What YOUR house will look like by 2041: Future Homes report predicts people will live in cheaper factory-built homes with underground greenhouses and hold meetings with holograms
- Vodafone teamed up with UK’s leading housing experts for Future Homes report
- Experts revealed homes will have common place AI and AR by 2024 with robots to alert family members dinner is ready and to look after pets a popular choice
- Underground greenhouses and technology to monitor food in fridge to be norm
- Meetings will be revolutionised as home workers are able to collaborate with other participants who are projected onto virtual seats around a table
Brits can expect robots that will take care of their dogs, fridges that track their food and home built by crane by 2041, according to a new report.
Vodafone teamed up with some of the UK’s leading housing experts for the Future Homes report, which explores what houses will look like in 20 years time.
UK architect and presenter of The Home that 100k Built, Piers Taylor; the Royal Institute of Architects’ first Vice President for Research, Flora Samuels; and leading tech analyst at CCS Insight, Ben Wood, teamed up to reveal the very modern home we will see in the future.
The report also details how the impact of the pandemic has forever changed the way we use our homes, and has been released alongside new research polling UK homeowners, identifying what Britons now want out of their homes.
Brits can expect robots that will take care of their dogs, fridges that track their food and home built by crane by 2041, according to a new report. Pictured: A hologram ‘colleague’ a robot that can care for a pet, and a personalised living space
Robots that take care of your pets – and tell the kids when dinner’s ready
Ben Wood, one of the world’s leading tech analysts, with more than 25 years’ experience in the mobile sector, said that robot helpers are likely to be common in the home.
As Chief Analyst overseeing research at CCS Insight, he is an expert on what the future of home connectivity will look like and says he can all expect home assistant robots in the future.
‘The home-assistant robot will be able to move around the home like a remote-controlled car, providing real-time updates to an owner’s smartphone, with a live video stream offering peace of mind by checking whether a door has been left open, a pipe has sprung a leak or even something as mundane as confirming that the post has arrived.
As well as AI, Ben also highlights impending developments in augmented reality (AR) as being key in the future home. Smart glasses are set to become major new products from 2022.
Meetings will be revolutionised as home workers are able to collaborate with other participants who are projected onto virtual seats around a table
‘Imagine a world where the smart glasses you are wearing personalise your surroundings’. says Ben.
‘Each member of a household will be able to arrange the space with their own choices of artwork, virtual clocks and windows into different worlds.
‘Meetings will be revolutionised as home workers are able to collaborate with other participants who are projected onto virtual seats around a table.
‘Home design will become highly interactive; architects and garden planners will be able to overlay multiple virtual versions of redesigned rooms and garden spaces to allow their customers to understand how a transformation would look.’.
It won’t just be humans in a home that will benefit from connected tech, says Ben.
‘Pet owners working away from home or located in an office elsewhere in the house or garden will be able to remotely trigger the smart feeder for their dog and use the built-in camera in the feeder to keep an eye on their pet too.
‘This will evolve so that home robots will be able to look after and entertain your pets when you are not available, by playing games or providing companionship.’
Ben also says that robot drones are likely to be a key development, accessing areas that robots on wheels cannot get to.
‘These will be able to provide other useful functions – sharing messages with others in the home, finding the kids and telling them that dinner is ready, or delivering other messages will be possible.’
Crane built homes and heightened AI will create a ‘real life SimCity’
Flora Samuel is Professor of Architecture in the Built Environment at the new School of Architecture at the University of Reading.
Flora thinks that Brits could experience a ‘real life SimCity’ thanks to heightened use of artificial intelligence devices – such as Amazon Echos and Google Homes – in the house.
Flora says that, thanks to the pandemic, developments in futuristic housing are moving fast, with fewer high-rise homes that require lifts where you can’t socially distance, and a greater emphasis on more cohesive, low-rise community housing.
Those that find themselves in new homes in 2041 will have either built them themselves, or more commonly, live in buildings that are made in factories.
‘These will be built in modules off site, craned into place and then finished off by local builders to add both personal detail and a local touch.
‘This will be the best way to get cheap, high performance custom homes.
‘Research indicates that people want distinctive homes that show evidence of great care in the detail, known as “homely modern”.’
Building homes in factories speeds up the house building process because it’s not affected by the weather, in turn making building sites more productive.
Flora says that people who buy on such ‘collective custom build’ sites will be able to pick modules for their home from a catalogue.
‘For those who have been brought up on games like SimCity, Second Life or Minecraft, making a digital design, and even ordering the components online from the comfort of your sofa, should be both fun and easy,’ she said.
Flora Samuel is Professor of Architecture in the Built Environment at the new School of Architecture at the University of Reading, says that homes will be craned into place and then finished off by local builders in the future and underground greenhouses will be commonplace
None of this will happen by magic, says Ben. Complete connectivity will be essential.
‘Never has it been more important to have a total connectivity package,’ says Ben.
‘Connections into the home need to be supported by exceptional, whole-home Wi-Fi.
‘The obvious question is how much bandwidth will a highly connected household ultimately need? It’s clear that great progress is being made.
