Smart Energy GB recently released a fascinating report outlining their predictions for what our homes and lifestyles could be like in just 15 years’ time.
And it’s like something from a futuristic movie!
Think robots cooking our breakfast, artificial intelligence (AI) controlling our energy use, sensors that detect health problems, security drones keeping us safe and even trading energy with our neighbours.
Though some of the things in the Future Smart Energy Consumer report may seem like they’re from a science fiction novel, when you think about it, it’s not that far off the technology we have now.
We can already control the heating in our homes from our mobile phone. We can already see how much energy we use through our smart meter. We can already keep an eye on our front door from anywhere in the world. We can already order more toilet paper just by asking our smart speaker.
So, why can’t the technology that seems like a sci-fi fantasy become a reality in as little as 15 years’ time?
What’s in the Smart Energy GB report?
Each household explores how the family’s use technology to improve not only their energy management and sustainability but other aspects of their everyday lives, including their finances, health, and social life.
Technology will be the star of the show, with much of the report’s predictions relying on ‘smart’ gadgets, such as smart meters and smart watches, as well as automatic sensors and AI.
So confident in the emerging technology is Dan Brooke, Chief Executive at Smart Energy GB, that he believes, “New products and services working together will make it easier for us to change our energy behaviours and become more efficient, in turn doing our bit to decarbonise Britain and play our part in saving the world”.
The high-tech households of 2035
The five households created in the report vary considerably in their circumstances and the way they use the exciting new technology to enhance their lives.
So let’s delve into the everyday lives of five different families and see what the households of the not so distant future could be like (and try to decide which innovative idea we’d like to see in action the most)!
Barry and Lynn Wilson
Barry, Lynn and their two children live in a semi-detached house in Edinburgh with both parent’s working from home for most of the week, though they do travel into work occasionally.
- The family has a fully electric car which is charged with energy from the grid when their clever AI determines it to be the most affordable and efficient
- Intelligent detectors sense when one of the Wilson’s is in a room and adjusts the temperature according to that person’s unique preference (to avoid thermostat fights, there’s an agreed upon setting for when more than one person is present)
- Their AI continually monitors the family’s energy use to make sure they don’t go over their set parameters so they can claim the bonus their energy supplier offers for those who don’t use energy at peak times
- The family stays healthy thanks to nourishing meal suggestions from their AI which knows each family member’s nutritional needs and tastes
- The Wilsons love growing their own vegetables with the help of their ‘smart’ greenhouse which is temperature controlled by their smart meter
- Their security drone detects anomalies in the house, so when their fridge stops working, it automatically arranges for a repair-robot to come and fix it when the family is out
Ayanda and Tau Borotho
Now that they’re in their seventies, Ayanda and Tau have retired to the countryside a few miles outside of Preston and live within a community where the local authority is working towards energy independence via renewable sources.
- The couple proudly generates their own energy via solar panels, biomass converters and battery storage which they use to power everything in their house – they receive a grant from the local authority for doing this
- To power their other needs, such as their beloved greenhouse, they buy and trade the extra energy they need from either their energy supplier or their neighbours (trading energy with the local community has become commonplace)
- With a passion for gardening, they make sure the delicious exotic fruit and veg they grow in their greenhouse is looked after by an AI-powered botanic measurement system
- Such is their passion for all things green, and the fact they can get cheaper energy for using it at night, the couple can often be found pottering around their flowerbeds late into the evening
- As Ayanda and Tau care deeply about the environment, they’ve joined their energy supplier’s carbon legacy service that helps them offset their historic emissions (which have been tracked via a smart meter)
Eighty year old Vivian lives in Cornwall in a co-living community that has been specially designed to enhance the physical and mental wellbeing of its residents.
- The state-of-the-art building boasts a Care AI system that uses smart data to monitor a complex range of factors to keep residents happy and healthy while maintaining optimum sustainability
- The AI system integrates with humanoid robotic assistants that help not only check up on the resident’s physical needs, but help keep loneliness at bay by providing much needed companionship
- The Care AI system monitors Vivian and if it spots anything amiss, asks whether she is ok and recommends ways she can improve her health based on its findings
- Vivian wears a stylish smart bracelet that automatically regulates the temperature in her flat, so she is always safe and comfortable
- Vivian is free to choose her own energy supplier, so she made sure that the one she picked included an ‘energy concierge’ – this handy service helps maximise her energy efficiency and provides practical support, like explaining her bills and data permissions
Emmanuel and Raaf
Friends Emmanuel and Raaf live together in London in a rented, low cost, low carbon housing development that was 3D printed. The development boasts an array of embedded smart technology to make it as sustainable as possible.
- As part of ‘generation choose to rent’, Emmanuel and Raaf chose this apartment because it has been designed for low-energy living, and therefore offers them lower running costs
- To make living there even more affordable, the complex boasts inbuilt energy storage systems for each apartment that allows residents to earn extra money by selling energy they haven’t used
- Emmanuel and Raaf love being a part of the universally recognised ‘Green Rewards’ points-based system as it rewards them for living sustainability – their behaviour is tracked through their wearable smart device
- The scheme offers rewards, like free app subscriptions and money-off their favourite brands, for things like taking public transport, shopping with eco-conscious companies, and using less energy at home
- While Raaf loves his gaming system, he is conscious of how much energy the activity guzzles. So, he has set up alerts to notify him of the energy he uses while gaming to keep him within his set limit
Martha and Mary
Based in Caerphilly, Martha and Mary live with their three children in a rented flat which takes up a significant portion of their income. While Mary isn’t particularly eco-conscious, Martha makes sure the family does what it can to be more ‘green’.
- Martha ensures the family stays within a certain range of energy consumption as this means they’ll receive a discount on their rent from their landlord, who passes on the tax reliefs he gets from the government for having a low-emission rental property
- Despite the heatwave that is gripping the nation, the Jones’ haven’t put on their air-conditioning unit, a common feature in homes in 2035, because they’re worried about how much it’ll cost
- However, the council’s AI investigator has determined the family are spending less on energy than expected during the heatwave and notices they haven’t applied for the ‘hot weather payment’ government grant
- The AI investigator let’s Martha’s know about the grant so she gets started on the application which turns out to be rather complicated. Luckily, the AI she’s talking to identifies she’s feeling overwhelmed by analysing her vocal responses and offers further support
- Martha uses her smart phone to supplement their income by trading energy from other local households on peer-to-peer energy trading platforms
- With their permission, the Jones’ smart meter analyses their energy data and automatically switches their energy supplier so they can be sure they’re always getting the very best deal
Until the future arrives…
This report gives us a fascinating insight into what the future could be like in just a few years’ time. With the help of technology, AI and automation, living more comfortably and sustainably enough to make a difference, is within everyone’s reach.
Until we all have a robot to help with managing our bills, why not see how much you could save on your energy by getting an online quote from Utility Point today – it only takes a minute or two!