Design thinking

Future Living; Home

Nicola Chamberlain

We are all part of a transforming world, driven by changes in society, our capabilities, new technologies and emerging economies. The complex web of interconnected macro trends and drivers motivating these mega trends will affect key aspects of our lives. Home, work, relationships, leisure and mobility will be redefined.

Our cities and urban spaces will see the biggest development, as we innovate and adapt to a new way of life. The challenges and changes attributed to achieving this will involve us all, from governments and organizations to individuals, we will all have a role to play.

Mega trends from increased urbanization, new patterns of mobility and global digital cultures to technology convergence and the information revolution will redefine the way we live.

If we take one aspect of life, our home, we can begin to imagine a future for that environment which is driven by new technologies from smart furniture, energy consumption tracking to personalized services, the sensor web and much more. However we are all individuals and we will react to, adopt and experience future changes in many different ways. Life at home is a particularly personal aspect of our lives. When we put together the combination of information we have about people, trends and aspects of life we can imagine future experience stories which combine the personality preferences of individuals with social, cultural, economic or technology drivers. These stories become the building blocks for future products, services and business opportunities.

The following stories describe what the future home might be like for three different individuals, Sarah, John and Andy.



Sarah’s Story

The Dynamic Space

Sarah is 29, a freelance researcher who lives by herself in a 30 square meter apartment which she recently decorated herself. She is single and has a wide group of friends both online and in her neighborhood. Sarah home is a dynamic space which adapts to her different needs. It is many places in one. Sarah is an open, outgoing, information seeker and always interested in trying new things from technologies to experiences.


Sustainability & Personal Responsibility

A strong responsibility for consumption and product lifecycles means Sarah signs up to product tracking services which show the origins and travel data of all consumer goods. Sarah knows the lifecycle and energy statistics of everything she brings into her home via sensor tracking on all objects. This data is visualized as clear information graphics which show and compare eco-ratings. Sarah and her friends are part of a global sustainability game where they compare their ratings converted to scores across global communities. Effective biodegradable waste solutions enable Sarah to manage her waste effectively and transfer this directly into her energy usage. Digital services allow her to compare energy consumption and options for more responsible living relative to her friends, city dwellers and her global networks.

Working from Home

Sarah works freelance, she has no permanent job space, home is the closest thing she has to an office and the couch is often her desk. She accesses client files via cloud systems from any location securely. Collaboration is a way of life and made easy through connected systems and open corporate boarders. Research work is only part of Sarah’s professional endeavor. She uses a wide ranging social orientated enterprise and entrepreneurial networks to bring collaborative technology innovations to market. To do this she is part of a number of ‘collectives’ that share and develop knowledge/skills via online communities across diverse networks.

Communities of Interest

Sarah’s social and professional network is defined by her interests. She is not bound by geography or resources but only those she wants to engage and interact with. This is made easier by digital networking, location and preference services and a diversity of social and connected spaces. Many of her new connections are made online and meet ups are outside her home at her favorite cafe or local shared community space. Meetings at home tend to be with a small group of close friends who feel as at home in Sarah’s place as they do in their own apartments.

Jacob’s Story

The Life Management Hub

Jacob is 40 and a corporate finance banker with a small apartment in the city which he uses while working during the week. Jacob’s family lives in a small town, three hours outside the city and he commutes back to the family home for weekends. For Jacob, his city apartment is a ‘Life Management Hub’ where everything from personal health monitoring to activity scheduling is managed. He believes in structure, planning and discipline. He likes order and is goal oriented. To him, the research and planning for an activity is as important and enjoyable as the activity itself.


