Do Your Walls Think? Exploring Technology In The Home


You’ve certainly heard the adage, “if these walls could talk,” in reference to a home and the lives that unfold between the walls.

But….what if your walls could think?

Well, guess what? It’s happening.

Right now.

The House of the Future

There's no question technology has become an anchor in our lives in the kind that we find that we simply can’t live without. Especially when it comes to access to information, as well as enhancing and supporting our busy lifestyles. Enter home automation, once a niche market that has quickly become more mainstream and now attracts the attention of Google, Apple and Microsoft, who are all competing for this burgeoning in-demand market.

Microsoft, for instance has built a prototype “home of the future”, where your home is completely intuitive, and “digital technology literally blends into the walls.”  

Click here for a video report, and here for a print article about the home.

The impetus behind this project is Microsoft’s realization of the key role that connected devices can play in supporting how we live our lives – from the point of view of efficiency and comfort. This is about more than bells and whistles; it’s about enhancing the way we live.

Gadgetry in Microsoft’s prototype home includes hand scans at the front door, instead of a doorbell, a digital fish tank and an interactive dining room table. The kitchen is the pinnacle of intuitive cooking, with cooks required to simply place ingredients on the countertop, which produces a digital list of recipes for use of the ingredients at hand.


The walls are completely digital, and display videos, clocks and artwork. Social media is readily at hand for your viewing pleasure. You are given warning when your plants need water. Family calendars are synched and displayed on touch screens. A decorative tray in the entry way synthesizes information and charges phones and mobile devices.

Although this all may sound a little spaceship, there is a quiet digital revolution happening in everyday houses, by homeowners who wish to enmesh hi-tech with their daily life. Products and services are abounding, and are becoming part of domesticity.

Smartphones are Really Smart


What do you always have on your person?

Your smartphone.

Beyond being command central for your professional and social life, what it your smartphone also availed itself as command central for systems in and around your home?

Here is an article called “Five Household Appliances you can Control with your Smartphone.”

Keyless Entry

What if all you had to carry to access your home was your smartphone?

There are companies (like UniKey) that offer you the ability to control all things related to your doors (i.e. entry, viewing who’s on the other side etc.) all accessible via Bluetooth wireless technology piped through your phone. It also lets you send electronic copies of your “key”, say if you had a friend watching your home while you were out of town, or had someone coming in to do work. It lets you set up time specific access for “key“ access, as well as gives you the option to change or withdraw access. Your phone can also alert you when someone is knocking on your door, and let you view who it is.

Here is an article on your phone and the nifty things that you can do with your doors.

Nest Thermostat

The Nest Thermostat is another product that is both sensitive and sensible.

Google has recently acquired this company, another nod to major players positioning themselves to grab a slice of this market share. Here is an article on that.


This thermostat is intuitive, and senses your energy use patterns, and adapts itself accordingly. It knows when you’re home; it knows when you’re out. It’s like having an attentive roommate. The real draw for this is two pronged- the potential savings in energy consumption (which is becoming increasingly important to homeowners, as costs rise) and the convenience of being able to control the system remotely, via computer or Smartphone.

Nest also has carbon monoxide and smoke detectors that can be controlled remotely, in the same fashion.

Home, Safe, Home

Apparently Smartphones share many of the same system components that security systems do.

Utilizing a series of sensors, you can use your phone to alert you via Wi Fi, if there is an intruder.



An app available both for Android and for the iPhone called Presence, repurposes your old phone or tablet as a Wi Fi camera and sends you video clips when motion is detected. It also lets you have face-to-face audio and video that lets you interact with anyone at home (pets, or if you are keeping an eye on kids after school, etc).

While some of these tech gadgets are nice to have – or are just cool – there is a growing home buyer base that is actively seeking hi-tech homes, and are including tech gadgetry in their search criteria. Homes that have evolved ahead of the curve hold particular appeal, and may serve well to rise up amongst the competition, helping sellers secure top dollar.

Want to learn more? Here's urbaneer’s recent post called Eight Ways To Increase The Value Of Your Property.

Looking for a hi-tech house, or curious to learn more about domestic gadgetry? Urbaneer knows all about housing bells and whistles – and what direct purpose they can serve in enhancing the quality of life.

Like what you've read? Consider signing up below for our FREE monthly newsletter, which keeps you informed on housing, culture and design!

~ Steven and the urbaneer team

earn your trust, then your business


Previous Post
Urbaneer’s May 2014 E-Promo
Next Post
Toronto Sales Volume And Prices Jump In May 2014