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MyGlobalHome 'Connected Living' Demonstrator

Start date

April 2020

End date

September 2022

Project website

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Overview

The University of Surrey is working in partnership with MyGlobalHome to trial and demonstrate a state-of-the-art modular, smart home concept on the University campus. In addition to providing accommodation for our staff and students, the MyGlobalHome development provides the University with a set of physical ‘Living Labs’, where we can work collaboratively to better understand and shape the future of Urban Living.

This project relates to the University of Surrey ‘Living Lab’ initiative and the University’s Urban Living research theme.

The concept

MyGlobalHome’s concept is a state-of-the-art, sustainably-constructed, smart home. The internal space is modular and can be adapted to suit the occupier’s changing needs over time (e.g. by reconfiguring the layout via innovative ‘moving wall’ technology or by swapping prefabricated elements such as bathroom, study or gym). A central ‘Core’ provides not only a way of adapting its surrounding interior layout but an immersive, sensory space.

Each home incorporates a multitude of sensor and control technologies which enable the occupier to control all aspects of the home (e.g. heating, lighting, entertainment, security etc) whilst at the same time gathering information on how the home is performing (e.g. in terms of air quality, energy usage etc). This data is available to the occupier and can be used to support and enable usage optimisation and healthy, independent living.  Furthermore, the technology can integrate with wider eco-systems including mobility, health, education and entertainment, linking the occupier to the wider community and smart-city technology.

For further information visit the MyGlobalHome website.

Research programme

To date, MyGlobalHome have worked with the University of Surrey on two related Innovate UK funded projects, focused on transforming the construction sector.

Phase 1 (2018-2019)

This project, which was worth £1M with partner contributions, has led to the construction of a pilot demonstration of the MyGlobalHome modular living concept in the heart of the University’s Stag Hill campus. The development forms MyGlobalHome’s ‘Innovation Centre’ (commissioned in Spring 2021) and is an initial test-bed for their technology.  It also provides a collaborative space for the University’s research community to work with MyGlobalHome on projects focused on the future of smart, modular living. 

Phase 1 also comprised a series of research studies, undertaken by an interdisciplinary team of University of Surrey academics from Sociology (Professor. Gilbert; Dr Xenitidou), Psychology (Drs Hodgkins and Timotijevic), the Centre for Environment and Sustainability (Professor. Leach) and Civil and Environmental Engineering (Professor. Kumar and his team).

These studies were designed to investigate:

  • The societal and ethical issues for designing a governance framework for deployment of responsible research and innovation ‘best practices’ within the construction industry for ‘smart homes’.
  • Issues for designing best practices surrounding informed and implied consent within the field of data capture for smart homes.
  • The state of the art in monitoring and modelling indoor air quality.
  • The state of the art in energy systems for building-integrated generation and control.

Phase 2 (2020-2022)

This project, worth £7.9M with partner contributions, will lead to the construction of several smart homes on the University campus. This will include a mix of new-build and retrofit dwellings. The University is working with MyGlobalHome and its partners (Buro Happold, Beckhoff, Roomee and Supermassive UX) to provide an interdisciplinary package of pre- and post-occupancy evaluation studies, focused on:

  • Assessing the physical performance of the smart home (in terms of indoor air quality).
  • Social scientific studies of pre- and post-occupancy attitudes and behaviours, and societal risk perceptions.
  • Studies designed to assess the factors that facilitate or inhibit the propagation of demonstrators into commercially viable products.

Both the Phase 1 and Phase 2 projects are yielding a legacy of state-of-the-art, digitally-enabled, buildings on our campus that can be utilised as ‘Living Labs’ for conducting research into the future of smart living.

Funding 

  • Phase 1 - £1m (including £622k from Innovate UK)
  • Phase 2 - £7.9m (including £3.8m from Innovate UK)

Team

Get involved

If you are interested in finding out more about the collaboration between the University of Surrey and MyGlobalHome, or if you have proposals for collaborative research projects that would make use of the Innovation Centre or the planned campus smart homes, please contact Dr Chris Jones at c.r.jones@surrey.ac.uk.