Currently, Ho Chi Minh City has a number of transformative and boundary-pushing new construction projects in various stages of completion. This pipeline of towering skyscrapers is fueled by creative architectural exploration which will help to redefine Ho Chi Minh City’s skyline for years to come. Many of these projects present developers with the opportunity of implementing evolving and emerging technologies into their respective visions. Therefore, high-tech, eco-friendly, renewable, innovative, and ergonomical designs, spaces, and solutions should all be seriously considered and employed where possible by project stakeholders, thereby raising the bar across Vietnam.
According to Asia Property Report, a “large group of Vietnamese shoppers said that they value security and cleanliness of a shopping centre, rather than putting a premium on prices and top foreign brand names, unlike their other Southeast Asian neighbours.”
Additionally, CBRE reports: “Luxury and high-end products will be sought-after, especially in Hanoi… [so] domestic retailers need to reassess and renovate themselves in order to compete with the new entrants [due to ASEAN integration in 2015 and beyond.]”
Furthermore, Cushman & Wakefield projects that, in 2015, “incentives will remain high as supply build-up pushes up vacancy.” How will developers differentiate their offerings from an increasing real estate inventory? LEED and LOTUS ratings help provide guidelines for green buildings, but there are additional options for homeowners, businesses, and developers.
These and other ongoing projects are in the middle of changing standards, expectations, and technologies here in Vietnam. Homeowners and other building occupants—especially those who are new to the idea of smart technologies—might have questions about different options.
- What is it?
- Why does it matter?
- How will I benefit from it?
Well, ask yourself these questions first: is your home a smart home? (Swap out “home” with “workplace” or “school” since these technologies can cross boundaries in our lives.)
For example, is your home energy efficient? Can you control lights, TV, music, or the temperature from your smartphone? Are you breathing clean air and drinking filtered water? Not just cleaner air than what’s outside, but the best air in the world. Not just safer drinking water than your neighbors, but the safest in the world. (And yes, air and water can help distinguish a smart home from other homes: you can send your children to a better school but you can’t buy better ozone for them, at least not outside.)
Basically, our homes are made up of different systems: security, lighting, temperature, A/V—all of which can be automated, integrated, and controlled in different ways. We integrate these technologies together to form a single seamless point of control. “Technology integration” is the design, implementation, or programming of automation, integration, and control systems (such as Lutron, Crestron, and AMX) in residential and commercial settings. To date, we have operated as integrators, consultants, and advisors to companies and individual clients in HCMC and Hanoi since 2011.
These different technologies allow a homeowner or end user to control most systems via his/her Apple iPhone, iPad, or other smart device, i.e., control lighting, motorized shades, temperature, audio, and video distribution systems all with simple button presses. Any of these technology platforms can be utilized as a standalone product as well, including individual room solutions depending on a client’s budget. In short, a smart home means having one of the best homes; safe, luxurious, and unique. It goes beyond the basics in a tasteful and elegant way.
Imagine coming home: you walk up the steps and once you are inside, you press the “Welcome” button on the nearest keypad to the main entrance. Immediately, certain lights (we call these “presets”) begin turning on—accents, down lights, and chandeliers. At the same time, automated shades begin raising to reveal the full-length windows and the stunning view behind them.
As you move beyond the foyer and into the living room, your favorite art pieces are softly lit and soothing music is playing through the in-ceiling speakers—all automated, of course. Your focus turns to the faint scent of fresh herbs so you stop by the kitchen to see what’s on the menu for tonight before continuing on to the study, your inner sanctum. The study is a toasty 28 centigrade, just as you set it from your smart phone even before leaving the office. Time to wrap up those last few emails before dinner.
After dinner, you decide to watch a movie; as you walk into your living room, it dawns on you that it could double as a Bang & Olufsen show room: BeoVision Avant, BeoSound 5, and BeoLab 5 models are the first objects that catch your eye.
Sitting on the couch, you try to decide what to watch. Thanks to a VPN, you have the option of Netflix so House of Cards comes to mind. You remember that your building began offering Nevaya’s services the month before so you browse the selection of new releases. It’s nice to unwind with a glass of wine, so you settle on your favorite comedy.
Halfway through the movie, your phone rings: it’s a friend who wants to meet up for a drink. “Sure, let’s meet downtown in 20 minutes,” you respond. Reaching for your glass of wine, you take one last sip before heading toward the front door.
Before leaving, you press the “Goodbye” button on the keypad next to the front door. Within seconds all the lights in common areas turn off. Whatever audio or video zones were active before are now silent. Within a few minutes all the lights, music, and video zones are off and while you are already on the way to meet your friend.
