As if dominating the smartphone market wasn’t enough, Samsung looks set to take a smarter, better experience right into your home. The electronics giant announced today that it would be launching a tie-up with Singapore-based real estate company CapitaLand, in order to trial prototypes of “smart” homes of the future.
Imagine waking up in the morning not only to the sound of your alarm clock, but also to the smell of fresh-brewed coffee — because your coffee-maker started up as soon as your clock rang. Instead of having to check your phone, a glance into your mirror-cum-display screen as you dress will furnish you with all the news updates you need. Such a home that intelligently caters to your every need may sound too futuristic — and too awesome — to be true, but the future is coming to our tiny island with CapitaLand’s serviced apartments — as early as the first half of next year.
In fact, if you’ve been following Singapore’s Smart Nation push closely, you might have predicted that smart homes were just a skip and a hop away. Less than two weeks ago, CapitaLand’s luxury serviced residence business, The Ascott Limited (Ascott), announced its partnership with Samsung to bring smart serviced residences to life. With just their smartphones, guests at Ascott Singapore will soon be able to control devices like their air-cons and robot cleaners, even if they’re outside their rooms or in another country.
Similarly, February saw local developer Qingjian Realty disclosing their tie-up, once again with Samsung, to turn an executive condominium in Sembawang into smart houses. It looks like tech giant Samsung is hellbent on bringing smart homes to us Singaporeans — whether we like it or not.
Naturally, there’re a myriad of concerns to do with privacy and security. That beautiful dream of a smart home that we envisioned earlier can be easily shattered by one malicious hacker. Like our computers, the connected devices in our houses are all too vulnerable to being attacked — witness this tech expert’s terrifying account of hacking into strangers’ houses and controlling appliances like lights, televisions and doors remotely.
Then there’s the fact that our smart-home devices will certainly store data — sensitive data from what time we sleep to when we leave our houses. As others have pointed out, this personal information can be a goldmine for advertisers, yet the thought of it certainly seems uncomfortably invasive.
Until smart homes finally come to our sunny island, we can’t truly predict their impact. But their arrival isn’t a question of if, but when: as CapitaLand president Lim Ming Yan pointed out in a Straits Times interview, “If we don’t embrace change, we will be bypassed.” I must admit that that sounds pretty depressing, but all it means is that the future is coming to our doorstep, and Singapore will adapt — as it always has.
All things considered, there’s no telling what amazing benefits smart homes might bring to our lives. Personally, I’m ready for all those self-brewing cups of coffee.