future house

The Future of the Home Industry

We live in a time of evolving technologies, and industries across the board are changing constantly. The home improvement industry is no exception, and the future may look very different than the present. To find out more about where the home improvement industry is going, we’re turning to our experts to see what changes they’re already noticing.

Why We’re Asking

Anticipating future changes is important in any industry, but it’s also fun to speculate about how things might be done differently. We live in a time where lots of changes are already happening, and it’s easier than ever to extrapolate and imagine how home improvement professionals are going to adapt to the changing time. Our experts are all successful professionals planning to continue their businesses, and we want to know how they’re planning to move into the future–whatever it brings!

So tell us, experts:

What does the future look like for home improvement?

Are there any emerging technologies that are important?

What issues facing today’s experts will the future offer solutions for?

How do you see green technology featuring in the industry’s future?

What plans do you have to adapt your business to a changing world?

Change is inevitable, and industries across the board are having to adapt to new technologies and ideas. We look forward to hearing about more specific changes happening in the home industry!

Experts, post your answers in the comment field below!



  • Wayne Caswell of Modern Health Talk 02/28/14

    The biggest trends affecting the future of the home industry are in demographics, not new technologies or green & sustainable building materials and products, although they are important too.

    MOBILITY – Sadly, working for one employer for 30 years seems to be a thing of the past for most people, meaning there will be much more demand for rental units. Moore’s Law and the accelerating pace of tech innovation is largely to blame, since automation and artificial intelligence are obsoleting skills & jobs faster than creating new opportunities. That increases the need for lifelong learning to retool skill sets, as well as the flexibility to relocate more often for the next job opportunity.

    AGING POPULATION – With 10,000 baby boomers reaching age 65 every day and living longer, homes designed with Universal Design principles that work well for anyone regardless of age or ability will be in high demand. Digital sensors and telehealth technologies are making it possible to age-in-place and avoid the high costs of institutional care, but the homes need to accommodate the needs of older residents (or visitors). For the future of Universal Design, see http://www.mhealthtalk.com/2014/02/the-future-of-universal-design/.

    If builders don’t jump on this trend themselves, it may be forced upon them. Austin, TX, for example, recently changed its building codes to require that all new homes be accessible to accommodate the aging population. See http://www.mhealthtalk.com/2014/01/austin-requires-new-homes-to-be-accessible/.

    COMMUNITIES – It’s not just home designs, but neighborhood and community designs as well, that need to accommodate the changing population, and that includes public transportation. Former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, working with the University of Texas, published a book for urban planners on that topic (http://www.mhealthtalk.com/2012/08/make-life-long-homes-a-priority/).

    TECHNOLOGY – More products in homes will get connected and smarter, but I don’t think homes themselves will get smart any time soon. That’s because there are too many vertical application silos with different network requirements (consumer electronics, lighting, HVAC, window treatments, sprinklers, etc.). We won’t need structured wiring any more, since connections between devices will be wireless with a combination of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Zigbee, each having their own strengths for different applications, so I don’t see one winner but many.

    Wearables will play a role in the smart home. Smart watches already have sensors to track steps taken, stairs climbed, and miles ridden, as well as being able to monitor heart rate and skin temperature and moisture. They hopefully will then tell that NEST smart thermostat that I’m hot because I just finished exercising or that I’m cold because I just ate ice cream. After all, NEST is not that smart after all, at least not on its own.

