It wasn’t so long ago that voice-activated homes were a futuristic pipe dream, or touch screens seemed straight out of a sci-fi flick. But in an era where our lives are surrounded, if not governed by, rapidly updating tech, how can spatial designers incorporate these innovations into the places we inhabit, in a considered way?
A discussion at DENFAIR 2019 with Clipsal by Schneider Electric took a deep dive into how intelligent application of the technologies now available to us might enable a greater experience of space.
XAVIER LIFRAN – Pacific Design Lab Director at Schneider Electric
“For me, the interesting thing is that we can do just about anything with technology. It’s quite amazing, each time I ask our engineers a questions, they say, yes, we can do that. So I think the next step is for interior designers to get to know what to do with the technology. And that will be the next trend.
Please dream, because we have a network of electrical and eco experts, and we have CBUS technology that can do many, many things. So it’s just about asking the questions.”
Moderator: Do we still need wiring?
“I love wireless when it’s working. And I love wire because it’s always working. So sometimes simplicity means wires, and sometimes it’s wireless. And there’s no overarching principal. If you work on buildings that are the scale of Adelaide Oval, wireless is not that reliable. And if you have public attending your building, the technology has to be very reliable. So in that case, CBUS with a wire is probably the best way to go. But when you are in a residential home, it’s different. We just launched a bluetooth base where you don’t need internet, just one-to-one with a phone, and that’s a very good tool. It’s reliable for a room in a house. But it depends on the scale of the project. So it’s best to ask the specialists. There’s not a principal that says wireless is simpler. For example, wireless induction charging is very bad for your phone. But then it works for your car, because it runs at a higher power.”
MARK JEISMAN – Business Development Manager with Digital Buildings
“CBUS is a home automation system that was invented 25 years ago here in Australia. And Clipsal is celebrating 25 years of CBUS this year.
I can’t think of many technologies that have been around 25 years, and are absolutely as valid today as they were 25 years ago. You may be surprised to learn that it’s not only private homes that CBUS has gone into, but high profile commercial sites like the Sydney Olympic Stadium, the Manchester Stadium in the UK, places like Subiaco Oval. So over the years, it’s a system that’s provided a very robust quality management system. But moving forward, as we demand energy efficiency and different things from our homes, what’s great is that the technology is adaptable. It’s also backward compatible. Which means we can go back to a home that we fitted 25 years ago, we can adapt, we can change and add new things. You can’t do that with many technologies. And in fact, a lot of companies aren’t actually around for more than 25 years! We celebrate 100 years next year in Australia with Clipsal, and our parent company, Schneider Electric, is around 180. So we’re going to be around for a few years.”
On the Internet of Things:
“There are a lot of buzzwords out there these days. Going back to 10 years ago, a lot of this was a nice-to-have. These days, it’s pretty well mandatory. We talk about things like critical infrastructure in homes, people putting in battery storage, photovoltaic cells on our roofs, and why wouldn’t you, in Australia? EV chargers, for electric vehicles. All these things are becoming necessary infrastructure in our homes and our buildings. We’re also starting to connect our buildings together, and collecting that data is very important. We’re starting to understand how our buildings work. How we live and work inside them. You’ll hear about sensors a lot more in the future of buildings, tracking things like oxygen, carbon dioxide, humidity and noxious gases. That allows us to alter the building, and improve quality of life, and the quality of productivity in our workplaces.”
“Recognise the technology is there to benefit the building and the occupants. Be empowered by the technology, not overpowered by it.”
To see the entire range from Clipsal by Schneider Electric, head to their website.