In our Intelligent World 2030 report, we discuss how technology will change almost every aspect of life, focusing on “8 Outlooks” that will unfold over the next decade. In post 4 of this series, we look how our living spaces will no longer be the same by 2030 – think smarter, more intuitive, greener, and friendlier!
And don’t miss the first three posts!
How many appliances and devices do you now have in your home? How many of these are smart and connected? If you’ve got at least one, then you’re like 70% of today’s households in the US. Even if you don’t yet, you probably will soon, as the global smart homes market continues to grow — it’s expected to hit US$78 billion this year and US$182 billion by 2025.
By 2030 though, you won’t just have a few smart devices — your entire home will be one smart system. It will intuitively adapt to your unique needs: from the moment you wake up in a bed that’s adjusted its softness to your sleep patterns, to a coffee prepared to taste and a fridge that has calculated your calorie intake for the day, to returning home where the temperature has already been adjusted to your comfort and the TV has turned on to your favorite channel.
Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?
But smart homes aren’t just about comfort and convenience. They will also have a social role to play. Using a variety of sensors and optimization technologies (like AI algorithms), smart homes will be better at using and saving energy. Already today, smart thermostats are saving users 10–12% in heating and 15% in cooling costs. Other tech, like smart washing machines, fridges, light bulbs, and plugs, are also on their way to smarter energy consumption. Linking with energy providers to optimize cost and usage, these smart devices are educating users about sustainable living, making homes greener.
Besides being green, smart homes are also going to be safer. Adding smart security, homes will help care for us. For example, smart homes will be able to detect falls or other incidents, which will be invaluable for protecting the elderly. Parents will be able to babysit from any room with remote monitoring. Sensors will detect gas leaks, preventing fires.
Your home will be safe, green, smart, and comfortable.
As the world stayed home, more people have invested in their living spaces. The use of new technologies has shot up as has the spirit of innovation. We can’t be sure what innovations are yet to come, but some are already changing the way we live. For example, Ori is bringing transformable spaces to our homes. Bedrooms seamlessly transform into offices in the morning and back at night, allowing for a smarter use of limited square footage as, for many, work moves online.
Did you know that an average household has 300,000 things? That’s a lot of storage space for many items that we rarely even use. Seasonal wardrobes, a drill that you use once a year, the yogurt maker you’ve used twice since you bought it three years ago, and the holiday decorations you pull out yearly and that collects dust for the rest of the time.
Well, all that’s about to change. By 2030, the sharing economy will continue grow. Don’t need that drill too often? Why not have a couple of shared ones for the community you live in instead. Just open a catalogue on your phone, click on what you need, and it’s in your hands in just a few minutes. This type of off-site storage will remove a lot of clutter from our homes, creating more livable spaces for life instead of things. Smart catalogues will also help you declutter. You’ll be able to store your wardrobe off-site, flick through images of your clothes, use augmented reality to virtually try them on, and then click a button to have the selected item delivered to your door.
And hopefully, sharing daily items will also bring us closer to our neighbors, creating more considerate and empathic living spaces. While technology has often had an isolating effect on in-person interactions, the future will bring us closer together. Our homes will become part of a larger smarter community, connected through IoT and smart devices.
While technology has often had an isolating effect on in-person interactions, the future will bring us closer together.
Just like our homes, communities will become safer, greener, and more connected. Fiber optics will be the go-to for connectivity, making connections faster and more reliable. This will allow all your smart home and community devices to work together seamlessly, creating a smart ecosystem. Studies show that green spaces in communities improve social interaction and community cohesiveness. They also have individual benefits to physical and mental health.
The same optimization technologies that will work in your home, will also optimize the way the whole community uses energy, protects residents, and ensures a healthy environment. For example, air and water sensors will inform decision-making around air and water quality. Smart sprinklers will optimize water and energy use, while ensuring green and vibrant shared spaces for the entire community to enjoy.
There will be an estimated 75% more building floor space in 2050 than there was in 2020. While a lot of this will be new construction, half of today’s buildings will still be standing by then too. Considering that the building and construction sector is responsible for 30% of the world’s energy consumption, it will be a key action-taker as we move toward carbon neutrality.
Today, less than 1% of buildings worldwide are net zero carbon — meaning they produce as much energy as they consume. The World Green Building Council has set an ambitious global goal to have all new buildings — whether commercial or residential — operating at net zero carbon by 2030, and 100% of all buildings reaching this by 2050. Technology will play a key role in achieving this objective alongside climate-sensitive architecture that adapts to its environment, new materials, natural cooling and heating, as well as retrofitting for existing buildings.
So how will technology help your building be greener by 2030?
The process will be similar to other types of optimization. Buildings will house a multitude of sensors that gather data from their environment. This data will be fed into smart systems that will process and analyze it, optimizing the building’s functions to consume the least possible energy while maintaining a comfortable and safe environment. Buildings will essentially become data-driven smart systems.
New buildings will use materials that are optimized for a given climate and use natural ventilation systems for heating and cooling. However, this alone won’t be enough. In emerging markets and developing economies, a predicted 650 million air conditioners will be added by 2030 — and these consume a lot of energy. Optimization will help reduce the impact of adding these appliances, while making our lives more comfortable even in the hottest or coldest of climates.
Energy production and storage will also be key. Many homes and buildings are already generating their own energy, for example by installing solar panels, and more will follow suit. Smart digital systems will help convert and store this energy, making it usable. In some cases, buildings will even generate excess energy helping supply electricity to surrounding areas.
Some commercial buildings are already taking steps toward saving energy while creating optimal environments indoors. One example is the Victoria Museum in Melbourne. Home to 17 million precious artifacts, the building needs to maintain a precise level of humidity, temperature, and lighting. The project has added 1 megawatt of solar power generated through solar panels alongside efficiency system upgrades. Together, these save 24% of electricity and 25% of water use, while protecting the 40,000 years of history that the museum houses.
The world around us is changing. First, we’ll see our homes transform into smart, intuitive spaces. Then, our community will take on a new form through latest technologies. Next, we’ll all be living in net zero carbon buildings, designed and retrofitted for our unique climates and needs. Ultimately, this will mean that our homes, communities and buildings will adapt to our needs, while reducing the human footprint on the environment. Are you ready for your 2030 home?
Learn more about our predictions for living spaces.
What else will be different in the Intelligent World 2030? Download our Intelligent World 2030 report to find out more.