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At home with a tsunami of technology

2012-06-18 09:05

Chris Moerdyk

Technology is going to play and enormous role in the home of the future. Both for those who want to protect the environment and for technology junkies.

There is an ever growing array of products available for modern home builders intent on saving the planet. Electricity generation from wind turbines and solar panels is being augmented by products that insulate better, allow for lower carbon footprints and protect surfaces.  Household appliances are becoming greener by the day not only using less water, electricity and gas but also keeping dust, bugs and all manner of germs at bay.

But, the techno junkie is the one who is going to get the most excited about the home of the future.

A few years ago, I accompanied the MD of my client, Sony South Africa, to Japan where deep in their research and development department, they had an extremely futuristic home where views out of picture windows were anything you wanted them to be.

Lying in bed and looking up through a skylight you could summon up a starlit night from anywhere in the southern or northern hemispheres or even  a highveld thunderstorm.

On warm evenings you could programme the curtains to move gently allowing in a breeze filled with the smell of jasmine.  All smoke and mirrors of course, but incredibly realistic. Ideal for people who live in flats in the middle of smoky cities.

But, most interesting of all was the home lifestyle that Sony predicted then and which is now a fait d'accompli in Japan and becoming a reality here.

That is a home computer of home server connected to the world by fibre optic cables and capable of internet download speeds of 100mb/sec or more. In layman's terms that's fast enough to download full length movie in about four minutes.

This server would deliver movies, telephone, television, radio, digital newspapers, magazines and internet services to the home. It would be connected to the grocery cupboard and refrigeration and would read bar codes so that whenever you run out of anything it would either generate a shopping list or order online.

This technology will completely change the world of marketing and advertising. No longer would consumers have to remember to watch the news or wait for the newspapers, listen to the radio and watch TV hoping to see an advertisement for something they wanted.

All that would happen is that you would type into your home server, just as you do with Google now, asking for specific news you want, sports results you want, movies you want to see or products you want to buy and your computer will find it for you or alert you when a relevant news item or advertisement appears.

It will be a world of information on demand. TV on demand. Marketing will no longer be a process of companies trying to reach you with their wares but rather you asking for something you want and technology delivering it to you.

Ten years from now life at home will be very, very different.  

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