Ten York is a 65-storey Tridel condo development in downtown Toronto on a sliver of land between Harbour Street and York Street. The building has roughly 700 units. Before you even get to the fancy digital smart-home stuff, this building stands out for it’s spirited use of what could easily have been a throw-away plot of land. Look at that!
The heart of Ten York is called Tridel Connect. It’s the birth-child of Tridel’s collaboration with real estate technology company SmartONE Solutions. They have brought cutting-edge technology from South Korea to create the most advanced smart-community tech in Canada to date.
Is this the future of smart home condo development in Toronto?
The smart-home technology is designed to make everyday living easier and more convenient, with an emphasis on security. You can get into the building using your phone and assign a pinpad access code to your front door. There’s no need for a key. The main goal is improved security and complete connectivity. Every unit in the building is connected with unlimited, ultra-high speed 500 mps internet, with guest internet available in the common areas.
The building mailroom features a secure parcel delivery system with verification pick up codes delivered to your phone. That’s pretty nice. No more Canada Post of UPS notes stickered to your door and the wait to pick up your goods at Shopper’s Drug Mart or wherever. Though it looks like individual mail slots are still using key access.
The smart-home features of Tridel Connect all come together in a control panel called the Commax, which is a screen display unit installed in each condo. There’s a slight George Orwell 1984 vibe to it, though it’s probably no more menacing or creepy than Amazon’s smart-home application Alexa secretly laughing at you. It’s fully connected and capable of future extensions for new services and applications. A full back-up generator is installed in the basement, ready to respond in the event of a power outage.
One of the main features of the Commax is the visual display concierge, allowing residents to see their guests in the lobby when they buzz your unit. Additionally, you can view the building’s security cameras in the lobby, garage, and front and rear entrances to the building.
The Tridel Connect also allows you direct digital control over the thermostat, a daily weather app, a visitor log, a security alarm system, and a schedule of all building notices for maintenance or service updates that is synced to your phone, so you can be notified while away of what’s going on at home and in the building.
Check out some B-roll footage of the building presentation video to see more features like the exercise equipment in the building’s gym that are tagged with QR codes, giving users a quick walkthrough on the equipment. As well, entry to the parking garage uses license plate scanning.
Is Toronto leading the way for cities of the future?
The emergence of Ten York into the Toronto condo market makes us think about other smart-tech developments happening in Toronto. One of the big ones is Sidewalk Labs’ planned neighbourhood Quayside.
“Now is the ideal time to start figuring out how do we leverage technology to make cities better,” says Joseph Sirefman, Head of Development at Sidewalk Labs, a company that has partnered with Waterfront Toronto to create a new kind of urban community that will hopefully become an example for other cities around the world about how to build cities of the future.
Quayside is Sidewalk Labs’ pre-planned community for the area near Easy Bayfront and Port Lands. It’s a section of Toronto’s eastern waterfront previously reserved for dockland and industrial use. Sidewalk Toronto (which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet) purchased the land from the City of Toronto a few years ago with the plan to create a fully immersive “smart-city”.
One of the main pillars of the project is the inclusion of data-collection on community activity. The data would be used to actively improve the community’s technological core. Essentially, the smart-community would be learning how to be better each day. Of course, the mass data-inclusion is also one of the biggest concerns with the project, because Sidewalk Labs’ would likely retain ownership of the data, and the City of Toronto would be left out of the loop. There is a lot more to this issue and the project. Check out their site to learn more about Sidewalk Toronto.
But what about the cost of smart-home living?
A concern we have held in the past regarding “smart-home” technology is the issue of rapid technological advancement. The on-going increase in digital technology, new features and upgrades. At the near super-sonic rate at which modern tech is advancing, will a smart-home building become obsolete within a few years or will it require a complete technological overhaul? And who is going to foot the bill for something like that?
Since Ten York is under construction, set for registration in the summer of 2019, we lack condo sales price history to analyze the financial realities of this new wave of smart home technology.
A big concern will be the impact of the smart-home features on condo maintenance fees. How much will it cost to maintain and service these building-wide digital convenience features? For individual owners, simple questions might arise such as, “Am I paying more for the building-wide unlimited internet versus setting up a private internet service for my own condo?” For the green-living community, “Is an electronic home control centre more environmentally friendly than a classic lock and key?”
Smart-homes and smart-cities may very well be the future of urban development in Toronto, but will they be a solution or will they only add to the city’s growing affordability crisis?
What do you think?