Tuesday, 25 August 2015

India needs to quickly familiarise with the smart cities concept

With the focus of the government on creating smart cities across India, developers have to be prepared for rapid transformation.

At this juncture when the government’s focus is to build smart cities across India, we are entering into an exciting and critical phase in real estate development where we have to redesign our built environment. The smart city has a capability to transform the lives of residents as they are efficiently managed cities which increase the quality of life. These automated systems help save time and energy and make life easy and cost-effective for the residents. For India, the smart city concept is relatively new. It will take time to really create these cities as this would require a large amount of capital, planning and latest technology.

For countries like India, the starting point of building smart cities can be development of the smart building concept in India. Large funding through private investors and those abroad and supporting government policies will drive the business case for smart buildings in India.

Currently, the perception is that smart building technology is expensive and unique but markets can transform in a very short amount of time, with smart buildings quickly going from being unique to being standard practice.

The advantage of following smart building concept is that they can be considered as future-proofed assets. A smart building is energy-efficient and an operationally effective building that integrates major building systems on a common platform and shares information and functionality between systems. They use clean energy and emit less carbon emissions and thus can be referred to as ‘future-proofed’ against changing government policies and shifting tenant demands as tenants increasingly understand the benefits of smart buildings. Tenants who understand the benefits of smart buildings may prefer them over competing conventional stock. Good smart building performance can also be seen as an indicator of building quality, and a commitment to good management practices. Buildings that are more attractive to tenants can also enjoy stronger tenant retention and shorter lease up and vacancy periods.

Moreover, reduced costs, efficiency in energy and water consumption can reduce outgoings, which can either be retained or used to incentivise tenants. Given that it can be difficult to change the design of a new building once development is advanced, it is important to be prepared for a rapidly changing market.

For developers in India, knowledge can be money. Generally, learning more about innovative products takes time and developer has to go through a familiarisation process. Those who will invest in learning quickly will comprehensively find that dealing with smart buildings becomes easy with time and that they can actually drive down the costs of doing so and increase their returns. The expertise and depth of experience of their design and development team will be instrumental in managing costs for developers. The technologies and design approaches of smart buildings and their ability to perform in operation have now been demonstrated in various locations around the world.

With the focus of the government on creating smart cities across India, the businesses have to be prepared for rapid transformation. The shift to smart buildings has only just begun, and will now accelerate very quickly with pro-active government support. It is the time for forward-thinking developers and landlords to prepare themselves to lead, rather than follow, the change.

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