Life-long housing, more than a trend

Real estate experts are predicting a massive shift in housing trends in 2018. Flemish Architect Leo Van Broeck talks about a hybrid future with compact homes or – better still – apartments. Apartments will become roughly 10% smaller and will no longer be fitted with a traditional boiler. Geothermal networks will emerge. Technologies are changing rapidly and this means that many project developers choose to design and build apartments so they can be adapted throughout your lifetime.


Smart Assisted Living
Life-long housing immediately makes you think of wider door frames, eliminating steps and a number of often stigmatising features, such as braces and handlebars. But nothing could be further from the truth, as a combination of smart technology and modern wiring enables project developers to offer smart living apartments whose technology can adapt to its residents’ needs and requirements. This is not a first for Belgian hardware and software manufacturer IPBuilding as it has completed over 1,300 construction projects in the meantime.

Kris Pensaert (IPBuilding): “Most people who buy apartments are over 50 and this generation is very much aware of the life-long nature of their new home. That is why more and more project developers increasingly opt for the concept of Smart (Assisted) Living.”

“Today, IPBuilding is creating Smart Living residential environments that combine all technologies into a single digital platform. Residents can control the lighting, multimedia, sun blinds, security, access, and more from a touch screen in their home, but also remotely via a tablet or smartphone. This provides more comfort, greater security and reduced energy consumption,” says Michael Van Buggenhout of IPBuilding. We find that a person’s needs and requirements change as they age. Ease of use, safety and increased monitoring become of greater concern. “When the need arises, we can add assistive technology to the already present IPBuilding Smart Living system, without the need for demolition or construction works. One example of this involves adding an intelligent emergency call system. Elderly residents can use a wireless alarm button, a button on the touchscreen or a neck/wrist strap to easily contact a person of their choice. This can be a family member, but also a professional healthcare provider such as a home nurse.”

In other words, after years of enjoying the benefits of Smart Living, residents can seamlessly transition to Smart Assisted Living. IPBuilding also developed a custom layout for and together with elderly people, which is now successfully used in various Smart Assisted Living projects and in different residences consisting of assisted living housing.

Tailored to the target group
Many property developers who build and sell apartments have already incorporated the concept of ‘life-long housing’ into the design of their projects. “Property developers realise that Flemish people want to continue to live at home for as long as they can. Most people who buy apartments in Flanders are over 50. Providing assistive technology in apartments is no longer optional, it has really become a necessity to make projects successful.”


De Linden, smart assisted-living flats in the spotlight

ZorgAndersTV made two reports on Smart Assistance homes. This time, the reporters of ZorgAndersTV visited the De Linden Assisted living flats in Kapellen (Antwerp). The people behind this initiative, psychologist Yo Buyens and architect Pieter Goffin, built 17 flats there, with a surface area ranging from 67 m² to 111 m².

“The building is very bright and we really wanted to create the feeling that this is a normal flat, and not an assisted living flat,” says Pieter Goffin. “The flat needs to adapt to its occupant’s care needs. That is why we also started looking for a suitable solution to make the assisted living flats ready for the future.” The promoters eventually opted for IPBuilding and turned their apartment building into a real Smart building. All controls such as for lighting, heating, screens, and others are operated via a touchscreen. Also, residents can make emergency calls via the same system, together with movable push buttons and a push button/necklace that residents can take with them. Home nurse Jan Van Gils, who provides care in De Linden, experiences the added value of IPBuilding’s Smart Care solutions. “When a resident of De Linden places a call, I immediately get a message on my phone about who is contacting me and where that person is located inside the flat. I can also communicate with the resident, via a high-quality two-way communication system. At the same time, the TV switches itself off, so I can better understand the person. To ensure the residents’ safety, the hob is also automatically switched off, the temperature of the floor heating is raised and all of the lights in the apartment are switched on.”

Controlled remotely

In addition to the benefits for residents and nurses, the Smart Care system also offers numerous benefits for the building manager. Peter Goffin and Yo Buyens can monitor the entire building remotely. This includes building access and access to the individual apartments and common area, camera surveillance, temperature monitoring, and more. Salveto has also selected IPBuilding’s Smart Care solutions for the other new projects in the pipeline (incl. in Kalmthout and Mariaburg).

Smart Home Systems, more than a trend

Trend watchers agree: smart home systems have become an indispensable part of our society in which The Internet of Things is increasingly becoming a reality. The need for intelligently-connected systems continues to increase. Over the last decade, Internet Protocol (IP) has become the global standard for data, image, speech, services and communication between technologies with smart devices in homes and buildings. In addition to the almost organic growth, there is also the ever-stricter legislation on water and energy consumption that requires more rational consumption in order to reduce costs. Another irreversible social change is the ageing population, leading to an acute lack of care facilities. Active senior citizens want to live independently as long as possible in a safe and comfortable environment. However, many people will not be able to physically cope with continuing to live in a house that is not adapted to their age and needs.

Successful solutions

In order to anticipate the future, IPBuilding developed integrated all-in IP solutions for Smart Homes, Smart Buildings and Smart Assisted Living. In practice, this is a single, integrated information network, both wired and wireless, creating an interconnected environment for data, images, speech, automation and communication. All smart technologies and devices are combined into a single, easy-to-use platform. The solutions increase comfort, efficiency and safety, lead to energy savings and optimise communication.

Smart Homes & Buildings in practice

IPBuilding makes sure that all devices are able to communicate within a single, easy-to-use software platform. Unlike traditionally wired push buttons or sensors, these buttons and sensors not only control the predetermined lighting, but, if desired, also the heating, ventilation, sun blinds, multimedia and all kinds of automated features. The features can easily be changed via the software, without the need for rewiring, demolition or construction work.

User-friendly and flexible

The system can be used by way of push buttons, sensors and touch screens. The information is displayed on the touchscreen, smartphone, tablet or computer and is so clear and intuitive that anyone can get the hang of it in no time, even residents who are less well-versed in recent IT trends.

Link with platforms

IPBuilding solutions have been developed in an open source and brand-independent manner, on the IP protocol, which guarantees that they are future-proof. As everything is programmed using the IP protocol, users can choose from a variety of products and brands for switches, screens and modules and they can be sure that their application will still be supported in the future. The systems are also modular and easy to expand on later. Links between the interfaces of various care and service platforms can be created smoothly, which means that the services and cooperation of IPBuilding are very interesting.