Smart home of the future – social and physical at the same time


It is a commonplace that the future home will be more intelligent and more connected, and we can not assume that digitisation will stop before our most private spaces. Software will almost certainly „eat our homes“ as it does the world, after a famous quote from Marc Andreesen, the investor. But how will our homes be more connected and digitized? 

What is certain is this: the smart devices of today will be only the beginning of the digitisation of our homes – and probably a minor factor at that. This sounds ludicrous at first sight where everyone in the industry and also consumers understand smart home regarding smart devices. But this is only a first step.

Facebook of our infrastructure

In general, the digitisation of our homes is unstoppable in the same way as the digitisation of every corner of our private lives and our economy is proceeding with increasing speed.The advantages of the digitisation are too persuasive to be stopped – with all the disadvantages as privacy concerns and others factored in.

At the moment, the infrastructure of the world is only loosely connected, mostly by the obvious basic needs as for example water, sanitation and electricity. Our homes are built once and stay the same for the next decades. They are mostly static and dumb objects, to say the least. It will not be enough intelligence just to dim the light, to adapt the temperature automatically depending on the time of day – the network of really intelligent homes will be both social and physical at the same. It will be an advanced „Facebook of our infrastructure“.

The  infrastructure network: social and physical at the same time

This support network will extend beyond the intelligence of one home – as it is now – to the intelligence of many homes, in the same way as the intelligence of separated people was exponentially increased by the network effects of the internet. On first sight, this sounds counterintuitive: how can the collective intelligence of physical objects get social and surpass the intelligence of one home?

The Internet of Things where „intelligent“ objects communicate and exchange data is a first realization of a network of intelligent infrastructure. Another is BIM (Building Information Modeling) where a 3D digital model integrates all the specific information of a facility during its whole lifetime and can be accessed by others digitally. The physical layers of this infrastructure network are in the making, but where is the social one?

The social smart home network

Why should people in their homes connect with other people in their homes? The same question did arise at the beginning of social networks: why should people connect with friends and even strangers on a digital network at all? The answer is: they did and to their own good.

Social connections are powerful in themselves, to exchange information and to profit from the knowledge of others. Even a simple status update can trigger valuable further interactions. In the same way, the social smart home network, both physical and social at the same time, intelligent and connected, will offer people living in their homes additional well being, connections and knowledge to improve their home life as fundamental as their external life.