These are some of the most visible benefits of smart technologies—but it gets better once you notice the energy savings on your monthly utility bills.
A Smarter Work Environment
Time is money; the new year is coming up and you have to report back the year’s financial reports via teleconference. As ASEAN integration proceeds, Vietnamese companies will have to interface more often with foreign companies and their workers. As future workers in a dedicated teleconferencing room, students are able to schedule e-meetings with experts in other cities or even work together with students in other countries.
Imagine that you are at work, early in the morning. The sky is clear so the sun’s rays are strong as they enter the window next to your desk. Sensors in the ceiling are able to detect the amount of sunlight coming in from the window. Since the office is on one of the upper floors, there is a clear line of sight. However, the shades automatically lower to reduce the amount of overwhelming sunlight.
As the day enters the afternoon, the shades slowly raise as the sun begins to set. Soon, lights begin to turn on once the natural light in the space reaches the lower limit. The shades are fully raised when the team decides to call it a day as they head out to share dinner.
The temperature, lights, and shades are all operating on “Away” mode now. Occupancy sensors in the main common areas allow lighting where and when it is needed, thereby keep operating costs low.
Education for the 21st century
The professor goes up to the lectern in the front of the classroom. She presses a button soon the bright blue light of a projector appears on the smart board behind her. The projector has several sources: she can show a documentary from the DVD player, pull up a webpage from the computer in the lectern, or show a document on the digital camera. Her students pay attention—will it be a movie today? Or a new and interesting interactive experience?
Technologies That Help You
There may be a number of sub-systems in a building: HVAC, Power/Lighting, Building Energy Management, Security, etc. Together, they actively communicate to make sure a building operates as leanly as possible, depending on how many people are active inside. While each company that specializes in a certain technology has different national origin, they all have one share aspect in common: they are among the best in the world.
AMX is an American company—its technology has been used in celebrity homes, corporate boardrooms, and even the White House. AMX specializes in meeting technology which is suitable for hotels, convention centers, and other spaces.
Lutron, an American company founded in 1961, has been a pioneer in lighting, shading, and temperature solutions. Today, the company holds over 2700 patents. In Vietnam, Lutron products have been used in the Park Hyatt, in the Summit Lounge at the Sofitel Plaza, at the JW Marriott, and in villas throughout the country.
Nevaya, a British company, to promote a cloud-based IPTV solution ideal for hotel operators and serviced residences in Vietnam and Asia. Let’s say that you want to watch a movie. Well, with Nevaya’s IPTV services you can do exactly that. Best of all, basic services are included in your service fee that you pay to the company that manages your serviced residence.
OnControls, an American company, offers room control solutions that are hosted in the cloud. This advantage allows the cost of room control to be lowered since the hardware footprint is less and changes can be easily made from the web portal.
Bang & Olufsen, a Danish brand, complements any luxury housing as it has done for the past 90 years. Its products are distinct showcases of quality, design, and art.
IQAir is a Swiss family owned company with 50 years of history in air purification. All IQAir products are made in Switzerland, conform to the strictest standards, and are considered the leading edge in their respective categories.
BWT, a German company, is Europe`s number one water technology company. The company has proven expertise in both domestic and industrial water technology. Here in Vietnam, the company concentrates on small (domestic, small office, restaurant, etc.) installations.
All of these technologies are available today—in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang or any other location. By the way, other technologies will soon arrive as well to help eliminate skills, craftsmanship, and corruption challenges.
Impacting the Environment Around Us
Five-star luxury in your home—did you think it was possible 20 or 10 years ago in Vietnam? You can make it happen today. A smart home allows you to express yourself and it allows you to simplify your life by providing convenience, safety and peace of mind. You can either help set the trend or play catch up in the future. You drive a nice car, you have a cool phone, but what about your home?
Set your life apart from your friends’ and family’s home. Make your own style; we can help you do that. Experience a comfortable temperature all year round in your home. No wet and dry season—always the perfect humidity indoors. Have a Smart Home, the Best Home, a Future Home.
While individuals can take it upon themselves to convert their residence into a smart home, the most efficient way to create a smart ecosystem is to incorporate units into the smart building design, or even better, to incorporate buildings into the smart city design. Ultimately, specifying and utilizing these technologies allows architects, developers, and designers to differentiate their projects from others in Vietnam and Asia (and provides homeowners/residents/occupants with a new level of technological and luxurious living). Everybody wins.