What will apartment living look like in 2025? As a security company specialising in security systems for high-rise residential developments for over 35 years, we briefly share our thoughts on the developments we may see – from potential applications of artificial intelligence to the harnessing of natural energy – and what the future may hold for the apartment living landscape from a security and automation point of view.
As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to develop and become more prevalent in modern society, we often wonder how such technology may be used to change the face of apartment living. We know that such technology may be adapted to provide an improvement in security and the resident experience both in terms of the security system itself as well as the ways in which residents access building facilities and services offered on the grounds. From an external building perspective, AI can potentially allow for the security system to respond and undertake certain actions when a resident leaves and arrives home. Through license plate readers, there is the potential for the system to detect that a resident has arrived home and call a lift to their parking level, which then automatically takes the resident to their apartment level while simultaneously activating the programmed welcome scene in the apartment, i.e. the way the resident has asked for their apartment to effectively “present” when they walk through the door (as discussed below), and vice versa when the resident leaves. Similarly, the system may also be able to capture the presence of a visitor accompanying the resident and, should they also live in the building, log their entry into the security system.
The potential applications of AI to the residential apartment landscape are not limited to the external building structure and common areas. Within an apartment in itself, there are opportunities for AI to be used to manage a large part of the day to day, for instance, from when the lights are to switch on and off and the intensity of the dim function, to the temperature inside the apartment and when the shades are to be lifted and lowered. An AI system could even allow for a resident’s favourite music to be played when they wake up. Features like these make for added comfort and provide a little bit of luxury – another selling point for the developer and an attractive added benefit for the buyer.
More broadly, the security intercom systems that we know today could also be used to do much more than facilitate and monitor access to a building. With the advancements in technology that we have seen, the adoption of popular operating systems such as android systems, and the inherent adaptability and ability of such systems to the FIBRE network, the simple intercom can turn into a multidimensional platform where features can be added and customised as necessary. For example, there is scope for the intercom system to act as a help point via AI to indicate where building facilities are located and act as a public bulletin board to advise residents of various events, including fire tests. Such systems can also be used to book communal spaces such as the theatre and BBQ area, provide users with up to the minute public transport information, and can also form valuable real estate for advertisers where ads for the developer’s upcoming projects to ads for the offerings of local specialty stores, can be screened.
Inside the apartment, the intercom operating system already offers an interface to connect all services to provide a centralised point of control and be able to monitor energy usage. While it may be a while before the wall mounted monitor is done away with, it is not inconceivable to imagine a smart replacement which offers the same functionality, but is controlled via a gesture instead of touch. Alternatively, there may be an opportunity to tap into the current widespread use of smart devices which would allow for local and remote system control via phones, tablets and wearables. The mere fact that many people carry their devices with them almost all the time, makes such devices ideal access credentials which can be used to gain entry to the building lobby, lifts and other permissible areas by using low power communications such as Bluetooth and Near Field Communications.
Biometric technology is another area which we may also see translate into the residential apartment market. Depending on the level of security deemed necessary, the norm may become access via fingerprint, face, palm or eye readers in the years to come. While fingerprint access may be the most cost-effective and popular biometric type solution at the moment, the advancements in Video Management Systems and their adaption of AI along with their integration via ‘high level’ (the interaction of two or more systems using data connections), in place of ‘low level’ integration, increases the programmable functions possible and, therefore, the use of facial recognition and other forms may also become more commonplace. While such readers are not without their own set of pros and cons, the use of biometrics can provide areas of high traffic with the ability to grant access in an efficient manner while also offering the higher level of security associated with all biometric options – an inability to borrow security credentials.
Energy is another topic that is often talked about and particularly so in the modern day where there is a push for buildings to become greener. With the ever-increasing cost of energy and the advances being made in the way we are able to harness natural energy, apartment buildings of the future may look towards relying on solar or wind power to power a portion of the building services such as lighting, lifts, and cooling towers. The same may also be true for apartments themselves with the possibility of installing solar panels on balconies or otherwise, which could go a long way in helping apartment buildings of the future become more sustainable and self-sufficient from an energy perspective, and is another benefit for both the developer and buyer.
The more that there is a demand for apartment living, the more likely it is that such complexes will become more self-sufficient in other areas too, for example, in providing residents access to necessary goods and services without needing to leave home. Many developments currently include supermarkets, shopping malls, or smaller speciality stores and this trend is likely to grow with residential developments evolving into “mini cities” with hotel or resort style services, which form a significant part of the lifestyle offering. Taking this a step further, there is also potentially the scope for such services to be made accessible via a cloud platform to facilitate online grocery shopping, to make a reservation at the restaurant downstairs, to book a cleaning service or dog walking service to name a few. This platform can learn the likes and habits of each user much the same as a movie or TV program streaming service learns a user’s favourite genres and provide suggestions. Similarly, this platform could allow for advertising tailored to a user’s perceived interests. The possibilities are endless.
While we can continue to speculate on what is possible for the future of apartment living to ad nauseum, the only thing we know for certain is that technology moves fast. It is therefore important for security companies and those involved in the design and development of residential apartment buildings to keep abreast of the changes in technology and look at ways of integrating new ideas with existing product solutions, and make changes to their offering where need be, to continually remain relevant, stay competitive and keep up with consumer demand.
Jordan Vlotis | Product Development
Urmet Group in Australia
T: +61 2 8585 0700