The smart home – once merely a science-fiction fantasy – is on a meteoric rise in Asia, and it’s set to revolutionise urban life. Although still in its infancy, smart home technologies are already proliferating in the market.
From intelligent security features that offer facial recognition to everyday devices that can be connected and controlled by your smartphone, the modern residence will soon be a chameleonic extension of our mercurial needs and preferences.
A vision to lead the regional market
In the Asia-Pacific region, Japan in particular stands out for having embraced smart housing development. As home to one of the densest populations in the world, as well as one of the most technologically advanced societies, this perhaps comes as no surprise.
Panasonic has already placed its bets on the smart home, steering away from consumer electronics and focusing instead on smart housing solutions to support Asian societies.
President of Panasonic Corporation, Kazuhiro Tsuga, says: "Outside Japan, Panasonic is treated as a consumer electronics maker or say, a TV manufacturer, in some sense, but the reality is we are trying to change ourselves. Our mission is to provide a better life, a better world."
Indeed, Shioashiya in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture is one example that offers a glimpse into the utopian residential developments of the future. One of several smart town projects spearheaded by PanaHome Corporation(a subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation), the housing project is set to become the country’s first zero-energy town, producing more energy than it consumes with its own micro-grid system.
400 houses and an 83-unit condominium complex are equipped with solar and fuel cells, HEMS and other innovative technologies. The result is an attractive, secure, environmentally friendly town that enhances the health and comfort of its residents.
Solutions for a better world
Anticipating the shifting needs of future smart home residents, Panasonic has devised several excellent solutions to develop homes for the Asian market that are green, comfortable and secure.
All PanaHome houses received an “A” ranking in an environmental efficiency assessment, according to CASBEE standards. This was made possible through the incorporation of the following three technologies:
1. POWERTECH for earthquake-resistant buildings
Properties developed by PanaHome feature a proprietary earthquake-resistant steel-framed structure. Using a hyper-space (HS) construction method, the structure provides outstanding resistance to earthquakes and recurring tremors, thus greatly improving the safety of residents.
The durability of these houses have also been verified through 140 rigorous vibration tests, which are approximately 4.3 times the intensity of the Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake of 1995. The entire building is developed to withstand a grade-three earthquake on the Shindo scale.
Although the technology is currently only available in Japan, it can be adapted for future use in other earthquake-prone countries in Asia, such as Taiwan or the Philippines. Residents can enjoy greater peace of mind knowing that their home offers shelter and security in times of disaster.
2. KIRATECH and WPC for superior weather-proofing
PanaHome’s KIRATECH exterior tile walls employ advanced photocatalytic technology, which allows them to self-clean when exposed to sun or rain.
In effect, the building remains clean over the long term, producing significant time and cost savings in resources and maintenance. Additionally, the walls break down hazardous atmospheric pollutants, including nitrogen oxide (NOx), thereby purifying the surrounding air.
PanaHome also employs a wall-precast concrete (WPC) construction method, which manufactures large, pre-fabricated concrete panels, followed by assembly later at the construction site. In addition to shortening the construction time by 50 per cent, the WPC method also incorporates Japanese water-proofing technology to prevent water leakages.
3. PURETECH and ECO NAVI for maximum comfort at home
Making clever use of natural, geothermal heat to insulate the entire home, PURETECH controls airflow throughout the house using as little energy as possible. The house is thus kept cool in summer and warm in winter, maintaining a pleasant temperature at all times for the most comfortable environment possible.
PanaHome houses also feature an ECO NAVI ventilation system, which is equipped with the industry’s first high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filter. These air filters remove particles as tiny as 0.5 micrometres in diameter, ensuring the air in your home is constantly pure and clean, preventing the spread of airborne viruses to keep residents healthy.
These are but a few of the groundbreaking solutions that highlight how Japanese technology is going to play a crucial role in shaping the development of smart homes in Asia. Leveraging the features of our environment to create a lifestyle that is technologically advanced yet harmonious with nature, the way forward is in smart, sustainable homes.