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  • Writer's pictureAngues Chan & Jonathan Lam

Next Generation Home: Why the Internet of Things will always need a human touch

It’s fascinating to see the fast progression of IoT throughout these years. Robot vacuum cleaners, smart locks, smart switches - all of these technologies are transforming our daily lives and are making our homes ‘smarter’. Research has shown that in 2019, IoT smart home devices have reached about $13 billion globally, and are forecasted to reach more than $53 billion by 2022. IoT items are nice to have, but is it really worth it? With the home sweet home that we go back to everyday, this will always be seen as a space where we have built all our behavioral preferences and identity in. With technology entering the household space, will this put an end to our “home”? Let’s have a look at the five hot IoT devices that have been trending lately.

1. Home Assistants

If you are ever feeling lazy to clean your floors at home, iRobot vacuum cleaners are the best solution for that. Designed for hard floors and thin carpets, you can schedule your vacuum to clean whenever you want. The model is wi-fi enabled and works with certain virtual assistants devices. Great for homes with pets and allergies, you will have the ability to operate your robot anytime and anywhere in your home. 2. Voice Commands I am sure you have heard of Amazon’s famous Alexa and she is great. From smart speakers to smart displays, you can now connect Alexa with compatible Echo devices (Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Look, Echo Show, Echo Flex, the list goes on and on). Based on the complete list of Amazon Alexa commands, instead of just asking Alexa for a command, you can now ask her to show you things on Echo touchscreen displays. The best part, you may also connect your Echo devices to your Fire TV and Fire TV sticks to make your couch experience a relaxing and immobile one. 3. Motion Sensors Motion sensors have been improving our safety and home security by empowering dozens of connected applications around our home. A popular motion detector tool, Google Nest Detect can help detect and light your way in the dark during night time. It can also help detect motion when windows and doors are being opened or closed. That way, you can tell when something is being interfered and notifications will show up straight to your cell phone. 4. Smart locks Are you ever curious to know who is at your front door while the door bell is ringing? Or to find out you’re not home and your delivery package arrived? Using August Smart Lock, you can answer your door from anywhere and let the right visitors in. With an additional pairing of August Doorbell Cam, you can have continuous monitoring of your doorstep with the ability to replay any videos from the last 24 hours to see what goes on while you’re not home. The best part is that you can keep your home secure without having to pass your lock or keys to anyone else. 5. Air quality companion Most of us actually don’t know much about the air we breathe in both indoors and outdoors. Using the world’s smallest and lighest handheld air quality device, Flow, you can now track particulate matter, nitrogen dixoide and VOCS almost anywhere you go. By using their app, you can also track and map your commute to decipher the pollutants that you pass to make your life easier.

Don’t forget about the human touch IoT devices are great gadgets but just because technology can do a sufficient job, we, as human beings would still want to deal with certain things based on our personal and behavior preferences. While we understand that a machine can perform perfectly on a given task and is very advanced, what it will lack is the human touch of things. Whether it is getting served by a human being with a friendly smile or attention to detail or observations, these are actions that will be difficult to replace with technology. If you think about your daily lives, we, as humans use touch to do almost everything - interact with others, display affection, seek support, and develop relationships. An example to show how important details and observations is, noticing a baby bump grow over months and using gentle human touch to manage babies is very important and gives extra comfort. Today property developers, especially hotels are developing new homes and integrating smart devices to help homeowners have the ability to control their appliances and devices through their phones to give them better convenience. However, no matter what, there will always be a need for personal touch such as personal placement preference, personal handwritten notes and a 2 way communication dialogue for clear understanding. While wanting both preferences of IoT devices and personal touch, companies like Butler can help assist your personal requests in your own homes.


More about the author: Angues and Jonathan are the founders of Butler, a PropTech startup bringing the hotel-grade hospitality into residence and transforming people's home into a service apartment experience. If you are interested in learning more about Butler's solutions, visit


PropTech Institute is an independent, non-profit association representing Asia’s PropTech community led by a team of committed professionals. The association seeks to bridge the gap between real estate and tech as well as providing a platform for founders, enthusiasts, professionals, and all those interested in PropTech to share knowledge in the application of technology in real estate. Visit our website to learn out more about PTI!

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