Let us start with a crisp and clear bit of data: according to Mercer's 25th annual cost of living survey, Dhaka was ranked the 47th most expensive city in the world.
This may seem fantastical in a country where many people still do not even enjoy the basic provisions of running water or sanitary toilets. But Dhaka, the dream metropolitan where the Bangladeshi people dream of having a perfect life, really is a very expensive place to live in.
In the recent years, the demand for high-end apartments with large floor space and luxury amenities have grown among the denizens of Dhaka. As there is seemingly no shortage of people willing to spend money on a modernised apartment, it is only a matter of time before smart homes start popping up in Dhaka.
In fact, one such apartment building is already on its way to be constructed in the heart of Gulshan.
A smart home is one with a home automation system that controls lighting, climate and entertainment systems, not to mention appliances and even access control and alarm systems. Turning a room into a 'smart' one is now possible with the help of Alexa or Google.
But a whole apartment building with these smart features would be the ultimate luxury that money can buy, surely. With this concept in mind, real estate firm Building Technology and Ideas Limited is constructing "Three".
Builders have begun to make apartments that are more spacious nowadays. The Suvastu Preetil Heights building beside Gulshan lake is one such example, which is erected on 13 kathas (1.09 acres) of land and has 28 apartments, the largest of which is 5,254 square feet.
Aside from smart features, apartments of Three also consist of large space. Each floor of the building contains one apartment that is a whopping 7,000+ square feet.
Building Technology and Ideas Limited has developed more than 300 apartment buildings in Dhaka and Chattogram. The company categorises its apartments as premium, classic, and high-standard which range from 2,500 to 5,000 square feet in size. However, Three falls into platinum category.
The technological aspects of Three are futuristic, where the security of an apartment can be set up as a thumbprint or can be operated by voice or app. Appliances are controlled from a single smart hub, which can be accessed through a smartphone app.
Some lights operate using motion sensors to optimise power consumption. The whole building is climate-controlled, meaning air temperature, air quality and water treatment are all guaranteed. There is also an emergency button which may come in handy for families that have elderly people and/or small children.
What was the motivation behind taking up such an ambitious project?
The executive director (marketing) of Building Technology and Ideas Limited, Md Mahmudul Kabir, told The Business Standard, "We have always been taking new initiatives in the real estate industry. A lot of new concepts in the industry have been introduced by us.
"Following that tradition, we decided to focus on our luxury+ projects and push our boundaries regarding their design, features, technology integration and construction. Once completed, Three will be a notable milestone for us."
Kabir said his company also plans to construct more smart homes in the future.
"We at Building Technology and Ideas think a smart lifestyle is the way to go," he explained.
"All our platinum products are invariably smart homes. Our premium projects have smart features to some extent. Going forward, we plan to integrate smart features into our regular projects once we successfully normalise the concept of a smart lifestyle and the features become more affordable," he said.
"We are currently in our research and development phase. We are working with both internal teams and external vendors to do research on how to achieve this goal."
Talking about the future of home automation in Bangladesh, Kabir said it is not just about smart features and technology but also about the art of living.
"While working on Three project, we made sure to keep in mind that we would design it by utilising the space efficiently and would give it a unique style. The location, greenery, and technology add to the sense of freedom.
"Having said that, we plan to incrementally improve these smart concepts and be at the forefront of smart lifestyle development, normalising it as a part of people's regular way of life," added Kabir.