Over the past 10 years, the ‘quantified lifestyle’ and the ‘smart home’ have become increasingly important trends, so this month the UK’s leading shower manufacturer, Mira Showers, brought a panel of experts together to discuss the evolution of technology within the home and trends that are set to appear in 2019.
The panel consisted of Mira Showers’ Head of Industrial Design, Roland Boal; Technology Lifestyle Editor, Duncan Bell and Technology Expert, Chris Haslam. Below, Mira Showers highlights the key technological advancements set to take centre stage within the home next year.
Smart doesn’t always mean digital
Whilst there have been multiple technological advancements, this does not necessarily mean that they should be in conjunction with a ‘smart home’. The aim of a ‘smart’ future is to develop habitats, architecture, products and experiences that allow customers to choose how they wish to live ‘smarter’, rather than bombarding them with technology for the sake of it.
The bathroom will remain a place that should be associated with relaxation, downtime and creative thinking. Technology will be employed in order to aid a sense of calm and enhance enjoyment.
“From a global perspective, our approach follows IFTTT (if this then that) and seeks to bring together the latest technology with core design cues, enabling the bathroom to provide a highly personalised experience. Functionality, form and feel are intrinsic to Mira Showers’ NPD programme, as of course are the latest trends and consumer demand. Our ambition is to provide washroom spaces in which our customers can be cleansed in multiple ways including their physiological and mental state.” Roland Boal, Head of Industrial Design at Mira Showers.
Wellbeing and the rise in informatics
Over recent years, health informatics have become increasingly integrated within technology, and now even more consumers are looking to data and technology to enhance their health and wellbeing. Within the bathroom, smart mirrors are set to be commonplace by 2050, allowing the daily grooming routine whilst simultaneously updating the user on the news and measuring their weight and blood pressure to ensure all is well.
Last seen on screen
Whilst the desire and demand for technological advancement is constant, when it comes to the home, for many it should remain a haven first and foremost. Whilst the tech world always loves to see a screen, home designs which feature them everywhere and therefore provide a very obvious technology presence are one not welcomed with open arms. Hidden but helpful, and certainly not hero, is where the future lies.
One Stop APP-roach
As we approach 2020, homeowners will increasingly adopt app-based smart eco-systems which trigger multiple smart home functions by single commands to one touchscreen. This will provide centralised control of everything, from the heating and water to more personal settings linked to your bathroom, home entertainment and so on. Cautionary notes regarding this development were however cited in terms of the impact of system failure and ‘early adopter’ products being released which are still really in a test and development phase.
The power of speech and intuitive technology
With products such as Amazon’s Alexa leading the way and the likes of the Amazon Echo and Google Home being relatively inexpensive and available, voice control will increasingly be used across the home whilst people move further away from apps aplenty. Similarly, intuitive technology based on personal behaviour will see increased use, but it’s likely that this will be limited to function, not form and feel. So, homeowners will probably welcome their bath or shower running at the perfect temperature for them but feel less comfortable about their fridge ordering groceries automatically when things run low.
Lives are richer when customers have emotional connections with the products that surround them. It should not be assumed that the apex of design is merely one single interface or something that is technologically clever. Some of the most applauded new product development is that which provides a visual feature within the home, does not look overly technological and yet still provides the latest advancements on offer.
Security fears of the digital world
The increasing need to feel safe and secure is becoming ever more prevalent, never more so than in the home. With the growing rise of connected home products and applications, brands need to work hard not just to advance their products and services from a user experience perspective, but also to address growing concern around protecting privacy and personal data.