  • Pablo Solomon 02/28/14

    I have often been decades ahead of the game on home trends.Whether or not these predictions come about, only time will tell.
    1. The big battle continues to be between individuals wanting to live somewhat self sufficient and self contained lives outside of cities and those forces for reasons of control and self gain want to push the megacity concept. It will depend on whether new energy sources allowing for what I call “green freedom” will develop before most of the population is forced to live in faceless economic slavery in a drab Soviet style condo in an ant mound megacity.
    2. In the meantime, those living in the societal limbo of the suburbs will build smaller, more energy efficient homes of higher quality in design and materials.
    3. As the large “MacMansions” built to impress others in the 80s and 90s become unaffordable to buy and maintain for new generations, they will be converted into multi-family units.
    4. More families will be living in multi-generational settings and will build family compounds with shared areas and amenities.
    5. For those lucky enough to escape the horrors of giant cities, more options for building their own homes will emerge. Just as Sears would sell you a house in a box that you could assemble yourself back in the early 1900s, more companies will sell similar versions prefabricated in high tech factories.
    6.Adding to allowing people to build their own homes will be more and more of one block at a time construction–from adobe brick to basically giant Lego type blocks–where you can stack them as time and money allow.
    7.Wireless controls will make redoes easier.
    8. Plumbing will finally become more simple, affordable and long lasting for the DYI folks as new products are developed.
    9. In disaster prone areas, more sensible solutions–building above flood plain levels, putting tornado proof core rooms to protect family and valuables, creating fire barriers and building of fire resistant materials in wild fire places, etc.
    10. The cities will have to do more to reduce crime Until the police state suppresses the rampant crime so endemic to large cities, security will be a top priority of all homes and condos.
    Best wishes,
    Pablo Solomon
    Artist & Designer

  • Mark Puglisi of Greenleaf Organic Pest Management 02/28/14

    Technology growth in the home construction has taken off over the last 5 years in my opinion. Automation seems to be what people are the most interested in. So called “smart homes” have everything from high tech security systems, appliances and comfort control that can be operated and programmed from smart phones to tablets. In the pest control industry this is no different. It seems many of today’s pest control advancements have also included these things, with trap monitoring, bar code readers for service records, and QR readers for customer use, like label information or technical info. Today’s advancements allow our services to be even more convenient for the client and the technician. Knowing when a rat has been caught in an attic by way of a silent signal sent to the technician, can eliminate the odor issues associated with a trap that may not be checked for days, now can be responded to in a timely manner.

  • Nancy Dalton of Baywolf Dalton 02/28/14

    I believe lighting and power will be seeing the most changes in the home remodeling area.
    If I could invent and patent one technology it would be a drawer with a bottom that allows all items in it to re-charge without any cords, just put them away at night.
    I think we will see energy saving materials from recycled goods. There’s a new building in Germany that has very special glass that refracts the light into the interior space allowing natural light to light the spaces without the use of interior lights. Let’s see where this technology goes.
    I don’t stop learning and I’m a firm believer in knowledge outside my own industry. TED talks are great and the internet has opened up tremendous avenues for learning. Some really good universities have some of their classes on line you can audit. Bill Gates over twenty five years ago talked about a computer in every one; my 92 year old father lives in a retirement home where most of the residence have an internet connection. How cool is that!

  • Kris Bickell 02/28/14

    One of the most exciting technologies is the type you see on TV shows like Property Brothers, where they can take an existing space, and show you exactly what it will look like when the rehab is done. Recently we had dormers put on, and ran into trouble when the contractor’s drawings were not to scale. Fortunately, when I saw a window in my garage prior to install, I realized it was way too big. But a proper drawing would have prevented any issues. And in the end, the dormers are a bit to big and not exactly what I was looking for.

    I would imagine that many issues occur because what is said does not match what is done. This type of technology offers pretty close to a “real world” look at the work being done, and could change the way many contractors do business.

    Of course, for now it is probably expensive, and takes a computer expert or designer to use it properly, but like most technology it will probably become mainstream in no time. This could be very exciting for both homeowner & contractor!

  • Katie Miller of Roomations 03/02/14

    There are two trends which are converging in the home improvement industry: an aging baby boomer population and a young population with a preference for urban, walkable environments. Urban homes, green or “healthy” homes, smaller homes and walkable neighborhoods with strong public transportation are attractive to both groups. Additionally, we will see an increase in so-called universal design in residential homes. Universal design is design that takes into consideration the fact that some individuals have mobility challenges, as is the case for disabled or aging individuals. For example, homes that can be accessed fully without having to go up and down stairs to get into the home or move around inside the home.

  • Doug Murrell 03/09/14

    The technology in the world of heating,cooling and domestic hot water is changing so fast,you have to constantly train for the new and advance technology or you will be left by the side of the road. We are just like car technology. Also more sustainable energy is becoming more positive in the industry and more advance technology is coming for this

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