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High-tech homes to fill generation gap


A man's home is his castle, as the saying goes, but according to research by insurer and reinsurer Hiscox Ltd., we may soon be sharing our increasingly high-tech homes with several generations of our families.

While houses may look similar to how they do now, in the future technology, sustainability and well-being will become increasingly important in the home, Hiscox's research found.

The “Hiscox Home of the Future Report 2015” studied what the home will look and feel like for people in France, Germany and the United Kingdom in 10 years' time.

The next wave of transformation of homes likely will be subtle but “hugely impactful,” according to the report, and see developments such as kettles that harvest the energy from boiling water, and washing machines that use their spin cycle to generate electricity, even wallpaper that removes smells from a room.

Technological advances also will give people greater control over the home remotely, the report said.

“In the future there will be sensors that monitor humidity, noise and smoke variations and respond accordingly, devices that track climatic conditions in your garden and advise you on what to plant, smart washing machines that read the digital identity of an item and wash it accordingly, and home monitoring sensors that raise the alarm if normal daily activity has not taken place, such as boiling the kettle or turning on the TV — particularly useful for elderly people living alone,” said the report.

Homes will become more sustainable, the report noted, and the bathroom will become a more important room with a focus on health and well-being — for example, windows or glass cabinets will be used as interactive screens on which to monitor vital statistics.

And so-called “dual or tri-hub homes” — homes with multiple living areas and adaptable space for different generations — are likely to increase in number as children remain in the home for longer and aging societies mean that more people will have their parents back to live with them in old age, the report said.

As these changes take hold so new risks likely will emerge, Hiscox said.

There's still no sign of the hoverboards that we were promised in the movie “Back to the Future Part II,” though.