How AI will change the face (and backbone) of housing
Updated: Mar 2, 2019
AI will have a big impact on our future homes and buildings. In this blog we try to anticipate how innovation in AI will influence the future of our homes, our towns and cities and how we live in them.
The appetite to adopt AI seems to be higher than other major technological advances that we’ve had in the past.
I think it’s partly because AI is fun, easily accessible and culturally we have been preparing for it for a long time.
“Wouldn’t it be great to have AI enabled wheelchairs that can understand and act upon voice commands or eye movement to really enable mobility for all?"
This preparation and introduction into our consciousness started decades ago in the form of science fiction films, TV and books. More recently many of us were introduced to AI through our devices in the form of Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant and Alexa. It’s an extreme example of a successful change management and as a culture, we are ready to accept AI it into our lives.
We can already see the initial ideas and applications of AI starting to surface. The ability to crunch huge amounts of data at the back end is hidden from consumers and is less fun. AI technology that can engage in natural and meaningful conversation with the ability to interpret different intents, sentiments and importantly emotions, is what will take the application in our homes to the next level.
From an IT providers perspective, we already have the infrastructure to roll out AI products to the point of consumption. Low cost processing power, wi-fi and broadband are all in place already. This is good. Think of another transformative technological innovation - such as the internal combustion engine, which had its adoption hampered by high costs and a lack of roads. For a frictionless AI enabled future, houses and cities need to be built with the infrastructure to support the growth and broader application of the technology. Internet connected devices with in-built AI will be all around the home from the door to the fridge to the windows to the bed. Homebuilders should assume the need for more bandwidth, more connection points, wall mounted devices, more and different cables in and out of the home will be needed.
Immediate problem resolution
Consumer’s expectations will demand a much faster turnaround of problem resolution with always available customer service which AI will enable. Proactive problem resolution through smart devices will become the norm – our boilers will tell us when there is a problem and what it is, raise a work order and schedule the repair. Fuzzlab is already working with local authorities and housing associations using AI to diagnose repair problems and automate the scheduling process for automated self-service. This can be done though a voice interface such as Alexa, web or mobile device. AI will also resolve access issues through the ability to monitor homes inside and out, recognise and allow access to certain individuals and even create zones within a property that individuals have access to while restricting others zones. AI will simply make it easier for tenants and landlords to manage their properties.
Mobility and Access
Let’s assume driverless cars will be with us relatively soon creating opportunities for disabled members of our society to have greater mobility and freedom to leave their homes. What a travesty it would be if future homes aren’t built with the ability to park near the front door or charge, what will undoubtedly be, an electric car. Wouldn’t it be great to have AI enabled wheelchairs that can understand and act upon voice commands or eye movement to really enable mobility for all? I hope the houses of the future will have corridors and doors wide enough to facilitate them with ramp access as standard for all buildings.
While we are on the topic of access, it’s not beyond imagination to think that AI enabled drones will be ferrying around all kinds of things from pizza, to medication 24 hours a day. Our buildings of the future should be designed to accommodate them with easy access for landing and distribution of whatever is being carried. It doesn’t need to be the roof - secure AI enabled window access would be great, so the drone can land directly on the kitchen table. That will leave the roof free for AI enabled solar power harnessing.
AI will help us conserve energy in our homes with much better temperature and humidity control, air flow and the ability to predict when to power up and down devices. Just think what the savings would be if our homes automatically heated up to the perfect temperature in each room only when needed. AI predicting when we need energy, based on household habits so that there was zero effort involved and zero delay when we want to use something will go a long way to saving fuel – and maybe the planet.
We can maximise the use and benefits of Artificial Intelligence by looking at it alongside, social cultural and environmental issues. By understanding the business case and recognising the need for collaborative planning we can accelerate the adoption. I hope we can learn the lessons from the past to plan for future success by limiting the hurdles we are sure to face.
If you’d like to discuss your ideas for the application of Artificial Intelligence, contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
“AI will help us conserve energy in our homes with much better temperature and humidity control, air flow and the ability to predict when to power up and down devices.”