Sexy House* is changing homebuilding. Japan’s Sekisui House is the world’s largest builder, as well as a top US builder and developer. By introducing their new “Platform House Concept” at CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, Sekisui shows how dramatic their new direction is. Their press release makes it very clear it is in response to increasing longevity and promotes aging in place:
“In line with our vision to “make home the happiest place in the world” the Platform House will assist the happiness of the 100-year generation.”
The big picture and intentions are familiar to technology and aging advocates and entrepreneurs in the US. The first step in selling houses as happiness is integrated technology for health- broken into 3 groups; emergency response, health monitoring over time, and preventive care. The goals are familiar too: social cost can be reduced and quality of life can be improved. But the market approach is much larger and more advanced than any US effort.
What separates the Platform House concept from typical (US) building?
1. Platform Houses are not age targeted but have in mind what Japan calls “the 100-year generation” corresponding to what HomesRenewed™ calls the modern lifespan. “Design for All” in Europe and “Universal Design” in the United States are terms used for similar concepts.
2. The house is not merely a product. It is the starting place for an ongoing customer service relationship. This approach is more familiar to us in technology where ‘cloud services’ are replacing ‘software sales’.
Sekisui’s net impact is parallel to Aging in Place 2.0, the integration of better home design with a seamless, systematic delivery of services. HomesRenewed was founded to drive the next steps to Aging in Place 2.0.
HomesRenewed’s take-away? If we don’t pay attention, our homebuilding industry and economy could be overtaken by Japan’s integrated approach much as the auto industry was surpassed by Japan’s attention to fuel efficiency a few decades ago. Can the American business community learn? I don’t know. The closest experiment we have is Best Buy’s Assured Living and their purchase of senior tech provider Great Call. Is that strategy enough to get out of the hole the auto industry jumped into? I don’t know.
What can you do?
HomesRenewed Coalition, a member organization, unique in uniting many business sectors, has a multi-stage strategy to fill the missing link:
* I attended a presentation by a Sekisui house executive more than 10 years ago. He referred to the company as “Sexy House” for US audiences. Much more importantly, they showed their customer research on physical details to serve older clients that I still refer to regularly and which still surpasses anything else I have seen. Japan has a higher percentage of seniors in the population than the US does.