System Design and Management

The MIT Master's Program in Engineering and Management

The Home of the Future: The System of the Future


Bruce Beihoff, Global Leader Advanced Systems, Senior Principal Technologist and Director of Innovation and Technology—Systems and Process Research, Whirlpool Corporation

The system of the home and the subsystems that enable it to operate are undergoing their most dramatic evolution since World War II. The societal pressures and opportunities represented by energy, environment, health, wellness, and globalization have converged to form the fulcrum of this change. Further converging to drive this new engine are the adjacent systems represented by consumer electronics, communications, food, and fitness. Adding these all together it is easy to see the drivers of the “what,” but there is a “how” to consider that is equally important. Since World War II, attempts to radically change home systems have largely achieved incremental results because they have been treated as disconnected “component system” initiatives driven by continuous improvement,  regulation, or the crisis of the moment. One system’s gain had generally meant many other systems’ loss. Now we have a new set of “hows” that can show us a better path; namely, system optimization through model driven architecture. For the first time in modern history, we are modeling the home as a multifunction/multiphysical system and proposing architected solutions that change the tradeoff space of home design. In doing so, we can make breakthroughs in system value that “pull” the evolutionary change from the viewpoint of all constituents: governments, consumers (including parents), and environmentalists. In this presentation, Mr. Beihoff proposes to outline the factors involved and expose the audience to the opportunity that has arisen to invent a future for the home in a way that creates a systems evolution fast enough to produce revolutionary results. He will outline these factors from the perspective of appliances, building systems, adjacent systems, regional infrastructures, and societal drivers. Mr. Beihoff will further describe, in brief, the new “hows” that are being applied in the multiphysical/multidimensional modeling space.

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  • Sloan School of Management
  • School of Engineering
  • Engineering Systems Division

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