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Demystifying smart living: A look at four common myths

1) It is only about the gadgets 2) It is just for the rich 3) It is only about safety and security 4) It is complex & reduces human interaction
Demystifying smart living
Demystifying smart living

For many, installing and using smart home or smart living solutions can be a daunting exercise. In most of the cases, this is because ‘smart’ is still not that well understood, leading to several myths around smart homes and smart communities and what constitutes smart living solutions. In this blog, we dispel some of the more common myths associated with smart living.

Myth #1: It Is Only About The Gadgets

When one uses the term ‘smart’, people automatically think about gadgets. It is quite common to believe that having a ‘smart’ gadget or device will solve all problems – whether it relates to reducing energy bills or providing secure living for residents. This could not be further from the truth. We are not suggesting that gadgets like smart meters don’t play a role in making people more energy conscious (they do) but just installing one is not a solution. Smart meters can provide easy access to usage data but it is upto users to take the appropriate action based on the information. This is the same for any smart solution. 

For example, smart gates and security cameras are a popular security measure in many residential societies. However, their effectiveness is reduced if they lack ways of properly identifying outsiders from residents. This is where you need human knowledge – to take a passive solution like gate management or video cameras and bring in some level of smartness to it. 

Take the case of energy meters – by themselves, they only provide raw usage data to users, which might not make much sense to the average person. But what if this data could be presented in terms of electricity costs accessible directly on the smartphone? This now becomes something easier to understand and act upon. So, just a new gadget or solution does not necessarily equate to smart living. What is needed are innovative ways of making the most out of it and this can only come with human involvement. 

Myth #2: Smart Living Solutions Are Just For The Rich

We strongly believe that smart living solutions are a great way to improve quality of life and enhance living standards around the world. We have seen this happen in our projects in Brazil and Italy, which are focused on affordable housing. So, it is incorrect to think of smart living as the privilege of the very rich. Perhaps, initially the cost of individual solutions might seem a bit higher than an average solution but one also has to consider the savings made over a period of time and these are not inconsiderable. At a community level, as one sees more adoption of smart solutions, the costs automatically come down because of economies of scale.

Myth #3:  Smart Living Is Only About Safety And Security

Nothing could be further than the truth. It is commonly seen that homeowners and even builders seem to think that home automation and security are the extent of what is possible under smart living. However, the concept of smart living goes well beyond this. 

For example, lighting in common areas and streets is an important area where automated solutions can help in better management of resources but it is seldom spoken about. Similarly, smart solutions can play an important role in responsible living through the management of gas and water but the awareness regarding this is still very low.

At Planet Smart City, we are taking a unique approach towards smart community with our Community Manager and Planet App. The Community Manager is a specially appointed representative who works alongside residents, helping them resolve daily issues. This is another way of taking smart community design beyond just technology and adding the human angle. We have seen that it has really helped improve the quality of life in our projects.

Myth #4: Smart Living Solutions Are Complex And Reduce Human Interaction

This thought stems from the general perception that smart solutions are restricted to automation, safety and energy management at a home or individual level. But smart living solutions have a huge role to play in fostering overall community interaction. In fact, the entire rationale behind smart living solutions is that they make life easy, self-managed and comfortable. This gives more time to residents to spend on social activities. For example, the Planet App enables residents to schedule carpools with other residents, borrow tools & other equipment through a Library Of Things, etc. This helps foster social interactions and further improve standard of living in the community. 

Mukund Deogaonkar,
Director,
Planet Idea India

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