Forget the white picket fence and meet electrified perimeters. Lakshmi Krupa looks at today's high-tech homes

Over four layers of security, Wi-Fi, piped music, smart phone and tablet controls for all your switches... Housing projects, particularly in the high-end luxury segment, have begun to increasingly feature ‘intelligent’ solutions. Industry insiders say it isn’t just a status statement, but also reflects advanced comfort, security and convenience; that these offer tangible solutions to common worries. How often do you leave home only to wonder if you left a switch on or whether the door is locked? With a remote automated locking system, you can lock the door or switch the light off from wherever you are, even while you are at work. That’s what these homes offer.

Smart value-adds

Analysts say that technology adds to the overall value of the project. “Technology is an intrinsic part of modern homes, and buyers are checking if the house suits their technology and entertainment needs. Updating electronics and appliances in a home increases its marketability, makes it more attractive and increases the overall home value,” says Kalpana Murthy, Associate Director, Residential Services, Cushman & Wakefield. She adds that thoughtfully selected home appliances also add value, saving the harried owners from having to buy these themselves.

High-end options

So what kind of tech are homes offering today? Think fibre optics, green technology, automated security, high-speed Internet, temperature control, solar power… and the list is growing. In high-end projects, there need to be some really fancy differentiators and that’s where these smarts come in. V.S. Suresh, CMD, Real Value Promoters, says, “We have over three to four levels of security in our luxury projects and if you don’t belong on a floor you can’t even access it unless someone living on the floor invites you there. That’s the kind of privacy and safety these projects offer.”

Besides one-touch control, homes today come with mood lighting and the option to check and lock all your doors remotely with the help of tablets and smart phones that are all wired in to connect you to your home at all times. “Home owners can even change the colour of the lights, besides dimming and brightening with these controls. Even home theatre systems are brought into the ambit of centralised access,” says Suresh.

What if you have already moved into a home and want to retro-fit tech options? “Even a 100-year-old home can be completely automated,” says Vikas Gowrisetty, Managing Partner of Hyderabad-based Awicon Technologies, which offers what it calls ‘an operating system for your home’. The device can sit on top of any device and be integrated wirelessly, says Gowrisetty. There are light control systems, and audio and video distribution systems that let you select, watch and control all your media sources. This reduces clutter. “You can even use your mobile phone to control these,” he adds.

Gaurav Goenka of Adriot offers high-end technology such as video entry telephones and piped music. An upcoming venture in Nungambakkam has burglar alarms, centralised high definition DTH, CCTVs and split AC for all rooms. Goenka believes that such features are essential in luxury homes as customers make security a high priority. As Murthy says, “Technology complements a home’s overall look and feel.”

Several upcoming projects in the city and suburbs have ‘smart’ plans in the pipeline.

For instance, George D. Cherian of Raj Waterscape in his upcoming project Buckingham Gardens on ECR plans to include remote controlled garage doors, perimeter electrified fence, intelligent building management systems, home automation, and acoustically treated home theatre-cum-family room.

The True Value Homes project in Adyar plans to offer an intelligent home system with iPad/iPhone controls among others.

Clearly, it’s the machine age where homes are concerned.