Technology can provide convenience, efficiency and an element of fantasy. But what about creating better outcomes for people? What about providing opportunities for better health, safety, well-being?

At the HIVE conference in December, Jason McLennan, CEO of McLennan Design and founder/creator of the Living Building Challenge, challenged the audience with new ways to think about applying technology to make health, safety, and wellness an essential component of design.

As a HIVE dean, McLennan presented his insights on using design intelligence to lead to better building technology.

Right now housing is in transition. Most homes are not yet smart. And, unfortunately, transition usually travels with an element of risk. The housing industry needs to move rapidly through the transition while managing the risk, despite being a highly risk averse industry. Layered on top of the risk is uncertainty. Many of the technologies that are being identified as tomorrow’s solutions are not yet mainstream. That means that in order to make progress, housing leaders need to place bets on technologies that aren’t proven, a risk that not many are willing to take.

Another element of advancing concern is security and privacy, especially in the field of health and wellness. The future involves housing that is an interactive part of the resident’s life. It will have sensors and identify with the inhabitants, which means it will be calling on information and feeding information back to the cloud on a regular basis. And, that information has to stay secure so the user is comfortable, otherwise the technology won’t launch.

Here, McLennan brings together an elite panel of Ben Skoog, vice president, growth and innovation, LP Building Products; Lee Clark-Sellers, innovation officer, Ply Gem Industries; Dana Pillai, executive director, Well Living Lab; and the Bozzuto Group's Mike Schlegel, partner at Bozzuto and Associates and president at Bozzuto Construction Co., to incorporate their thoughts into the discussion.

Through the panel, these experts discussed issues with the supply chain, costs, acceptance, and ease of use—all factors that play an important role in where and how building technology can influence the future of health and wellness.

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