Exploring the future of home technology

Telus Future Home demonstrates new technology, raises questions about affordability

The exterior of the Telus Future Home exhibit. (Zain Bakhtiar/The Omega)

The exterior of the Telus Future Home exhibit.
(Zain Bakhtiar/The Omega)

A glimpse into the future of home electronics was offered to Kamloops residents when the Telus Future Home made a stop in town.

The Future Home was displayed in the parking lot of Aberdeen Mall from Nov. 24 to 29 and viewing was free for everyone.

The futuristic nature of the mobile home-sized exhibit was apparent from the face-scanning front door with an automated voice acknowledging visitors’ presence.

Inside, the 560 square foot exhibit was designed to look like a small condo, and there was more state of the art technology on display.

The exhibit featured thermostats operated by cell phone, remote-operated drapery and a house plant with sensors monitoring its status and sending notifications to home owners on their smartphones or tablets.

An intelligent kitchen with a nutrition-scanning countertop designed to calculate the nutritional information of food as it is being prepared was also featured. “The stove would give a person step by step instructions on the recipe they have selected,” said Telus salesperson Nader El.

The home office display had an interactive touch table for a desk and a flat panel screen for a monitor with high-definition video conference capability.

“The home is very enabling in terms of allowing people to work from home, remote work or study from home as well, and also really drives investment into the community,” said Clare Adams, regional market manager for Telus.

When asked if the level of technology and automation present in the Future Home is affordable in terms of energy consumption, El said “While we do have more things connected, they probably take less power than a washer and dryer built in the 1960s for example, but consumers should definitely stay conscious in terms of what their energy usage is.”

El also warned that the connected appliances would come with greater need and greater expenses in terms of data and bandwidth in order to work as advertised.

“In terms of pets, it’s tough to clean after them, but aside from that, nothing that they could really get their paws on,” said El when asked if such a connected home would be safe for pets.

Telus is using the travelling Future Home exhibit to showcase the improved bandwidth of their new fibre-optic network. “The Telus fibre-optic network is the most advanced communications infrastructure available in the world today and is laying the groundwork for the smart homes, businesses and cities of tomorrow,” said Tony Geheran, EVP & President of Telus’ Broadband Networks division in a press release.