Smart Communities — How Tech Will Enhance Coliving

Nov 30, 2017 · 5 min read
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Photo: Dogtown Media

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Technology is all around us: where we work, live and play.

The idea of the “Smart Home” and IoT (Internet of Things) has become widely accepted and we now speak into our TV remotes, use thermostats that heat or cool a portion of our houses to save energy and obsessively monitor our air quality.

We don’t have a crystal ball but we have spent a lot of time and feel we have some useful observations that can help coliving spaces embrace technology to enhance their communities.

We will also be developing a lot of tech ourselves in response to the universal community’s needs.

Here are the trends I have noticed in Smart Homes and how I think they can be adopted in communities:

1. Voice Control

With the introduction of Amazon’s Alexa and Echo Dot, we are now commanding devices to perform tasks.

Instead of having to clap our hands to turn off lights, we are simply saying “Lights Off”.

Customization is important within each member’s room so the ability for that member to be able to able to decide what to control is key.

A simple command to change the light color or even wallpaper design would not only visually blow our minds and add fun to the mix but make the experience unique for each member.

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Credit: Padtronix

2. Sustainability

. The elimination of this means that refrigerators can be shut down for periods without letting the food spoil.

Companies like NEST have created smart thermostats that allow the house to be the temperature we need it to be only when we are there.

Tech has already been created that allows us to see in real time what impact we have on our own energy consumption within the house.


When we are more aware of what we consume, it can become fun.

We can gamify it so that people are rewarded for being aware of what they consume and reducing it.

As a collective community, this can .

With the data readily available to members and operators, reports can be published to highlight the positive impacts the community is having in the neighborhood/city/country.

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Credit: Loxone

3. Larger Touchpanels

The iPad has been the dominant tool for managing smart devices. But people have realized that the screen is just too small and larger touchpanels have been produced as a solution to this frustration.

With the increasing number of smart devices now being used in the home, we need a larger dashboard to control them.

In my humble opinion, multi-purpose devices will mean less clutter and reduced cost and consumption.

“Smart Mirrors” will serve two purposes: to reflect you so you can do your best Zoolander impression(duh!) and to act as a touchpanel where you can control smart devices, communicate with community members and give you information you need (weather, events, announcements and requests).

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Credit: Smart Mirror Documentation

4. Smart Locks

Think about the times when you are coming home and your keys are at the bottom of your bag or you are carrying heavy bags and don’t have a free hand.

Automated locks allow the door to unlock as you approach. The August Smart Lock allows you to give temporary access to family or friends as long as they have the app.

Keys are easily lost or misplaced and they are also pocket fillers. Depending on the lock, they can be costly to replace and it takes time to do this.

With the use of smart locks or RFID (radio-frequency identification which uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects) coliving community members can come and go .

In addition to this, the community manager knows who is on site in case there is a fire so from a regulatory standpoint, this is a really nice way to ensure you know who is home in case of an emergency.

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Credit: The Finder Singapore

5. Integration

Every device organized in a central hub (often through a mobile app) where you can easily control things like security cameras, HVAC, lighting, audio, video and front gate access.

Apps will be developed that will allow members to consolidate all of their tools in one place.

They can then monitor them or be alerted when something needs to be addressed.

Every member is effectively the pilot of their life. It is then about focusing on UX (User Experience)and UI (User Interface) to make sure the hub is aesthetically pleasing, customizable and “sticky”.

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Credit: Fortune Builders

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