A few weeks ago, I featured several homes that provided a glimpse into the future of homebuilding. As a follow up, I figured I’d share what I think the home of the future will look like, featuring smart home building products and materials. Here are some key features to consider.
Our refrigerators and pantries could very well help us better organize and use our food. In the future, when we bring groceries home from the store, refrigerators and pantries will scan the barcode on every product and keep an inventory of all of the food in our house. When we are running low on something or when an item is about to expire, our refrigerators and pantries will alert us with a message to our smartphone. When it’s time for a grocery store trip, we can select all of the recipes we plan to make for the week and our smartphone will automatically create our grocery list for us based on the content of our pantries.
At dinner time, we will be able to look up a recipe in our digital recipe book based on the ingredients we have in stock. Meals will be prepared well in advance of serving and kept refrigerated in the oven until time to cook. Whether you’re at the office all day, or gone on vacation for a week, the oven will switch from cooling to heating at the proper time to have dinner ready when you get home. And you will be able to control the oven from your smartphone, just in case you’re going to be late.
The surfaces in our homes will be fully integrated with our technology. Our mirrors, countertops, and windows will act as larger versions of our smartphones. We will be able to access weather, traffic, news, and our social circles with the touch of a finger throughout our homes. We will seamlessly be able to transfer information from one surface or device to another.
Thermostats and HVAC units will be even smarter than they are now. As several companies have started exploring multi-tiered pricing systems, thermostats will know how much energy costs at every minute of the day and program themselves to heat and cool the home in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. They will be able to sense when people are in the home and when they are not and adjust the temperature accordingly. Temperature adjustments will be able to be made on a room by room basis depending on the time of day and traffic frequency (high traffic areas like the living room and kitchen will be cooler during hot summer days while bedrooms will be cooler at night).
No more losing the remote in the couch cushions! Remotes for our devices will no longer exist. Using motion sensor technology and voice controls, we will tell our TVs, music players, video recorders, and all our other gadgets exactly what to do.
Lighting and Outlets
All lighting in the house will be equipped with motion sensors to automatically turn lights off when no one is in the room and turn on when someone enters the room. Electrical outlets will be able to turn the flow of electricity on and off depending on whether the device plugged into them is on or off. These smart outlets will solve the problem of phantom power use by our devices when they are turned off.
Plumbing fixtures will monitor the flow of water. Taking into account the fixture outflow and subsequent drainage, fixtures will be able to adjust the flow automatically to conserve water or speed up bottle and bucket filling. Toilets will not only use water more efficiently but will be able to analyze the contents of the stool to monitor the health of a person’s internal systems. Outdoor sprinkler systems will be equipped with more accurate rain sensors to monitor soil moisture levels in many areas of the landscape. Combining this information with current and future weather conditions, sprinkler systems will be able to determine the most effective time to water, how much water is needed, and which areas of a property need water.
Sound too far-fetched?
If you think these ideas sound like something only existing in Hollywood blockbusters, consider the technology available today: bar and QR codes, TMIO’s intelligent oven, programmable thermostats, motion sensors, tablet PCs, Microsoft Surface, Xbox Kinect, network hardware and software, and the list goes on. All it will take for my home of the future to become a reality is for these technologies to be integrated seamlessly into the structure of the home, its systems and its furnishings.
What does your home of the future look like?