Smart Homes Catching On In India

Indian homes are becoming smart. Home automation technology is not just confined to high net worth individuals, but is slowly becoming a part of the everyday life of the average Indian.

More and more Indians are warming up to the idea of living in fully automated smart homes. Though the housing sector in the country is witnessing a boom period, the bulk apartment builders are still waiting for this trend to catch on. Meanwhile, smart homes remain a domain of the niche builders in the metros.

According to Vipul Jain, chief executive officer of Unique Infoways, a Delhi-based firm that installs home automation systems created by Creston, of the United States, it costs about $25,000 to automate a house with four to five bedrooms. There are other suppliers of such equipment, too, such as China’s Advantech and American-based Lutron.

Finger-tip control

“With the number of working couples on the rise, automated home solutions have become the need of the hour. Since we live in a digital age, it is only natural that some solutions need to be available at the tip of your finger,” says Emmanuel Contagel, general manager of the French home product company Somfy Ltd.

According to market observers, the home automation market in India is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30 percent. Smart e-Homes have arrived in India, particularly in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, albeit for selected strata of the society. Future homes and offices will see a large part of the manual functioning done automatically by computer systems. Though the market was previously gripped largely by the notion that smart home products were only for the elite, awareness of the products available in the market has been growing over the last few years.

Global majors are eyeing this market. Though companies such as Honeywell Security have been in the global home automation business during the last 20 years, the company launched its home systems business in India only in 2006. Legrand India, subsidiary of the Legrand group based at Limoges, France, manufacturer of electrical installation and information network products, has been in the smart home products space in the country since 2003.

New-age customers

According to Legrand India sources, the new-age customer prefers security products, home automation products, mood-lighting and scenario products, and remotes as well as products that can be controlled through a mobile phone or computer. A smart home networks the entire range of utility services including water, electricity, security and appliances on an automated platform that may be linked to a telephone or the Internet for the convenience of the occupant.

Some say that the climate is a major consideration in India and only an intelligent home can reap the benefits of Indian climate—by using sunlight as an alternative source of energy and electronic gadgets to control the harmful spin-offs of Indian climatic extremes.

However, the bottom line is that home automation has begun in India. Indians have a very long way to go where intelligent homes are concerned, but the concept is catching on.

About the author

Uday Lal Pai, udaylalpai@gmail.com, is a freelance journalist based in India.

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