What to expect in the homes of tomorrow

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Rapid advances in technology will revolutionise the way we interact with our homes in the near future.

We can all see the speed at which technology is moving, indeed the techno revolution has completely changed the playing fields and there is little to compare between how we live today and how things happened in the 70s, 80s or even the 90s. Cell phones, faster Internet and the advent of social media have all impacted on our lives enormously.

We are starting to move beyond robotic vacuumed cleaners and automated garage doors with the ‘Internet of things’ taking off. This involves smart devices in the home that share information with other devices and with you the homeowner via a consolidated user interface, like you smartphone. Apple, for instance, has now included a dedicated home automation App with its devices that lets you control and monitor your home from your phone, with your voice in the form of Siri, and even with the Apple Watch. Features like ‘set it and forget it’ allow you to automate common behaviours and settings such as opening your gate and garage door via your fingerprint, running your bath to the correct temperature and even boiling the kettle before you get up in the morning.

Experts looking into the immediate future, i.e. by 2025, believe that homes will have an ‘AI console’ that will control everything including lighting, temperature, monitor energy usage, security as well as alerting you if one of your electronic items is out of whack.

Things are set to change drastically in the kitchen too. Hydroponic growing stations which will allow homeowners to grow their own food in a controlled environment are going to become the norm and interactive cooking surfaces that transform from a work surface to a stove to a dining room table that keeps your food warm while you dine will be commonplace.

However, the one tool that's becoming universal is the 3D printer. In an article on the UK’s Rightmove site experts say that these machines will become as ubiquitous as televisions, printing out everything from clothes and electronic components, to food by using raw material and ‘recipes’ downloaded from the Internet.

Technology is going to continue to save us time. Items such as mirrors that will help you decide what to wear by showcasing what you will look like in various outfits without you having to get changed. Flexible display means that technology is going to be available everywhere including the shower where you will be able to read your emails, Facebook or catch up on Twitter on your shower curtain.

Remember how, in the old days, your TV was a piece of furniture and generally sat in a cabinet in the lounge and any hifi worthy of the name came with enormous speakers, never mind the surround sound gizmos that took up valuable space. These things are now regarded as technological dinosaurs - miniaturisation, multi-functionality and connectivity now allows these functions to be incorporated into one device.

As Bob Dylan once said, Times they are a changin’. There can be no argument that we are living in interesting times and the good news is that interesting times mean interesting homes.

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