User habits and preferences prohibit greater smart home adoption: i-Neighbor

User habits and preferences prohibit greater smart home adoption: i-Neighbor
Despite the advance of smart technologies, residents’ resistance to change use habits and preferences remain to be an obstacle for universal adoption, according to smart apartment enablers.

Malaysia-based i-Neighbor has rolled out smart solutions tailor-made for apartment buildings over the past three years. In an apartment that has as many as 400 households, not everyone is necessarily enthusiastic about adopting new technologies, said Aiden Teh, Business Development Manager at i-Neighbor.

i-Neighbor’s app solution has more than 20 functionalities including visitor registration, facility booking and e-polling. It can also serve as an access card for elevator entry and garage entry. Some people, especially the elderly, may find the app hard to use. In such case, an access card may be provided as an alternative to the app, Teh said.

However, to ensure security and smart services, both software and hardware are required. And this is where i-Neighbor’s strength lies. Its parent company FingerTec has been making security products like smart locks and fingerprint recognition devices for 18 years, with distribution channels in multiple countries. All the hardware are controllable via i-Neighbor’s mobile app.

With the parent company’s backing, i-neighbor has invested 5 million Malaysian dollar over the past three years on hardware and software development, and its solutions are available in 12 languages, Teh pointed out.

One thing that i-Neighbor is working on is automating the garage system to allow for visitor parking. Another one is video intercom on the app, so homeowners may view guests at the door, but the not the other way around. The new feature is set to be launched between March and April.

Southeast Asia has potential

Joel Liu, Vice President of HomeScenario, a Taiwan-based company that focuses on enabling smart buildings, pointed out that smart technologies are getting popular among new apartment buildings. However, he also noted that user habits and overall trends cannot be changed easily, referring to the overall smart home adoption. “Not even the biggest companies in the world can do that,” Liu said.

Liu believes Southeast Asia has good potential, thanks to the region’s willingness to accept new technologies. Talking about the home market Taiwan, Liu said although Taiwan has a much smaller population, it is more stable. “Taiwan is comparatively conservative, and builders are not always seeking the newest technologies.” But the upside is that the market is not as volatile.

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