This app is changing the way we live and work

Franklin Tang, founder of Habitap.

Smart home apps in Singapore are slowly evolving from the confines of individual buildings to multiple distinct communities.

For instance, developer M+S, a 60:40 joint venture between Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, recently launched the first mobile app here that connects businesses, residents and visitors across its two integrated projects – Marina One in Marina Bay and DUO in Bugis.

“What M+S has effectively done is to build a single community across two spaces,” said Franklin Tang, founder of Habitap, which developed the app called MySphere.

It is the first smartphone tool in Singapore that enables employees to pass through the turnstiles at the office lobbies of Marina One and DUO Tower and use the lifts with a tap of their mobile devices.

The app, which took six months to complete, not only authenticates the user, but is also secure thanks to encryption technology by HID and commercial-grade firewalls.

With MySphere, residents and office occupants can enjoy the amenities at both properties. These include their respective event spaces and auditorium facilities, as well as hotel rooms, function rooms and ballrooms at DUO’s Andaz Singapore hotel.

Moreover, the app will provide the first seamless, completely automated visitor management system at both developments. There are also features for booking residential facilities, calling handyman services, problem reporting, and alerting people in case of emergency.

Aside from borrowing an umbrella, mobile charger or wheelchair, MySphere can also be used by residents, office workers and visitors to utilise concierge services, call a taxi and make restaurant reservations.

Users can enjoy conveniences and perks with M+S’s partners like mobile commerce platform PageAdvisor and from transport services oBike and Telepod. In addition, they can make use of retail promos and an M+S loyalty rewards programme.

Among the users of the app is Nick Freeman, general manager of PizzaExpress, one of DUO’s F&B tenants.

“MySphere helps us to communicate directly with the residents and office occupants at DUO and Marina One so we can offer them the opportunity to connect with us and learn about our latest products and offers,” he said.

“This type of channel is invaluable in creating loyal customers as it gives us a platform to reach out to those people who are most likely to visit us daily.”

Notably, developers like Singapore-based Keppel Land and Chinese firm Qingjian Realty set the trend for smart home apps in Singapore.

An app developed by Habitap is currently being used at Keppel Land’s Corals at Keppel Bay and The Glades condominiums. It is also set to be introduced at Highline Residences in Tiong Bahru, which is expected to be ready by 2018.

Ng Ooi Hooi, Keppel Land’s president of regional investments, previously revealed that residents love the convenience brought about by smart home apps.

Meanwhile, Qingjian Realty intends to implement its hiLife app in all its existing and upcoming developments such as the Le Quest mixed-use project that’s slated for completion by end-2021.

According to Tang, there was never the idea of pairing apps with a building two years ago due to issues such as educating contractors and architects on the technology.

But he noted that more developers are now looking to leverage on such technology. Previously, cost was an issue, but demand for such apps has become market driven, he said. In fact, Habitap’s 25-strong tech team is growing quickly as demand for such apps is outpacing supply.

Still, there is more room for growth, noted Tang, citing the example of only two in 10 homes here having digital door locks, compared to seven in 10 in Korea.

Over the next three years, he expects to see more apps in the market, with next-generation software capable of carrying out more functions. There’s even the possibility of app users in Singapore accessing facilities and services in overseas developments.

In fact, Habitap has been appointed to develop a smart app for two overseas projects, and expects to secure another two commercial developments by year-end.

“We already have several projects lined up for 2018 and 2019,” noted Tang.

 

Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email romesh@propertyguru.com.sg

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