An ever increasing number of people are automating their everyday life - the smart home is booming like never before. Around a third of Germans want to purchase a smart product for their own home in the next twelve months. Increasing digital networking is presenting furniture manufacturers and interior designers with new challenges, and at the same time offers big chances for growth.
From a current figure of around two million, the number of networked houses and apartments will increase rapidly to eight million by 2022, according to a study of the eco association of the Internet economy and the corporate consulting firm Arthur D. Little. In four years the market volume in Germany alone will amount to 4.3 billion Euro.
Especially popular at present is intelligent lighting: controllable LEDs automatically dim the brightness and change the light colours. Lights are not only decorative, they also create an individual atmosphere. And the trade is tempting with affordable starter prices. With the Tradfri series from Ikea, the lighting can in the meantime be adapted for remote control, voice or app for less than ten Euro.
Furniture manufacturers and internal designers already profit today from the smart home surge when they adapt their products to technological development: the lights controlled by an app disappear elegantly into the interior of the furniture, but provide light as soon as somebody enters the room. Beds turn on the light when desired when someone gets up in the night. The accompanying mattresses are equipped with sensors and automatically pump in air to make lying down more comfortable, like with the 360 Smart Bed from the Sleep Number company.
Furniture is becoming intelligent. The areas of usage are highly versatile: with a mirror one might in future not only regard oneself, but also show the smartphone display. The networked clothes closet will assess the weather and suggest or assemble the appropriate clothing.
Furniture manufacturers also have to rethink the design. When, for example, an increasing number of households have vacuum robots, cabinets and sofas should be designed in such a way that the little household helpers can easily vacuum beneath them.
At the same time, manufacturers can use intelligent furniture to solve a big problem: because living space is becoming increasingly precious, the space must be used more efficiently in future. Like with the duotable from Urban Favourites. In the morning one can enjoy a cosy breakfast on it; notebook and tablet are concealed inside. The cable guide is designed to be invisible within the table leg. In this way the table can be transformed into a compact home office in the afternoon.
The smart home influences our living and our lives to a great extent. The furnishing must be more than an eye-catcher, it must make the everyday routine easier. Smart furniture and furnishing objects are becoming increasingly relevant, and the potential hasn't been even close to fully exploited.