Until recently, Canadians have seemed to prefer city living – recent data shows that 84% of the country’s population lives in metropolitan areas. And with diverse cultures, access to opportunities, and interconnected vibrant communities, there’s no question why Canadian cities rank as top places to live.
But living in an urban centre is not without its challenges. Vancouver and Toronto both rank among the top five least affordable cities in the world (numbers two and five in 2021, respectively), and all three cities, including Montreal, suffer from significant traffic congestion.
After a year of living with the COVID-19 pandemic, attitudes are beginning to change. The pandemic has drastically changed living spaces, as our homes become our offices, daycares, schools, and gyms. And in crowded urban centres, the pandemic has put a particular emphasis on hygiene, health, and wellness. For city dwellers already battling urban densification and shrinking spaces, life outside the downtown core is beginning to look more appealing.
But with connectivity and interoperability, we can make urban living more attractive. By harnessing IoT technologies, we can ensure that every resident’s needs are met, supporting their mental and physical health, reducing environmental impact, and improving affordability. Connected buildings use real-time data and tenant preferences to enable applications centred around tenant experiences, such as personalized lighting, air quality monitoring, and predictive temperature control, making home a better place to be.
Smart buildings might sound like something from the future – but the technology is already here. IOTAS, an innovative TELUS Ventures portfolio company, provides smart home automation for apartments, empowering residents to take control of their lives. Residents can personalize their homes with options including smart outlets that program appliances, secure and timed access to allow guests in and out of the building, and smart thermostats and lighting to save electricity. It’s all easily managed through an app with control settings and personal preferences.
The benefits of smart buildings aren’t limited to residents either. Leveraging tech solutions in the construction and management process allows developers and property managers to reduce costs with applications that minimize energy use and monitor building operations – and even provide remote property showings. It’s impossible to overlook the cost-savings that smart buildings offer. Properties operating with IOTAS have experienced an average of 7% lower weekly labour costs and have tenant renewal rates 59% higher than the baseline. What these savings could unlock is limitless – from creative solutions for affordable social housing to more investment in community safety and wellbeing – creating a further, social impact business segment.
With applications that put people first and unlock value for tenants, property managers, developers, and owners, connected buildings could help make dense cities not just liveable, but warm and welcoming, and filled with culture and community.