China is prioritizing their focus on smart buildings, smart homes and everything of the sort with their annual Smart Home and Intelligent Building Expo. The focus of automated components of homes and how they interact with each other and with the vehicles we drive and the cell phones we use is a particular interest of engineers from China.
Elsewhere in the world, the need to sufficiently prepare for the oncoming change of homes, offices and buildings a whole is being underlined. In Texas, Jim Sinopoli, architect, and founder of Smart Buildings says, “Building owners are having to adapt to technology that wasn’t available just five years ago. And that’s going to change the way we approach building. The question will be how design engineers and architects respond. Making buildings smart will be disruptive. But it’s inevitable.”
IDC Energy Insights, an industry analysis company reported that $5.5 billion (USD) was used on smart building improvements to buildings in 2012, but estimates but 2017 the amount spent will be $18.1 billion (USD).
According to DigitalSpy, retailers in the United Kingdom, John Lewis, are starting to have installations in their store that emulate a smart home and are starting to sell ‘smart home’ packages to people.
Johnathan Marsh, John Lewis’s Buying Director for Electrics and Home Technology said, “We are seeking to demystify the latest, smart technology for our customers. In-store experiences are now key as we’ve seen customer demand for physical experiences before committing to purchase increase.”
Sinpoli’s stance – speaking to SCMP – also thinks about the human before anything else. He said, “while smart architecture is about making buildings cheaper and greener, it’s important to recognise that it’s also about making them better for their occupants.” At the end of the day if it is not a smart home or smart building a regular person would be able to live in then there is no reason to keep building on this industry.
Betsey Dougherty, a co-founder of Dougherty+Dougherty Architects in California says, “Something as subtle as the colour of the walls, the acoustics, and reverberation, glare – all these affect the quality of life inside a building. A smart building should allow you to get better faster if it’s a hospital, learn more if it’s a school, be more creative if it’s an office. Of course, buildings will get generally smarter as cell phones do – that’s to be expected. But we have to raise the bar on the idea that a building is essentially a box.”