The Home of the Future (According to “Back to the Future”)

Now that October 21, 2015 is here and we have finally reached the “future”, let’s see how accurate “Back to the Future” predicted the innovations of the 21st century.

The following is a guest post from Carla Hayes of the Coldwell Banker marketing team.

When “Back to the Future Part II” came out in the theaters, I would have given my Caboodle, collection of scrunchies AND New Kids on the Block t-shirt to have been the girl who got to ride with Marty and Doc to the future – which according to the date on the flux capacitor was Oct. 21, 2015.

Even though I had to get here by more traditional means, I’m still pretty excited to have finally made it to the future.

That movie gave us glimpse of what the future of would look like (according to our 1989 selves). I was wide-eyed and spent (probably too many hours) imagining what it would be like to live in that world. Now that we’re here, I’ve been thinking about where we are vs. where we imagined we would be.

We haven’t made it to the flying car – although a self-driving version has become reality. And much to my brother’s dismay, the hover board never appeared beneath our Christmas tree or on the street.

But in today’s most tricked-out smart homes, we’re on par with, if not miles beyond, anything the 2015 version of the McFly’s had.  Judging from the list below, the future is here in a big way, and even cooler than our late 80s’ imagination could conjure up.

No more keys for the front door: The McFly’s used their thumbs; but I would argue that we’ve moved ahead of them with the August Smart Locks that open the front door with your phone. You can’t take a thumbprint from the plumber or your real estate agent, but with the August lock, you can assign access to those people who need to come into and out of your home.

Talking Face-to-Face Remotely: I was floored by the idea that we would be able to SEE people when we talked to them. But I used to wonder what I would do if someone called me on a video phone and I was still in my PJs (I have no idea why that worried me so much as a 9 year-old). Now we video chat easily and without a second thought on our phones; and with the newest versions of the connected, wall-mounted screens we are keeping up with the McFly’s. But you’ve got to admit – ours have better resolution.

Windows to the World: We might not be able to easily change the scene outside our windows, but we can automatically open and close the shades (and lights and temperature) without even setting foot in the house with Lutron Caseta Wireless. And in the most high-tech of homes, those wall-mounted screens connect to sensors that register your presence in a room and display the art or scenes you prefer.

No waiting for mail: Marty got the message that he was fired – in no time flat – via a sheet of paper that came out of the fax machine installed in the wall. We’ve moved pretty far beyond those dot-matrix fax machines. The movies producers obviously didn’t anticipate the rise of Wi-Fi. With today’s smart phones and tablets, you can get that message anywhere. And even if your home has a spot where the Wi-Fi is typically weak, boosting your signal is as simple as installing a lightbulb with the Singled Wi-Fi light bulbs.

There are a few things that we’re still waiting to see:

14-Second Pizza: We still don’t have the hydrator that made a pizza in seconds. But today’s ovens, like those from LG, are getting more sophisticated – who want’s re-hydrated pizza anyway?

Floating, personal-traction device: George McFly comes floating – upside down – through the door of Marty’s 2015 home. To be fair, even in the movie, they hadn’t solved the problem of how to keep your hair in place when hanging upside down.

Even now, 16 years after I saw the movie for the first time, I love imagining what the future will bring. Who knows exactly what the Smart Home will look like 15 years in the future, but now we have events like the Smart Home Marketplace at CES that can give us a glimpse to the technologies that mean most to home owners. For me, I’m looking forward to the day that my laundry does itself!

What technology would you want most in your smart home of the future (or of today)? Tell us in the comments.

Header image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Sam is the Content and Multimedia Specialist for Coldwell Banker Real Estate. He is Jersey born and bred, and currently resides in Weehawken, NJ. He is an avid reader, loves Games of Thrones and is a New York Yankees die-hard.

You can follow him on Twitter @World_Shalom

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1 Comment

  1. Deborah Scott
    October 23, 2015

    Sam, really like this piece, here’s some insight for you since I was born in 1956, for me we have come from B&W TVs that went off at midnight to no city every sleeps. BIG cars with Big engines to cars that can park themselves. From pen and tablet to stylus and tablet. And the greatest…from the princess phone to the iPhone 6S. In my sixty years I have experience the technology revolution…and I’m not afraid to say I’m sixty either!

    I would like for you to share with me two marketing items …if you can. The first one is where can I get a pair of the CB sunglasses and the CB bracelet that was used in the 2015 REAL Trends 500 Survey, “Success is Always in Fashion,” I would like to use this in my new branding campaign. Secondly, can you send me or tell me where I can get the video that show how far we have come in technology, I have seen it several times in marketing seminars…it’s about 2 or 3 minutes long…some marketing groups owns it and keeps it up to date.

    Thanks, I hope you are able to fulfill my wishes…have a great weekend.



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