What do you imagine when you think of the house of the future? Perhaps you dream that all new builds will be high performance / Passivhaus. Or do you imagine a robot PA helping you manage your time and a gadget for everything? Whatever your take on it according to research by Unruly (more below) 67% of Brits think a connected home will make their lives happier, safer or healthier in the future. But what is a connected home and what might it mean for you?
“Alexa, how do I self-build the home of the future?”
In the movie Her by Spike Jonze, Theodore Twombly lives in a futuristic smart city designed around comfort and ease, but his life starts to go wrong when he falls in love with his virtual assistant. On its release in 2014, the film felt like science fiction, however, after a recent Kiss outing we learned that it’s almost science fact!
Two of the Kiss team visited the future at the Unruly offices in London and met with Simon Gosling – a futurist at the video ad tech company. In December 2016, Simon received what is arguably one of the most enviable job specs of recent time when the firm’s CEO Sarah Wood gave him the following request:
“I want you to build me the home of the future.”
Simon grabbed the opportunity by the scruff of the neck, dusted off his trusty contacts book and with the support of a great team brought the Home concept to life.
Unruly’s motivation for creating the ‘house of the future’ – which is currently on show at their Whitechapel HQ in London – is to help marketers understand how people will live in 2020 and beyond. Subsequently, it’s informing brands on how they can enhance a consumer’s experience in the home.
But do people want to engage with this technology in the home? Yes. According to the findings of the Unruly Future Home Study 84% of UK consumers would be open to brands engaging with them in the connected home. Moreover 67% of Brits think a connected home will make their lives happier, safer or healthier.
As Simon gave us a tour around his creation, it became clear that many Millennials and even many Generation X techies are not afraid of “The Internet of Things”-type technology, robots and virtual / augmented reality at home; in fact, they expect it.
Several key innovations jumped out and gave us a byte, such as:
- Google Tango augmented reality lets you take a photo of a space in your home that you want to improve and then you can search for products – such as a new table or sofa – and see what they will look like in your home (and that’s just the start of it).
- Voice activated everything. Virtual assistants like Alexa understand your purchasing habits, preferences and what’s happening in your calendar. Here’s an example, you get home from work:“Kiss, you have an awards ceremony, you will need a suit / dress, would you like to see what you will look like in some stylish sales items I found for you?”
You say yes and a holographic image of what you will look like appears in the mirror. You like it, order it, and no stressful trip to the smoke is necessary.
- Click and Grow (vertical) wall farms where consumers are sent seeds in soil and then grow their own indoor fresh produce and herbs in LED- lit shelving systems – it’s mail order coffee capsules for horticulturists, herbivores and foodies.“Kiss, you’ve run out of thyme.” “Yes Alexa, there are not enough hours in the day.” “Very funny, don’t give up the day job.”
But impressive as this is, Simon noted that the purpose of these immersive technologies is to simply assist us so that we can save time, relax and unwind at home. He added:
“Technology should add to our sense of wellbeing – it should blend in nicely into the background.”
Undoubtedly, as some of us are cursing our lost remote controls and dreaming of a super-connected home with talking fridges and mirrors, others may feel that this technology is a tad too much. But, as Simon reminded us, we do have control of these mechanisms: “We can always just unplug,” he said.
And speaking of ‘unplugging’, let’s not forget that the human drive to return to nature – to a place that we find peaceful and beautiful – is a core part of who we all are. So much so that, during these times of heightened security and political uncertainty, the buzz word hygge (pronounced “HUE-gah”) frequently popped up during Simon’s research for the Home project.
“Hygge is a Danish word which means a cosy, warm, fuzzy sensation – a nice, safe, feeling inside. Overwhelmingly, people being interviewed said that their home should evoke this feeling. Their home should be their sanctuary.”
With Hygge in mind, Simon told the Kiss team:
“It’s a beautiful space that you are creating. It [the Kiss design] has a simplicity to it and the themes of the house of the future sit comfortably within that environment.”
Kiss House is excited about these developments and how technology and design can combine to improve our health, wellness and wellbeing. We highly recommend a trip to the home of the future, you can book a visit here. Simon has taken some very complicated technology and Kept It Simple, and you know we love that.
More info here including two of our Pinterest Boards with images about the Internet of Things & Hygge: