Visitors to the Home of the future examine the smart cooktop.

Visitors to the Home of the future examine the smart cooktop.

Home of the future is here now

A show home in Merritt demonstrates what's here, and what's possible, in home technology.

A front door that recognizes your face? A fridge that can tell you what’s inside without you opening the door, translate that into a recipe, and send it to your cooktop, which will give you cooking instructions and a nutritional read-out? A home office that allows you to “virtually” visit your doctor when you’re not feeling well?

What would have been classified as science fiction just a few years ago is on the verge of becoming reality, and can be viewed in Merritt until April 10, where “The home of the future” is currently on display. The 560-square-foot home showcases the future of technology in homes, and shows what’s possible with the Internet of the future.

“Why are we doing this?” asks Andy Balser, Director of Market Strategy and Execution for TELUS, one of the collaborators in the Future Home. “We’re trying to demonstrate the power of technology and the lifestyle solutions it can provide.” In the past technologies existed independently of each other, but “There aren’t necessarily discrete solutions anymore. We’re seeing different components blending across technologies. The Future Home gives people a taste of things that are coming.”

Facial recognition at the front door means no more fumbling with keys, for example. “A facial scan recognizes that you’re one of the people in the home, and lets you in.” Worried about leaving your pets at home while you’re at work or away? You can interact with them from your smartphone or tablet, and even feed them remotely. Concerned about eating right? The cooktop can provide healthy recipes, and give you a nutritional breakdown for any food.

Intelligent thermostats and lighting will reduce energy costs, and enable people to control heat and light from smartphones or tablets. Some of these things already exist, says Balser, while others are coming. “This gives us a window into the future.”

The Future Home is the size of a condo, but the technology could be incorporated into any size home. “It provides a sneak peek into the future. It’s one thing to see what’s available now, but another to see what might be coming.”

The Future Home is on display in Merritt, at City Furniture on Coutlee Avenue, until April 10. Free tours are open to the public daily from 10:00am to 6:00pm.

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