIFM), 57% respondents have said that automation will benefit data management. But going against the grain, 40% of the respondents feel that resistance to change will be the biggest disadvantage of automation in FM.
While developers such as Arada have taken a quantum leap, the ball is well and truly in the court of the FM sector that deems itself ready to take on a project such as this. With technology proving to be not only an enabler for change, and in many aspects forcing it, then without doubt only those organisations that can adapt will survive.