Life Planner – Overview

Life for Jacob is busy, complicated and there is a lot to manage. All ‘to do’s’ collected in emails, conversations, thoughts and ideas throughout the day are directly connected to his ‘life manager’ on his devices through sophisticated data and voice capturing (which don‘t just record what he is saying but have learnt the tone of voice he is using to help create a hierarchy and relevance of information received). He is reminded about the fact it’s his time to cook, that he has a meeting early the next day, purchases he needs to make that evening, all without him having to ever make a note and he is reminded only when its appropriate. At home he is updated relative to his preferences on every aspect of his life via rich a central visualization screen. This provides an easy way for Jacob to see, plan, share and connect all aspects of his life simply through a connected hub that visualizes information in panoramic and 3D. When he leaves home, this information is transferred to his devices in a simpler format.x



Integrated Home Clinic

Jakob takes responsibility for monitoring his own health and it’s important for his state of mind. Chronic illness will account for 75% of illness in 2025, so Jakob sees this as vital for his life management. Jakob is connected to services and systems that periodically monitor key biometric data. Most data is captured via an ‘Integrated Home Clinic’ in his bathroom, where blood pressure, weight, heart rate and other key levels are checked regularly. These systems provide personalized health monitoring where variations are flagged by the integrated clinic and HCP’s are informed and involved when necessary. Jakob is always connected to his doctor (through changes in the healthcare structure) for peace of mind and instant access to healthcare services and professional advice.

Security & Surveillance

Jacob’s home is controlled via a ‘Home Automation System’. Many of the devices in the home are self automated through wireless connectivity, meaning lights turn off when he goes to bed, doors lock and outside security is activated though timers. He can manage all this remotely and is notified when any unusual activity happens in the apartment even if it’s just the postman. He can even let people, like his cleaner into the apartment when he is not available to open the door. Since Jacob’s apartment is reliant on automation one of the greatest risks to Jacob’s security is hacking. This worries him and he feels it’s too complicated to manage himself so he employs a knowledge agent to look after all his overall security.


Andy’s Story

The Leisure Haven

Andy is 55, a plumber and lives with his wife, son and daughter in an apartment in the same neighborhood he grew up in. For Andy, home is a ‘Leisure Haven’ where home shopping, utility subscription services and DIY co-connected media optimize family relaxation and fun. Andy is conservative with his spending and prefers to spend a small amount of money trying new games or products rather than risking spending too much on something the family may not like. The kids are really into new technology and have started to put together their own gaming systems together with friends based on open source platforms and the local mechatronics club. Andy doesn’t like change and their home is a chaotic jumble of the old and the new. Even though the way Andy bets on the football has changed to include social networking and augmented reality experience enhancement, he still meets the same group of friends each week on a Friday at their local pub to share tales and stories of the week. Andy is the joker of their group.


DIY Gaming

Andy’s kids are part of a new generation of DIY tech kids who not only play games provided by gaming companies but they are creating their own physical digital blend of gaming by hacking into old devices and re-purposing components together with cheap smart sensors and open source software to make games from new Virtual/Physical dance to community specific Physical/Virtual game worlds where all the DIY tech kids in their neighborhood are part of the creation process.

Co-Connection Entertainment

Andy’s home is his castle and as such, the family spends a lot of time consuming media and entertainment at home. All services and devices are continually connected providing an instant, personal and seamless viewing experience based on preferences, time and audience wherever you are in the house. Social integration develops a social aspect to watching sports, online gaming or enjoying their favorite soap. Recommendations, feedback and interactive entrainment choices are totally personalized and updated, so that Andy is always reminded of his favorite game and which of his mates are watching.


Personalised Advertising

Andy and his family like a bargain and much of their shopping is done from home. They find the best and most convenient deals via online services for essential items such as food, clothes, utilities and sometimes, what to do at the weekend. Smart advertising directs deals to their retail accounts, based on their consumption patterns, locations and recognized drivers to purchase. Information such as subscription renewals, last purchase of perishable goods and the life span of products help filter the messages and offers they receive. The kids have connected a sensor, provided by the local shop, to the fridge which sends a message to mum when their favorite drink and food have run out. This is pretty much all the time so rather than annoy mum with constant updates, the service is sensitive enough to combine this information with her shopping patterns and send the message when she is most receptive to a reminder.