Future-Forward Homes
SA Home Owner|September 2020
Future-Forward Homes
There has been an enormous amount of change to our homes over the past 30 years. Shereen Lurie explores their form and function in the decades to come
Shereen Lurie

Want to know how the home of the future looks and functions? We spoke to a panel of expert home design and tech professionals who are on top of industry trends.

EXCITING TECHNOLOGIES TO LOOK FORWARD TO

We’re already enjoying numerous useful technologies, and can look forward to many more in the future. High-speed internet and the integration of household devices are two of the most prominent features facilitating these new technologies. According to Warren Husband, solutions architect and client liaison at Homemation, we are seeing more and more devices in the home having some form of internet or network connectivity. “This allows automation integrators the ability to include more devices to work together for the comfort and convenience of the family. Smart coffee machines can be switched on when your automation system wakes you up, or [smart systems can] ensure that kitchen appliances and gas fireplaces have been switched off when going to bed or leaving the home.”

Jacques Steyn, home automation sales and cinema design sales manager at Smart Spaces, adds that voice control is a big trend at the moment, and is evolving quite rapidly, becoming easier and integrated into more and more devices like TVs, wireless speakers and amps. Brett Farquharson, owner and director of Audio Motive Distributors, explains that now that we have access to endless quality music, via our mobile devices, listening to our favourite tracks doesn’t need to be restricted to living rooms and other internal living areas. “We have audio products that can be used outdoors on pool patios and sundecks and any general outdoor entertainment areas. These products are not only water-resistant but also made from marine-grade materials.”

Christian Gottschalk, principal of Green Evolution Architecture, believes that in the future it will be important to integrate systems that measure and manage our water and electricity consumption into our homes. “We already have access to such systems but home owners need to be prepared to make the relevant budgets for such systems available as they can come with quite a significant price tag. The philosophy of ‘if you measure it, you can manage it’ is key to making these types of systems relevant in a world trying to reduce energy consumption. In addition to that, having control of your entire electrical installation in your house through your mobile phone or tablet with user-friendly apps is quite an exciting prospect.”

Looking forward, it will be imperative that home technology works together as a cohesive unit. Nick Caripis, managing director of BNC Technology, believes that the internet of things is here to stay and growing rapidly. “What this means is that every device in the home will be able to communicate with you and give you feedback of some sort. All devices will be connected to the internet and artificial intelligence (AI) will be the next big thing. As a result, devices will get smarter and will continuously learn to adapt to your habits and needs, either making recommendations for you or automating tasks. AI will be presenting itself at a rapid pace and the personal assistant will play an important role in the home.”

The team from SG Studio says that with the rise in smarter homes and technologies, homes will be able to detect and self-regulate to what is required to be at its most comfortable and most energy-efficient. “Homes will be able to respond differently and automatically to each person inhabiting a room. Homes might one day form part of a ‘building internet’ where information is shared between one another to constantly improve and respond to specific occurrences.” Enrico Daffonchio, principal architect and founder of Daffonchio and Associates Architects, adds that as this happens at individual building level, a meta-integration and analysis of the data generated by each office or household will help with running cities more efficiently not only from an energy perspective, but also from a waste disposal, health and security aspect. “Data mapping will also generate real-time information to be used in the design of new buildings, cities, products.”

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September 2020