Which home is right for me? Increasingly, in future, location, price and layout won’t be the only considerations which come into play when answering this question: a property’s digital equipment will also be key. A new study from industry association ZIA shows there are three things that matter most to customers: the quality of data connections (particularly the Internet and telephone), tenant apps and portals, and ‘smart home’ solutions.
At Expo Real, the following developments took centre stage at many panels and presentations:
- Predictive maintenance: Wear and tear as well as external factors can cause damage to your home. When a pipe breaks, you usually only notice when the first puddle forms. In future, however, we will be able to ask our home where problems are emerging or will soon appear. This approach is known as ‘predictive maintenance’. Sensors and apps show us whether pipes are leaky or last night’s storm has left damage that will soon get serious – like when roof shingles are loose. Chatbots and artificial intelligence also aid this process. A concept that sounds unbelievable today, but in future could be very ordinary indeed: your home might just tell you how it’s doing that day.
- ‘House doctor’: In future, you won’t need to leave your apartment as often to check the state of your health. All you’ll need to do is go into another room. Sensors built into doors could screen you and give you feedback via a smartphone app. This would save a lot of strenuous travel, particularly for older people. As with all big data trends, data protection is naturally a key issue.
- Digital connection: In future, your house won’t just be able to start the automatic lawnmower, air itself or set the right temperature. Real-time data will allow drones to bring deliveries right where you need them. For instance, when you need to order a little extra for the barbecue – and get it delivered straight to the garden. Or shopping itself becomes a thing of the past: 3D printers will make the product you need in your very own home.
The concept of properties’ ‘digital twins’ was a big topic at the fair. Virtual reality models are a great tool for planning, not only for builders, but for prospective occupants designing their future homes, too. They simply pop on some VR goggles and choose the floor coverings or ‘fit’ the right kitchen – all virtually. VR technology also makes life easier for tradespeople: they can take a look at a property for extensions or repairs without having to go there in person.
Automation in construction was also a hot topic. Robots are already capable of setting up a detached house made of 15,000 bricks in two days. In future, we, too, will use modern technology to continue building homes of the highest quality for our customers – adapted to suit their individual needs.
Due to the continued boom in construction in Germany and increasing investment in property, our aim is to make homes for many people searching for one. One example of this is the Krampnitz neighbourhood of Potsdam, where we are planning to build 1,400 residential units.
Innovative ways of living
Here, it’s all about ‘co-living’. This means that the classic ‘houseshare’ concept is influencing people’s lives beyond university, helping them afford an apartment in increasingly densely populated cities. This can also be an alternative for older people who are forced to live alone but do not really wish to. The sharing concept, long a part of everyday life for cars and bicycles, is being transferred to living.
New spatial concepts
The home of the future is getting bigger and smaller at the same time. What sounds like a contradiction is an adjustment to the necessities of our times. While individual living space is shrinking for single people in major cities, the space they share with other building occupants is growing: kitchens, (shared) offices and fitness and wellness areas are becoming shared spaces. At the same time, the significance of various spaces is shifting, judging by the mood at Expo Real: the bathroom can fulfil different functions for health, entertainment and relaxation at the same time, while the bedroom becomes a retreat – from the ubiquitous presence of digital technology, too.
In the ‘Living in transition’ section of our website, you can find out more about new living trends and future Deutsche Wohnen projects.