Magazine article Marketing

Home Is Where the Fax Is

Magazine article Marketing

Home Is Where the Fax Is

Article excerpt

Home is where the fax is

The year is 2000. The place: an average home in an average town where the breadwinner wakes to another working day. Drowsily, he reaches over to switch off the video interactive compact disc he was watching the previous night.

He drags himself from bed, his feet sinking into the heated carpet. Yawning, he makes it into the unashamedly escapist bathroom and works out for half an hour with the fixed weights and then dumbells. Invigorated, he has a quick massage shower and washes his hair with his very own (not his family's) shampoo.

Later in the kitchen, he rustles up a quick breakfast of personal cereal, shoves yesterday's clothes in the water-saving washing machine, divides his rubbish into organic and non-biodegradable refuse and throws the remainder of his food into the built-in waste disposal unit.

There is no putting off the moment any longer. He sighs, slouches into the dining room and opens an antique cabinet door revealing a computer, fax machine and photocopier. And like 14 million others, he settles down for a day's work.

Is this genuinely what awaits us in the not-too-distant future? It is, according to the Henley Centre for Forecasting. The home, it claims in its latest report, will become the cockpit of social change during the 90s. Teleworking, the Green movement, health concern, the rapid development of technology and the throwaway culture - all these will focus on the home. People's attitudes to the home will change. So, too will the demands they make on the home's space and architecture, and the goods they buy for it.

Home as office. Home as kindergarten and school. Home as castle. Home as entertainment centre... The home of the future, Henley predicts, "is likely to be bulging at the seams as people consume an increasing number of products".

It will also be a centre of rising tension. Teleworking for example, may be a marvellous idea, but most homes simply were not built for it and do not have the space. Architecture and innovation will clash, causing both to develop unpredictably. Of the present day consumers questioned by the Henley Centre, for example, a mere 12% of the sample had a study to work in. But nearly half (46%) had a dining room - often the only part of the home not used every day.

The future will almost certainly see a blurring of distinctions between rooms, with each area serving more than one function. …

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