Future Home Technology? Forget the Robots!
A recent article in The Times about future home and office technology has painted a pretty extraordinary picture of the kind of things that we can expect to be seeing all around us in years to come.
Some of the more eye-catching ‘smart’ technologies mentioned in the piece include algae-tinted windows in which autotrophic organisms grow when it’s sunny to create shading and automatically dissipate when the sun goes in. Oh, and flying robots that clean your windows (yep, really!). There’s also some more down-to-earth and realistic predictions included too, most of which revolve around the idea of the ‘Internet of Things’ – something we’re big believers of here at Loxone.
So while some ideas are purely theoretical and a demonstration of what could be possible rather than what will be possible, the general message of ‘technology finally coming to the fore in buildings’ is definitely on the money. And it’s good to hear people championing building technology and looking at how we can improve our surroundings as much as possible.
It can be tempting to consider cutting edge technology as fanciful and dwell on the more unusual ideas because they’re quite funny (we’re looking at you, flying cleaner robots), but glimpses into what kind of innovations could be around the corner should be taken seriously. After all, the more realistic ones could well become a major part of your life in the next few years. So don’t laugh too much! After all, who would have thought even a little while ago that it would be possible for your house to text you that you’ve left a window open when you’re leaving the house (have a quick look at our ‘Smart Suburbia’ case study for for more on that)?
The research came from the design & engineering consultancy firm Arup. Their ‘Foresight and Innovation Consultant’, Josef Hargrave said:
“There is a wealth of data that can be analysed to make buildings much more reactive to users. How many people are in a building? What are they doing? How much heat are they producing? How does that integrate with outside light levels, and climate? We will be able to create an environment that is constantly fine tuned.”
So what Mr. Hargrave is saying is that buildings, offices and homes will be greener and smarter in the future. And they will be. But they can be greener and smarter now, too. Sure, we might not see many airborne cyborgs dusting down windows that self-tint with stinky green seaweed at the moment, but there are plenty of other – less ridiculous – ways of making our buildings more efficient, that are available now.
At one point, the Arup expert says: “Already, for instance, there exist light bulbs whose colour can be controlled by smartphone.”
Sounds like someone’s been reading the Lighting section of the Loxone website to us! If he looked around the rest of the site (and we’re sure he did…) he’ll have seen that there are lots of things that can be implemented in buildings to improve them and make them work more intelligently and efficiently for us. We’re talking about things like:
- Smart, zoned heating control
- Remote control of lighting, sprinkler systems and electrical appliances
- Intelligent, reactive shading, based on room temperatures and sun elevation
- And so much more!
Attitudes are changing and people are realising that they can make the most of their homes and workplaces through automation and technology. Now we just need everyone to stop thinking that it’ll involve robots!