From lifestyle trends to new technology to environmental pressures, we are living in a fast-paced world. We might look for self-storage services to live the minimalist lifestyle. And what does this mean for those who offer long-stay apartments?
Technology or No Technology?
Smart technologies have already made their way into homes. In years to come, automated controls for ovens and bathtubs as well as automated monitoring for heating will be basic. We now have robots that can clean our floors and look after our pets while we are not around, and this is just the beginning. Technology has made the customisation of decor a possibility. Residents can opt for digital pictures and request digital ‘butlers’ to make suggestions for individually tailored activities.
The question remains, are we at significant risk of peak tech? The digital invasion being experienced in all aspects of our lives could result in a backlash. There is already rising demand for tech-free spaces, and this could move to tech-free buildings in extreme cases. Consumers in the years to come might prefer face-to-face interaction as a countermeasure to the digital era, placing more emphasis on the creation of communal areas.
Co-Living or Modular and Movable?
Although the size of apartments is reducing, consumers expect the amenities to remain the same. A modular and movable apartment design makes it possible to have a fully functional living room, kitchen, and bedroom on less than 20 square meters.
Unfortunately, modular apartment designs are expensive. And the debate is on whether the merits outweigh the complexities. The co-living design would be more appealing, creating simple sleeping pods that form communal spaces through co-living and co-working areas.
Environmental pressures will most probably increase in the years to come, both because of demands from consumers and in response to legislation. There will be better access to environmentally friendly materials. We already have carpets that convert carbon to oxygen in addition to porous building materials that enable the growth of green walls and moss.
Food waste and packaging will be reduced via on-site food production and grocery sharing. Energy can be generated and also stored on-site with the help of solar panels and smart windows or even be produced kinetically with gym equipment. There might be a few sections where consumer expectations should be challenged, for instance, should air conditioning be a standard in regions on the northern hemisphere?
The projection is that solutions for insomnia will be a 60-billion-pound niche by the year 2020. Smart machines will monitor our sleep patterns to enhance sleep quality via lighting and sound waves. Smart beds will regulate our body temperature while digital butlers will remind us to exercise, hydrate, and sleep.
But, before we are swept away into the world of slumber, it is crucial to understand the vital aspects of good sleep: a comfortable resting place, ambient lighting, and the right acoustics. Sound and light from tech can easily disturb sleep. But will consumers prefer a tech blackout instead?
Besides being a form of entertainment, virtual reality can aid in creating a sense of placement within different communities. Can a virtual space really replace a residents’ lounge? The design and research procedures could be enhanced through virtual reality with the initial prototypes being experienced virtually. Hans Meyer, co-founder of hybrid-apartment site Zoku, said that with the aid of virtual reality, Zoku tested a room prototype with various consumer groups in 3-dimension and obtained feedback.
Evolution vs. Revolution
New technology has now created a chance for hospitality leaders to make improvements to their product. And although these are to be lauded, there’s a need to be cautious. The industry should mind its customers as well as any potential adverse reactions against a tech overload. It should be used only when it enhances the experience of its consumers. And as a result, we should expect changes to occur as small incremental improvements instead of a dramatic shift.
The most significant innovations which will move the apartment living sector forward depend on small inspirational changes which must be executed regularly.