Smart homes on the radar of ever more Hungarians

Analysis

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While living in a smart home may be the privilege of a handful right now in Hungary, there is immense interest out there for automated solutions that promise to raise comfort levels and cut energy bills.

According to a recent survey conducted by Siemens Zrt. and NRC Marketing Research, 63% of Hungarians would prefer to move into a smart home with automated solutions to raise comfort or security levels and produce energy savings. Two-thirds of respondents showed a clear interest for installing a burglar alarm system, while 51% liked the idea of having thermostats in place in order to control the temperature at all times.

Péter Kovács, of Smart Home Magyarország, confirms the growing popularity of such installations. “Controlling heating, the blinds or the lights are top hits right now, and setting up video surveillance and burglar alarm systems are also very much sought-after,” he says. “Such high-tech functions as voice or license plate recognition or finger print reading are not in the limelight yet, but this should also be a question of time only, as the interest for them does exist already.”

Indeed, as shown by the above-mentioned survey, 11% of respondents are planning to invest in a smart solution for their homes. The reason that figure is not higher is that many are apparently put off by the prospect of heavy costs: 41% believe intelligent installations are costly luxuries. However, as András Medveczky, director for building technologies at Siemens Zrt., explains, relatively small amounts of money spent appropriately can work magic, and ROI is easily calculated.

“By investing a few tens of thousands of forints, energy bills can be cut by 10-20% and the ROI time span may drop below one year,” Medveczky says. “Of course, if beefing up comfort takes priority, it is of secondary importance when the investment turns a profit, since it is rather the functions enhancing comfort that matter.”

Another advantage of smart home solutions is that problems can be monitored remotely. “Our staff can detect any malfunction by having remote access to the technology installed, and by determining the exact nature of the problem, owners will know what specialist to call,” Kovács adds.

In spite of the growing hype around smart homes, it makes sense to remain realistic. The bulk of residential properties in Hungary are in very poor shape in terms of energy efficiency, thus in many cases an investment spent on low-tech insulation is a much higher priority than being able to let the blinds down by a click from a thousand miles away. “Before getting any development done, a specialist needs to be consulted so that the condition of the real estate is assessed, and the goals to be reached should be defined in accordance with that evaluation,” stresses Medveczky.

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