Are you ready for the future? Of course, you are. We have a few thoughts about what’s to come in the design technology landscape over the next few years and beyond. We’re not talking about the stuff you can buy or expect to be installed in your home this year or next but rather about the technology, science, and human factors that are likely to shape the design of our homes and cities.
At the time of writing, the design industry is in the middle of a huge shift that will transform the way that it operates and interacts with consumers. It’s going to take time, but at some point, we’ll have a better sense of what this new reality looks like. That’s when we’ll really start to make sense of all the new technologies on the horizon.
To help with that understanding, we’re going to look at three technology developments to expect to see in the design industry over the next 10 years, in no particular order. You will be able to read through all the possibilities, but this article focuses on a select few that we feel have the highest likelihood of being adopted into the design industry by 2022.
1. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
At the time of writing, this is the future that most people are thinking about when they consider the future of the design industry. These are the two big-ticket technologies you’re going to see being used to help people design their homes and neighborhoods. This is a relatively new area. And while there’s some overlap between AR and VR technologies, for the purposes of our discussion AR is more likely to be the dominant platform.
As a general rule, AR is a way of designing your home or neighborhood by overlaying digital content in the real world, while VR is a simulation that can create a realistic scene of the space being designed, which is then rendered as a full-fledged, live 3D model. For example, virtual staging software from Spotless Agency can already provide you with virtual renders that designers can do inside a program for you.
The new technology gives designers a way to take a project, with all its associated human factors and technical challenges, and present it as something you could experience with just your imagination. This can be extremely useful, and make a designer’s job a little easier. We’ve all seen the images floating around the Web of virtual tours of neighborhoods, and while the technology is fairly new, the benefits it promises are enormous. AR also has an amazing potential for visualizing how a project might look in the real world.
2. Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT), which is the collection of sensors, devices, and things that are all online and connected, is one of the most anticipated breakthroughs of our time. It has the potential to be one of the biggest changes that we’ve ever seen in the design industry if the many companies working on the technology continue to make progress.
The Internet of Things is the next step in the evolution of home automation. Today, we have our home thermostats, light switches, and even cameras and speakers. But the Internet of Things is going to be so much more than that.
Internet of Things devices will become an integrated part of the design process in a wide variety of contexts. It’s not just home design. It’s also going to become an essential part of the design process for commercial and residential construction, both large- and small-scale projects. It’s going to be an essential part of the design process for product development and logistics, and for projects that don’t fall under the direct jurisdiction of a professional designer.
IoT devices also have the potential to affect the way that designers talk about the design process. The best-designed Internet of Things device is the one that comes with the best and most complete app. If you have a device that’s able to help you understand the world around you or to give you extra information or design options, it’s going to be easier to take that information into consideration when designing the space. This kind of technology is also going to change the way that we describe design concepts and how we communicate our design intent.
3. Big Data and Artificial Intelligence
Big Data and Artificial Intelligence are the technologies that are driving the Internet of Things and will increasingly come to drive the way that designers interact with the world. Big Data is the measurement and analysis of information. When you give your thermostat a temperature setting of 80 degrees Fahrenheit, that information goes out and it’s recorded even if you never see that information yourself.
Big Data takes that info and analyzes it for patterns or trends. It’s able to find information about the environment that no single individual can detect by oneself, which is highly beneficial to the design process. One of the first applications for this information will be to design spaces that are more comfortable, both for inhabitants and visitors.
Our homes are becoming warmer and cooler, and our offices and homes are becoming more or less lit. People aren’t just getting used to these changes. But in some cases, people actively want to make these changes, and a designer is in a good position to make these kinds of adjustments. Big Data and Artificial Intelligence can make recommendations about the comfort of space and help predict problems before they actually happen. As a result, designers are going to help make better-informed decisions about the spaces that they design, which will end up in better design projects.