Self-driving cars; artificial intelligence; humanoid robots; electric vehicles—and now Apple is set to introduce a new “mixed reality” headset. Suffice it to say that—technologically, at least—things are getting pretty interesting. I wouldn’t say we’re the Jetsons yet, but it feels like we’re finally getting somewhere. But is that somewhere a place we all want to go?

As so many things come to fruition, I think it’s only natural that some of us feel like we have little to no say about where things are heading. Metaphorically speaking: Yes, we can choose to drive an old, air-cooled stick shift and avoid new technologies, but what happens when we’re the only antique vehicle left on the highway? As every other aspect of our homes and lives grow more technologically advanced, I think you could ask the same question about doors and windows. I, for one, find myself wondering how some of the latest advancements and a public appetite for tech might influence fenestration.

If you stay plugged into consumer electronics media, then you may have noticed a little more discussion here and there about doors and windows. I feel like I’m seeing it, but in very subtle ways. For doors, the discussion always centers on access. As folks use their smartphones and smart watches to do things like open and operate vehicles and access hotel rooms, I think more have begun to look at the metal keys they place in their locks—and even numeric keypads—as a bit archaic.

I’ve also noticed discussions here and there about powered features. The industry has made numerous attempts over the years at incorporating electronics into windows, most notably lock sensors, and a couple of manufacturers have recently begun to incorporate things such as video doorbells, connected locks and lighting into their entry door systems, but with a steady drum of technological advancement playing in the background, I wonder how much longer homeowners will wait for doors and windows to join the dance.

As HVAC systems have become more advanced and connected thermostats have grown to become the norm, I’ve spotted talk about the possible role for automated windows. In today’s world, there’s no reason why a connected thermostat couldn’t use information such as indoor and outdoor temperatures, weather forecasts, and humidity and air quality measurements to make informed decisions about when to open and close windows. Add additional room-by-room sensors and things could get even more interesting. Maybe home automation systems determine when it’s of benefit to open and close powered blinds and shades to block or add heat gain. Maybe an HVAC system determines when it’s appropriate to adjust tunable glass, while activating air returns to distribute free heat to other areas of the home.

With the right technologies in place, the role of doors and windows could expand to include a host of critical purposes. Add to that thermal advancements in insulating glass (IG) and solid wall performance, and suddenly consumers have every reason to add as much high-tech glass as possible.

I see no reason to let the automotive and tech industries capture all of the fun and public attention. If consumers get a taste of the possibilities, doors and windows will not only become more exciting and advanced, but more desirable than ever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *