How SCG’s housing technology can help Asians beat the heat

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By Arra B. Francia

BANGKOK, THAILAND — Southeast Asian countries all experience one thing in common: the hot and humid weather that is a persistent presence all year round. For this week, temperatures in the Philippines are projected to play around the 30-degree Celsius level.

Here in Thailand, Siam Cement Group Public Company Limited (SCG) is introducing new ways to help homeowners in Asia combat the tropical heat. Combining materials with high energy efficiency labels and smart technology, the company has developed the AIRFlow and Well AIR systems that lets customers control ventilation systems in their homes.

“Active Airflow, our own innovation, is the way we force air by using the ventilation system controlled by smart technology, based on what you prefer,” SCG Cement Building Materials Brand Management and Communication Director Anuvat Chalermchai told reporters here last May 2.

The AIRFlow system is an application downloadable on smartphones, which can be used to control SCG-installed ventilation systems inside a house. The ventilation systems include having a roof that can better reflect sunlight and absorb heat, blocking it from entering the house; insulation above ceilings, and lightweight concrete.

“With the humid climate you feel very uncomfortable, even with the 25 degrees Celsius, you can feel a little bit sticky… The trick is how to make the air circulate in the house, let the cool air push the hot air away from your house up away from your ceiling,” Mr. Chalermchai explained.

Cooling solutions are among the dozens of products that SCG had on display during the Architect Expo ’18 held here from May 1 to 6.

The 105-year-old Thai firm welcomes around 400,000 people at its booth during the Architect Expo every year, showcasing its latest innovations in housing and construction materials. With around 70% of those visitors being homeowners, the company makes sure that its products fit the needs of customers guided by its “Passion for Better” slogan.

“It’s the way that we can show our brand promise to our customers. Passion for better in our context is passion for better living. What that means is we are going to provide the solution for the homeowners especially so they can have the best living factor,” Mr. Chalermchai said.

During the expo, SCG also unveiled the Home Buddy Application, branded as a thinking partner for home owners that can guide them in building a new house, renovating an existing one, or finding solutions for housing problems. The Home Buddy App connects users to end-to-end processes, from hiring consultants, to finding a contractor, up to project management.

While the app is only available in Thailand, the company is looking at testing it in other Southeast Asian countries as well.

Alongside developing housing solutions, SCG also went beyond building materials with the introduction of a robot it calls “Din Saw,” the Thai word for pencil. Designed with a square head that functions as a monitor, the Din Saw robot is SCG’s answer to helping elderly people with medical conditions.

“I think Thailand is one of the country that’s going to be an ageing society, just like many modern countries like Singapore and Japan… (There’s) a lot of elderly people, it’s a big segment so we want to provide a solution for this segment,” Mr. Chalermchai said.

The robot tracks bedridden seniors and instantly notifies family members or doctors through a mobile app should there be a lack of movement for a certain period. It can likewise track vital signs, give reminders for medication, store one’s medical history, and instruct them on recreational activities.

“It’s a companion robot that can be a friend of your parents that stay home with them alone, and you go out working if you can’t spend time with your parents during the day, this can be their friend. It can talk, sing a song, exercise, and even connect with you as well,” Mr. Chalermchai said.

Din Saw is part of SCG’s Eldercare solution, which also offers toilet accessories, mattress, cushion and bedding products, mobility devices, home use health care devices, and smart gadgets. More than this, SCG also connects homeowners to consultants with an in-depth understanding of the needs of the elderly.

For now, these SCG products have yet to be made available in the Philippines. But the SCG executive is hopeful that they can eventually use their local subsidiary, Mariwasa Siam Ceramics, Inc. — focused mostly on tile and ceramic products — as a platform to introduce other SCG products in the Philippine market.

“We use Mariwasa as a platform to introduce other products. Products will be imported from other production bases that we have in Southeast Asia, logistics and import to Philippine market. We see it as a very high growth country, which I hope will continue growing,” Mr. Chalermchai said.