Bumper-to-bumper traffic. Hard to find a reservation before 11:30 p.m. Elbowing through swarms of people to get to the booth mixing Coldplay. Sounds similar to my account Consumer Electronic Show, earlier in the month, right? Are you shocked to find out this was the scene at Design & Construction Week? Still in Las Vegas, so maybe that has something to do with the similarities, but still. CES hosted 170,000 people, and Design & Construction Week’s Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS), International Builders’ Show (IBS) and International Surfaces Show (Surfaces) drew a combined 125,000 (give or take a few).
The housing market may only be getting marked “good” instead of “great” by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), but positivity and excitement were infectious among the largest residential builders, interior designers, OEMs and service providers. With new technologies taking hold and becoming more and more integrated into new homes across the country, it’s easy to see why.
Let me paint you a quick picture of the NextGen household:
- You enter your living room to watch a movie with your family, and the instant you turn on the TV with your smartphone acting as a central remote control, the lights in the living room automatically dim to 50% to adjust for viewing.
- When you reach for a glass to fill with water, your upper cabinet lifts up instead of opening out, making better use of vertical space and a less cumbersome process.
- You sit at your kitchen island reviewing CAD drawings for your sun room expansion using your virtual reality device to soak up the details and experience your new space before committing to the design.
When I attended Design & Construction week last year, I talked about the “Home of the Future.” But in 2016? This isn’t futuristic. This isn’t on its way in the next five years. This house is being built on YOUR street today! It might even be your new neighbor! Single-family and multifamily homes alike, we’re not waiting for them to get hardwired for technology. They’re already connected! In fact, last year at this same exact show, Gartner told us that by the year 2025, there would be more than 500 smart objects in the home. Guess what? This year, that timeframe shrunk significantly and now the forecast is 2020 for the same projected connectivity.
The best news of all is that connectivity is affordable, products are readily available and there are plenty of experts who know what they’re doing and can help make homes smart. It was both refreshing and exciting to see that the housing market isn’t lagging too far behind the automotive industry and consumer electronics and intelligent cities. Because after all, it’s not about the connected home, it’s about the connected individual.
Amanda Vasil is a Change Agent, fascinated by transformation and futurism. Follow her on Twitter at @amanda_vasil