Backlash against smart homes?

Wed, 2013-12-04 06:00 -- Jesse Berst

Reporting on the recent World Intelligent Cities Summit in Istanbul, the Xinhua News Agency cites several presenters who cast doubt on the growth prospects for smart homes. At least one of the presenters sees a backlash already occurring in Turkey, where rapid urbanization has led to social upheaval.

Read carefully, though, and you'll see that the experts don't really have anything against smart homes. Rather, they protest technology for technology's sake. And, especially, they think a smart building is not very valuable in isolation. Only when connected to a smart city does a smart building start to make business sense. Indeed, when you connect a building to a smart grid or a smart water network or something similar, then you create additional value streams (such as payments from the utility for reducing usage during peak periods). -- Jesse Berst

Istanbul Sapphire TowerArchitect Hakan Kiran told Xinhua that in Istanbul, people who have moved into smart buildings are regretting it; that they do not want to live in smart skyscrapers loaded with high-tech electronics any more.

The current trend, he suggested, is to build simpler, more traditional intelligent buildings. He told Xinhua that "people want to breathe, want to feel sunshine, want to grow plants, they want to go back to the nature."

Isik Gokkaya, Chairman of Yesil GYO, offered another perspective. "In order to develop smart houses first we have to develop smart cities," he said. "It is not useful to build smart houses when the unplanned urbanization is widespread."


Jesse Berst is the founding Chairman of the Smart Cities Council. Click to learn about the benefits you receive when you join the Council for free.