It was the 1960s when The Jetsons first made claims that we'd be whizzing around in flying cars, having personal robot maids cook our dinners and living in an established outer-space world where eating food in the form of pills is a reality. Fast-forward to the year 2021, and The Jetsons weren't too far off! Not quite right, but creators of The Jetsons definitely had some foresight into the future on the ways technology would change the way we live forever.
As we look at the current state of play of residential apartment buildings, we see that once a building is fully constructed, it may become out of date from a technology point of view as it can take anywhere from 2 to 4 years to construct. Technology moves much quicker than this. To fully future-proof a building, there needs to be an all-in-one building platform that can connect to new technologies that can keep a building up-to-date well into the future allowing it to become agile and transient.
So what would a building of the future look like?
Drone pads on the rooftop for food delivery? Automatic doors opening for you as you walk through your building? Your smart fridge automatically ordering milk for you as your supplies get low? Or maybe your AI-powered shower knows your personal preferences, and sets the water temperature and pressure at your optimal setting. Wouldn't that be nice?!
The idea of a lot of these technologies becoming part of our everyday living used to seem pretty far-fetched. But so did most of what The Jetsons predicted in the 1960s.
One way for these technologies to truly become part of our lives is for it to be intentionally designed into the living experience of a building from the get-go. When well designed, there is always going to be a much better User Experience for residents as well as higher engagement and adoption of these technologies.
If it's easy to use, more people will use it. It's pretty simple.
Another way for these 'futuristic technologies' to become a part of our lives is for it to become so seamless, residents don't even realise they're using it. For example, smart access solutions that allow residents to seamlessly move through a building, automatically opening doors for them. No app, no interface. Or tapping a button, letting your building or apartment know that you're coming home so it can set the correct temperature, lighting and Spotify playlist for you before you walk in.
When property developers, architects and town planners adopt the use of these technologies and intentionally design for the use of them, they can create better buildings, more connected communities based on real-world data on how residents actually use, live and interact with their buildings. Over time, these insights become incredibly useful for designing future projects. Maybe a Golf Simulator is a 'nice-to-have' amenity, whereas an additional recreational room that residents could book their massages, haircuts or dog grooming services to would be more useful. Residents will get more value for money (those damn OC fees) and a better living experience when they are living in a building that is more suited to their day-to-day busy lives.
With the need to make our built environments more sustainable, there is no doubt that the residential apartment industry is looking at how these large skyscrapers will affect our environment and the potential issues of continuing to add more Co2 emissions into our atmosphere. Hence the massive push for buildings to be designed with a 7-star energy rating, well lit and ventilated apartments, and maybe one day, a net-zero carbon footprint that allows a building to be completely self-sustaining. If there was ever a time for the topic of Sustainable buildings to become popular, the time is now! And technology can help us get there.
Whatever the future looks like, we know it's a bright one. The adoption of tech-enabled buildings is inevitable. It has to be. We can no longer ignore the influences that technology can have on the way humans live and interact with their buildings. And if we don't design for it, we will see the residential apartment space in Australia fall behind compared to the rest of the world. Which would be a huge shame seeing as we're currently leading the charge in so many other areas of Real Estate, Construction and Technology.
"Hey, Erin" - shut down my computer!