Five future home scenarios for 2050

type - big idea
Big Idea
category - society
sector - health & wellness
Amid the climate crisis, ageing populations and ever-more advanced technologies and materials, our homes in 2050 will be conscious and community-orientated

Immersive assistants

In some global cities, space will be at a premium. That's why, in 2050, seamless technologies will enhance people's lived experience by allowing inhabitants to immerse themselves in the metaverse – shopping, eating, working and partying in online realms – or using it as a tool to complement their daily routines and wellbeing through subtle interventions.

With longer life expectancies, more people will require care and support in later life. Our homes will also embrace immersive, data-driven technologies to meet the different needs of their multi-generational residents. AI-enabled services, such as those already being developed by DeHealth, will create interactive avatars of loved ones or carers – a trusted and familiar face to remind people with dementia to take prescriptions, or as a tool to combat loneliness in the ageing population.

Thought-starter: How might companies in the smart home category ensure they address consumer concerns about privacy so that people welcome brands offering data-driven care and support into their homes?

Food for thought

By 2050, the way we buy, consume and dispose of food, its waste and packaging will fundamentally change in response to the ecological crisis. Thanks to automation and data collection, food will become more personal than ever before, with smart fridges and apps tailoring food recommendations to optimise nutrition intake for people of all ages. Personalised and convenient meal packs will also support those with health conditions such as dementia and diabetes.

Waste will no longer be wasteful. Food waste will be turned into biofuel to help power the home and those in local communities. Smart disposal systems will be built in, such as bins that record the volume of food waste and packaging thrown away each month, giving families regular feedback on ways to avoid unnecessary waste. Platforms such as Olio will be household names, ensuring that food waste can be almost entirely repurposed. Elsewhere, household waste will be part of hyper-local, closed-loop recycling systems that provide materials for new products manufactured locally in towns and cities, rather than shipped far away to landfill.

Thought-starter: What type of initiatives should food brands be working on now to ensure they are part of a future focused on circular systems rather than unnecessary disposal?

Published by:

1 February 2022

Author: Sarah Douglas

Image: Tomorrow's Home by The Liminal Space at Museum of the Home, UK


An AI grandparent prompts members of the household to take medicine, or checks in on their wellbeing at Tomorrow’s Home exhibition by The Liminal Space

Optimised health at home

Research by University College London (UCL) suggests the number of people needing daily support will increase by 25% from 2015 to 2025, as health concerns such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure become more prevalent. The future home is likely to include intuitive technology such as smart mirrors and bathmats that prompt small daily changes to improve overall health, or smart toilets that analyse residents’ waste to detect diseases or encourage changes in diet or lifestyle. By 2050, we will be in dialogue with this technology. It will personalise its tone of voice to suit the age, personality and needs of a home’s residents, making people more attuned to its advice and suggestions.

These innovations are not just a thing of the future, however. UCL researchers are already developing wearable devices that collect data and help detect various diseases, allowing for earlier diagnosis, more personalised treatment and even preventative healthcare.

Thought-starter: What are the opportunities for innovation and closer collaboration between product and appliance manufacturers and health tech companies to make home-based healthcare a reality?

Community spirit

As climate disasters become commonplace, urban spaces will be the most sustainable environments for humans to live. The World Bank estimates that more than 140m people across Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America will become climate migrants by 2050, most moving to cities as the land becomes unworkable and uninhabitable. With cities more densely populated than before, individuals will seek to build close connections with their local communities, fuelling a new drive towards civic and environmental responsibility.

‘With cities more densely populated than before, individuals will seek to build close connections with their local communities, fuelling a new drive towards civic and environmental responsibility’

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