South Korean operator SK Telecom has announced a new smart home service for multi-dwelling residential units. The platform, called Smart Home 3.0, helps building owners manage services such as entry, parking, home deliveries, and public facilities reservations.
SK said the advantage is that all the services are available on the same platform, accessible via an app for residents to use, rather than having different suppliers for different services. Residents can remotely control IoT systems and access useful community services over the app, such as carpooling, kids meet-ups and sharing equipment with neighbors.
The operator’s first smart home services, launched in 2015, allowed customers to remotely control their home installations. In 2016, SK introduced a home network for apartment buildings to control lighting, and it later added heating equipment. The present offering is its third generation of service for apartment complexes. The company said the platform can be rolled out at existing as well as newly constructed buildings.
For MNOs, smart home technology has proved to be one of a number of routes to adding value and relevance in a changing marketplace. It is an IoT application that is potentially of interest to a very wide swath of consumers, given that almost everyone lives in a home and many people would like some degree of automation within the home. Generally speaking, smart home solutions have been targeted at individual homeowners and to some degree renters, though still on an individual basis.
The distinctiveness of SK Telecom’s solution is that it is being offered on a larger scale to real estate companies that own apartment buildings. This way, multiple dwellings can be sold services at once, resulting in a much greater revenue opportunity for the operator. The customer base expands from consumer to SMEs and even large enterprises, greatly enlarging the potential for smart home technology.
It should be noted that the soundness of this idea goes beyond just the fact that an apartment building contains multiple dwellings and therefore multiple sources of simultaneous revenue. The operator has recognized that residents of an apartment building are neighbors and therefore share interests and activities. Providing them with a means to communicate and coordinate with each other should do a great deal to make the system appealing. And if it is appealing enough, it could also serve as advertising for the operator, causing at least some of the residents to become subscribers of the operator’s other services.