CapitaLand ties up with Samsung for 'smart' home trial

In the "smart" home of the future, people will be able to get weather forecasts and traffic alerts from the moment they wake up, through mirrors that are also display screens. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 
In the "smart" home of the future, people will be able to get weather forecasts and traffic alerts from the moment they wake up, through mirrors that are also display screens. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 

IN THE "smart" home of the future, people will be able to get weather forecasts and traffic alerts from the moment they wake up, through mirrors that are also display screens.

As the alarm clock rings, other household appliances will also automatically kick into action, such as coffee-makers that will have a brew waiting for them.

Kitchens will have display screens that can suggest healthful recipes. If the home owner approves, they can even connect to supermarkets or websites to order the ingredients for the dishes.

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While this future home may sound fanciful, some of these ideas may be tested in Singapore soon.

Mr Lim Ming Yan, president and group chief executive of CapitaLand, one of Asia's largest real estate companies, told The Straits Times last week that it is collaborating with electronics giant Samsung to use some of its serviced apart- ments in Singapore to prototype smart home ideas.

"We're going to try some concepts in Singapore and the Philippines and, by the first half of next year, we should have some units ready for trial," he said.

The desire for more intelligent homes that can anticipate their occupants' needs and make life more convenient was evident in a contest organised by The Straits Times and CapitaLand, he said.

The ongoing contest, called BuildSG2065, was launched in February to mark Singapore's 50th birthday this year and asks people to suggest ideas on how the Republic can become a better and more sustainable place to live, work and play over the next 50 years.

More than 1,300 ideas have been submitted, and participants stand to win prizes such as shopping vouchers or even a five-night stay in London or Paris.

The top 50 entries could also be featured in an upcoming exhibition, Singapore STories: Then, Now, Tomorrow, to be held at the ArtScience Museum from July 17 to Oct 4.

Mr Lim said recent advances in technology can also benefit people and firms in other ways, such as by enabling real estate companies and retailers to personalise shoppers' experiences.

He noted that CapitaLand, which has about 100 malls in Asia, introduced an app-based rewards programme called CapitaStar.

People upload images of their receipts to earn rewards, and this allows the firm to collect data to better understand people's shopping habits.

Retailers can use the information to refine their marketing campaigns and customers also benefit because they will receive only relevant promotional material.

"We also want to work on ways to improve the physical stores and the shopping environment," Mr Lim said.

He noted that payment technologies such as virtual wallets could eliminate the process of queueing up to pay for things. People could simply scan an item in the store and pay through the wallet.

He added: "Another idea is to bring some aspects of online shopping to the physical stores. When you buy something online, for example, you can see the reviews.

"Perhaps stores can have feeds from social media, and these will be linked to your smartphone so that when you walk into a store, reviews will immediately come up so you can see what they are. This is where the experience between being online and offline could become quite seamless."

Mr Lim noted that Asia's increasing urbanisation and digitisation - which allows people to connect any time, anywhere - means Singapore and real estate firms will have to adapt to remain relevant.

"If we don't embrace change, we will be bypassed," he pointed out.

To submit your BuildSG2065 idea, go to http://buildsg2065.straitstimes.com by May 24.

FENG ZENGKUN