‘We’ve seen dramatic improvements in fixed-line and mobile bandwidth over the past three decades, going from a mere 9.6 kilobits per second on mobile and 56.6 kilobits per second on fixed-line communications to gigabit speeds on both.
‘On this basis, it’s rational to expect a tenfold increase over the next two decades and this makes the expectation of anywhere between two and 10 gigabits per second a reasonable estimate.
‘Without this, meeting consumers’ new demands for seamless communications and navigating the journey to future smart experiences will be impossible. As speeds get ever faster, the road to ubiquitous multi-gigabit connectivity in the home is now a realistic outcome as connectivity touches every part of our lives.
85 per cent of Brits say that having strong broadband in all corners of their home is important.
The complete dependence on online shopping over the past year, driven by lockdowns and powered by home broadband, is set to make such an approach easier than ever.
The good news is that, from a design perspective, these newer houses will be more diverse and interesting than current builds and, vitally, be built to higher environmental standards.
That also means they’ll be very cheap to run in terms of energy, adds Flora.
‘Homes themselves will generally be designed flexibly to allow for easy changes of use and to be recycled when they are no longer needed,’ she added.
‘This involves partitions that are easy to move or take down, plenty of storage and natural light, and ventilation that is automatically controlled for optimum performance.’
‘Homes are already becoming more digitally enabled and this technology is likely to become even more prevalent, with Alexa, Siri and the like tracking food in our fridges, our blood pressure, body fat and exercise through fitness tech, as well as our utilities and at-home security.
‘All of this tech will generate data that, with our permission, will be fed back into ‘”dashboards” for homes, allowing people to find out all sorts of important things about where they live.
‘This in turn will be collated to help with the building of “digital twins” virtual models of places and cities that will enable decision makers to plan for a better future.’
Compact neighbourhoods not sprawling cities
Flora added: ‘The 20-minute neighbourhood will be an idea that is enshrined in policy, meaning that people will be able to access basic amenities, food, health and innovation space within a 20 minute walk of their front door.
‘An increased demand for app-based services like Deliveroo will mean that increased connectivity will be a vital part of such communities.
‘By 2041, active travel, walking and cycling, with links to public transport, will become the norm, as it is in places like Denmark and Holland.’
A growing understanding of the importance of outdoor space, both private and communal, means that any new developments will place such considerations front and centre.
‘That parks and green spaces are vital to health and wellbeing has become very obvious during the pandemic,’ say Flora.
‘In future, all homes will have to have access to fresh air and natural light in the form of some sort of private outdoor space or balcony. ‘Not only are trees great for shade and to reduce flooding and carbon, people love them too. In Melbourne, trees even have email addresses.
‘People have been using this as an opportunity to send them love letters.’ Flora says that this will be reflected in greater ecological awareness from planners, as well as the utilisation of common outdoor spaces for growing food locally.
‘Plants and greenery will be everywhere, even in the dark – smart tech will be used to keep plants healthy in the dark, allowing for food to be grown underground to maximise space. This approach is already in use at Growing Underground, a farm found in a tunnel under Clapham in South London’.
The report also details how the impact of the pandemic has forever changed the way we use our homes, and has been released alongside new research polling UK homeowners, identifying what Brits now want out of their homes. Image of a future home pictured
How Covid-19 pandemic marked the third key change in home design and will cause the end of open plan living
Piers Taylor is one of Britain’s leading architects, and an expert in understanding what the house of the future might look like.
For Piers, there are three key historic events which have shaped our homes and play a vital role in understanding how they will change over the next 20 years – and he says we’re already seeing the end of the open plan trend.
‘The first of these was the invention of the chimney, around the time of the Norman invasion in 1066. This revolutionised the design of houses, meaning that ceilings were lowered, while upper spaces were no longer filled with smoke.
‘By Georgian times, from the early 1700s onwards, every house was made up of cellular rooms, each of which had a fireplace.
‘The second change was a concept heralded by Modernism around 100 years ago: The idea of open plan living.’
The interplay of these two developments remains key to this day, explains Piers.
‘In many ways, modern life for the past 100 years or so has been about the tension between the idea of ‘home’ as an environment where separation is provided by the division of space through rooms, in contrast to a boundaryless, open plan space with no acoustic privacy.
‘Throughout this time, most of us compartmentalised our lives into separate realms where we lived and played at home and worked somewhere else.’ Then came the most recent and important change to our idea of home: Covid-19.
‘Overnight, and quicker than any other change in history, we radically altered what we did in our domestic spaces. Suddenly our homes were where we lived and worked, with no separation or privacy. And in most cases, our homes weren’t ready for it.
‘Our lives and working patterns have changed forever, and for the better,’ he says.
‘Most of us have had a taste of the autonomy and freedom that comes with choosing how and where we work, and most employers have realised that there is no loss in terms of productivity if we work for some or all of the time from home.’
The issue, however, lies in reconciling these new patterns with our domestic spaces. Creating the house of the future is about adapting what we have and adding space where we can. While things aren’t going back to normal, we can make the most of these changes and find positive outcomes to the events of the past year.
Covid-19, says Piers, has raised the opportunity to rethink how rooms are used.
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