Homes of the Future: Exciting Breakthroughs in Home Technology

Thanks to the latest breakthroughs in technology, renters and homeowners alike are interacting with their homes in all sorts of new and exciting ways.

For instance, smart locks on our doors that we can control through our iPhones remove the need for carrying keys around in our purses and pockets. Shopping lists are no longer necessary when refrigerators are able to keep track of how many eggs are left in the carton, and the appliance orders groceries by itself! 

Naturally, these new "smart" appliances--also known as the "Internet of Things"--will soon have a MAJOR impact on the physical design of homes and other buildings as well as many of the amenities contained within them. 

What else does the future have in store? Realtor Mag has some fascinating insight:

Shifting Energy

Smart innovations will allow lighting and temperature changes to happen automatically, based on settings and environmental factors, without the need for human intervention. “I think thermostats will start to disappear in the next 10 years,” says Chad Curry, managing director of the National Association of REALTORS®’ Center for REALTOR® Technology. 

What will also excite sustainability-minded consumers is the potential for houses to create their own energy. This new ability will affect architecture and design. In the past, builders have purposefully minimized a home’s sun exposure in order to keep cooling costs down. But a residential space that incorporates solar panels might benefit from the opposite orientation. 

Retail at the Front Door

Seamless, anyone? Much of the need for change is driven by shifts in consumer habits, especially in the way of dining. Increasing interest in home-delivered meal prep kits and grocery delivery challenges traditional drop-off sites. After all, drivers can’t just place a grocery store order in a communal fridge until the resident who ordered it is ready to put everything away; the ice cream will melt and the bananas will turn brown. In addition, the rise of ride-sharing services and autonomous vehicles will change how residents use parking lots, driveways, and entrances. In multifamily environments, drones and robotic concierge services will force design changes to rooftops and elevators, to ensure unmanned aerial vehicles can land and make deliveries safely and without disrupting the flow of human traffic. Some buildings may even see a return of the old-fashioned freight elevator, this time operated by delivery robots.

William Mainguy, vice president of strategy for Burrard Group, a real estate development company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, has these sorts of problems on his mind. His company is working to solve them for a new condo development in Seattle called NEXUS, incorporating high-tech communications, electronic guest passes that work with smart elevators, and interfaces for managing utility use and homeowners association needs into the building’s structure. “We’re thinking about how to more efficiently design the space and leverage smart furniture,” he says. “Anyone who’s trying to sell the residential product or tell the story has to become really savvy about the difference between simply adding the technology and truly integrating it.”

Like Mainguy, many real estate developers are already thinking ahead, creating smarter delivery holding areas that can change temperature based on how much and what type of food is stored in them. Drone landing pads and parking spaces specifically for electric and autonomous vehicles are being added in markets across the country.