Last week, Jon and I took a trip to visit the smart home of the future, which lives within the offices of Unruly, a video-focused advertising agency with its HQ in Whitechapel, London. Being a pair of over-excited tech geeks, we had both been counting down the days leading up to our visit to the Unruly smart home – and we were not disappointed. In the large ground-floor lobby that boasted both a climbing wall (with 80s arcade games like Pacman projected over the surface) and a bunch of kawaii-style scatter cushions interspersed with plug sockets for a bit of chilled workspace outside of the bullpen upstairs, we were met by Simon Gosling and Kevin Ellis.
We were led upstairs and given a quick tour of the office, which bears a bit of a mention, given its sheer level of awesomeness. We walked past a bunch of employees on Mac laptops, reclining in deckchairs on a patch of artificial grass, and were given a quick glimpse of Unruly’s meeting rooms. There was the Storm Trooper room, with over fifty storm trooper helmets mounted on the walls. There was the Darth Vader room, with ornate black furniture and matching chandelier and an original Darth Vader full costume suit against one wall. Yes – original – as in, literally used in the films. We also saw the Back to the Future room – with a flux capacitor and hoverboard on the wall. I believe I also spotted a Superfly room. Beyond the meeting rooms, we were led past a wall upon which were mounted about 20 different super soaker water guns, into the large kitchen, buzzing with staff chatting in groups over takeaway pizza. At the end of the kitchen stood a pink Smeg fridge. Simon opened the door – inside was Narnia. We stepped into a small, strongly air-conditioned room with a carpet of artificial snow and an ornate park bench. A winter forest scene sparkled on the walls, and three pairs of Yeti foot slippers lay by the door – to, y’know – wear whilst working in a nice cold room.
I could go on, but you get the picture. This is the kind of new media agency Mecca us cybergeeks dream of working in. So, we were already wowed by the time Simon led us back down the hall and through an illuminated white door, into the Unruly smart home:
The vid gives you some idea of what we were dealing with here. A very awesome mid-century modern styled dream pad. The Samsung fridge, the AR newspaper, the voice-controlled lighting and blinds. Yes, it literally was like the Jetsons meets Mad Men in there. What you don’t get to see in the video is the connected mirror in the dressing room that functions as both the Cher from
What you don’t get to see in the video is the connected mirror in the dressing room that functions as both the Cher from Clueless dream (pick your outfits with a computer) and a personal shopper that will suggest other items you may wish to buy based on your personal style and upcoming calendar events.
The pictures on the walls of the child’s bedroom are AR-enabled, allowing kids to take an educational trip through history to view London over the last few centuries, teaching them, for example, about the Great Fire of London and how Industrial Revolution urbanisation impacted the city landscape.
However, the main purpose of our visit was to record a podcast with Simon, which we did directly from the dining table inside the Unruly smart home itself. And we are so glad we did. Simon had loads to say about how the smart home of the future would be the dawn of a new era of ambient advertising. I think you’re going to find this quite remarkable – so go grab yourself a tea, coffee, beer, or glass of wine, and get comfy. This is a TDMB Presents… podcast that you absolutely need to listen to:
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