Technology is ever changing and evolving. Just think back to ten years ago. The iPhone didn’t even exist yet. We’d barely even heard of a tablet, let alone realise that we’d come to rely on them. It doesn’t take long for a new technology to become ingrained into our daily lives.
This rings true in our own homes too. Can you remember a time when we didn’t have instant access to the internet? It’s strange to think that the internet has only had a place in the home for about 10-15 years. It’s even less when you think about high speed broadband.
Broadband was the last huge technological change in the home. But, we’re about to hit another major milestone. We’re about to enter the era of smart homes. The internet has quickly grown powerful and is evolving fast. Soon, our homes will use wifi to monitor and anticipate everything that goes on in the house. This is called ‘the internet of things’ and we’ll discuss it in more detail below.
As well as the internet taking its next big step, we’ll start to see big changes in entertainment. This will revolutionise our TVs and gaming equipment. These machines change and upgrade as fast as our smartphones. They are getting more advanced with every iteration. However, 2015 is the year we’ll see virtual reality and augmented reality really creep into the home. It’s exciting stuff. Let’s take a detailed look at all the home technology on the horizon.
The Internet of Things
The clumsy title doesn’t quite convey the revolutionary power that this technology will bring. At its most basic level, it means that our electrical appliances will think for themselves. In fact, the house will think for itself. It will control and monitor itself and everything in it. Your everyday electrical systems will learn your routines and mould themselves around you. Let’s take some specific examples.
We’ll start small. Your home will soon learn that your alarm goes off at 6.30am. It knows that you turn the shower on at 6.35 and you reach the kitchen ten minutes later. It already knows that you want a coffee at this time (but only on the weekdays, you get up later at the weekend). When you walk downstairs, the machine has already made the coffee for you. This is a very inconsequential example, but it explains the system. Essentially, your house will become ‘smart’.
This has real, practical implications too. It’s more than just a sophisticated coffee maker. For example, the house will monitor its energy consumption. It will track your usage of various appliances, lighting and heating. It will automatically preserve energy based around your usage. It will turn off lights when you’re not in the room. It will turn down heating in the rooms you use less. It will automatically send meter readings to your supplier and adjust consumption.
It will be a slow learning curve with this technology, but it will become a silent addition to every home.
As a by product of this ‘internet of things’, homes will soon come with improved security. The biggest of these will be facial recognition systems. In the future, rather than use a key to enter the home, you may rely on retina scans. This ensures complete security and peace of mind. You’ll also be able to install perimeter sensors and CCTVs with facial recognition technology. In some cases, these systems will alert the police immediately.
Your home will also harness the ‘internet of things’ while you’re away on holiday. Potential burglars can often spot a vacant house when homeowners are away. In the future, you’ll be able to set the home to mimic the last two week’s lighting usage. Essentially, it will seem like someone’s home at all times.
Everyone loves home entertainment gadgets. Televisions have come along way over the last decade. We’ve gone from chubby, box TVs with antenna aerials, to high-definition, flatscreens. The evolution is quite staggering. Yet, it’s about to get even better. 3D technology will soon be commonplace in the home. We are already seeing beautiful curved screens hit the market. Perhaps most beautiful of all are the transparent TVs. When turned off, they simply look like a pane of glass.
They will all be complete with wifi blu ray players. They’ll have streaming options for the likes of Netflix and Hulu. You’ll be able to burn blue rays and watch your favourite films instantly.
It is in the world of gaming that we are in for a real treat. In 2015, we’ll see the introduction of the ‘Oculus Rift’ headset. It will be the first major virtual reality headset to hit the market. It is a Kickstarter success story, raising millions of dollars in donations to get started. Games are currently in production and soon we will immerse ourselves entirely in our games. We will be able to see in 360 degree vision around us. We will walk around our games as though we were really there.
3D printers have already revolutionised many industries. They have been powerful in the world of medicine. These printers can build artificial legs to an exact specification. It has changed the lives of amputees. Perhaps more impressively, they can print replacement organ parts for time sensitive cases. They have also changed the world of design and technology. Prototypes can be quickly mocked up and printed, rather than rely on third parties.
However, we are yet to see them find a place in our homes. 2015 may be the year when that begins to change. The cost of the technology is coming down. They will soon be an affordable reality for our home offices. We will soon come to rely on them to create spare parts for broken appliances. They will make containers, cups and plates. Of course, these are just the humble beginnings. It will take time to find the most practical uses for them.
The future is an exciting place, and it is just around the corner. Everything listed here is already on the market or in production. They really are the future of our homes.