The month of September will always remind me of one of the most embarrassing moments in my life.
It was the first day of school. Rocking my new all-white Nike Air Max, I had the world at my feet. Obviously. I regally walked through the already opened glass doors which opened to the Reception hall, all the while stealing quick glances at my Nikes. A couple of meters into the building, I turned my head for no reason, only to realize the doors were still open. There and then, I had flashes of my mother yelling out at me as a child, “Kwame, Close my door!”. And guess what? I swaggered back to what I now know as an automatic door and attempted to close it. I WAS ATTEMPTING TO CLOSE AN AUTOMATIC DOOR!!! I cringe every single time at this memory and it gets even more disappointing knowing my age as at the time of this incident. Fortunately, this moment was not caught on tape.
Wait a minute! Was it caught on tape? Am I a GIF waiting to go viral? 😭
Technology is shifting the paradigm of real estate. It is changing the entire verity about real estate with the presence of “smart buildings”. Smart buildings are increasingly springing up across the world and automatic doors are just an example of how “smart” buildings can be. (Smart buildings: influencing building design and functionality via technology). The “smartness” levels vary among buildings from a simple installation of CCTV cameras to a complex Internet of Things (IoT) which can be responsive to voice commands.
An important information I acquired as a Land Economy undergraduate student is that the value of a property is mainly determined by three factors: location, location and location. The integration of technology will be a force to reckon with in determining property values as well and this is due to the benefits that are associated with being smart.
As a young man in the 21st century, I prefer to own a property that will be able to ease my stress of doing things, ensure comfort and safety while increasing productivity and make me financially sustainable and “smart buildings” seem to promise these. In a country such as Ghana where it is highly possible to be billed exorbitantly on energy consumption, it will be smart to be smart (Pun intended).
Technology incorporated in your building helps in improving its efficiency by optimizing utilization of facilities in the building. Take light sensitive switches for instance: light bulbs are triggered to turn on only when the technology records an insufficient presence of natural light or when the technology recognizes the presence of a body in the room (which could have an override, of course, based on the occupant’s preferences) and this is particularly useful in reducing energy consumption. Not just that, but smart buildings are custom designed to make life very comfortable by ensuring easier access and control of security, appliances and other electrical contraptions at your comfort and remotely by using your smart phone or even voice recognition.
In view of this, one can say that smart homes are safer, cost efficient (in the long run), and more convenient and therefore should be easier to sell due to its features which make smart buildings even more valuable. However, these technology integrations will add to the already expensive property market in Ghana.
Who wouldn’t want to own a smart building? I know I would. However, we are placed in a “catch-22” situation where in order to save, we need to spend. This even becomes more interesting especially in a country where majority of its citizens cannot afford to own property, a country where owning a house now is seen to be more of a luxury than a necessity.
About the Authors
Arku Robert Nutifafa graduated from the Department of Land Economy (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology) in the year 2017 and did his national service at the Department as a Teaching and Research assistant. He is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Urban Planning.
Richard Oppong is a final year student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Land Economy at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. He was the immediate past Vice President of LAMDSA( Land Management and Development Students’ Association)