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The convergence of physical and digital technology

  • Friday 05 August 2016

In one of our Mira Moment Masters discussion, we looked into the convergence of physical and digital technology in the home. Discussing the uses, benefits and direction of digital technology and how to best prepare for future innovations, the expert panel consisted of architectural designer Tom Hartley, digital expert Will Brocklebank, interior designer Richard Randall, plumber Andrew Barnard, and Kohler Mira’s Craig Baker and Simon Browning.

What are the benefits of digital technology?

There are many problems that can be overcome with the application of digital technology in the home. Digital technology is increasingly allowing us to enjoy greater accessibility, affordability, and ultimately more empowerment in the home. Multi-faceted strands of technology are now being drawn together to allow for ease of use, making our lifestyles more efficient in order to enjoy our homes more than ever. 

Digital technology also gives us greater control, allowing us to manipulate products depending on our needs. With older users, security and CCTV may be a primary focus, whereas younger users might place an emphasis on entertainment. A major implication of this technology is independence and duty of care for older homeowners. With technological feedback, families and carers can see that vulnerable people are going about their daily routine, without compromising on their privacy or independence, and without the feeling like they are being constantly checked on.

Small efficiencies with modern technology can also make a difference to relieve problems: in a hectic household, for example, by being able to run the bath remotely with the Mira Vier Dual digital shower, users can alleviate challenging daily tasks to add value to your everyday life.

What does the future hold for digital technology?

Home products are looking like they will be the focus of digital technology in the future – technological gadgets that can be controlled remotely from a smartphone may seem almost ‘James Bond-like’ at the moment, will become the norm very soon.

Need-based innovations are also set to increase further, offering genuine solutions to problems, rather than being faddy, disposable gizmos. As consumers, we are becoming more and more comfortable with wireless connectivity, meaning that we will start to expect all new products to be able to connect remotely using a universal interface.

On a larger scale, the future of technology could move away from the individual home to a community-based application within towns and cities. With higher electricity and water demands than ever before, digital technology could provide a local authority with a municipal function whereby product usage could be regulated to certain times to prevent droughts and power spikes.

How can we prepare for further innovations?

Technology is becoming more and more prominent in the home, but there is a difference between installing the latest gadget compared to beneficial technology that can provide a lasting benefit in the home. Pieces of technology such as smart meters are designed to save money in the home – they can easily become cost neutral if you have to rip it out and replace it in order to upgrade it though! 

Instead, digital technology should be considered during the building or extension of homes. This can provide a strong platform which can be adapted in the future. Rather than installing all of the available technologies in one go, an adaptable network should be considered which can be altered in 10 or 15 years’ time.

You can see the highlights of the Moment Masters video here - let us know what you think on Facebook, or on our Twitter page.