Complex Made Simple

Property boom fuels smart home growth

As the real estate sector in Dubai booms, so do associated businesses. One sector currently enjoying good growth on the back of the property frenzy is high-end consumer electronics, particularly for top of the range entertainment systems and smart homes.

While the prices of homes, particularly those aimed at executives, rockets, so do the expectations of how they are presented and kitted out.

People now expect that if they are spending in the high millions of dirhams for a place to live, it comes with the latest in gadgets and comforts.

This ranges from smart systems that allow owners to control the ambient conditions of their home from the touch of a keypad, to the best in home cinema and entertainment systems.

Companies in Dubai have started to cater for this growing market, not just through walk-in customers in their showrooms, but also through deals signed with developers.

And, with so many wealthy customers on their doorsteps, often this means integrating the best in class products to build a system, and it is not unusual for people to spend upwards of $50,000 at a time.

Latest home systems

Karim Zaki, CEO of home entertainment solution provider Archimedia, says that real estate is driving the growth, and with rooms often bigger in this region, it provides more scope to include the very latest in home systems.

‘We cater to new homes and if there is a home being built, we plan any system that a customer is interested in, from the building phase of that house. We work with developers that are concerned with the quality of system in their project.

‘We look for the developers that are doing something a little more exclusive for the home owner.’

Another area pushing this growth is the desire to reduce energy consumption, and again that is being tackled at the high end digitally, through home automation systems.

Archimedia is designing and installing the smart home control systems in the 96 villas in Sanctuary Falls on the Jumeirah Golf Estates. What it will mean for owners is that, when they move in, they will not need to walk from room to room to open or close curtains, alter the lighting, change the room temperature, or access audio or video from different rooms, because it can all be done digitally via touch screen pads.

Environmentally friendly

Apart from the ease and time-saving benefits this gives the home owner, it also means they can be far more precise about how much lighting or air conditioning is used throughout the day, saving energy as well.

Walid Abdulmoti, marketing and communication manager at Eon, said this is driving more sales among consumers and developers. ‘Everyone is talking about global warming and saving energy, so we are developing energy management products.’

Early this year, Eon signed a deal with Fakhruddin Properties to kit out its Grand Lagoons and Maimoon Towers in Dubai with home automation systems. It wanted these because ‘demand for state of the art smart-home enabled apartments in Dubai has risen’, the company said.

Owners will get technologies to alter the mood lighting, the ability to stream audio and video around their home, security camera surveillance, remote access to home systems, and environmental controls.

Equally though, these systems have to target their core market. While people want home cinemas or top of the range sound systems – and the ability to stream it to different rooms – it has to be easy to use. ‘We select the best brands in each category, because these systems need to be easy for the home owner to use. Our customers are wealthy and they like to keep it simple,’ says Zaki.

And often, that means appealing to the women of the home every bit as much as the men, who are usually enamoured of the technology. ‘It is one of the most important elements – to get the lady to like the room from an aesthetics perspective.’

And, with oil driving wealth in the region, Zaki believes the demand for home entertainment and automation systems will rise not just in the UAE, but across the GCC.