Kitchen & Bath Design News

APR 2014

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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April 2014 | 43 erators are only going to get smarter … to the point where they can likely ultimately or- der food." Cheever sees food inven- tory as being a huge driver in the refrigerator market, as seen by one manufacturer that ofers a refrigerator with an internal camera. "When you're at the store you can do a quick check to see what's inside," she says. HOW FAR TO GO? While smart technology within an individual unit seems readi- ly acceptable by many, moving toward greater integration is still a work in progress. Many designers KBDN spoke with predict that, at some point, appliances will readily talk to one another, as well as send messages to either the home- owner, the manufacturer or even a grocery store. Remote control via a smart phone or tablet is another expected growth area. Some manufac- turers are already dabbling with some of this technology. But there is some hesitation about how far tech- nology should go. Cheever isn't convinced that control- ling appliances remotely is the next best thing. "I'm not quite sure turning on/of ap- pliances is the key," she says. Knott agrees. "I had one client tell me she didn't know if she wanted everything con - nected to the Internet because it's too easy to get hacked," she says, noting the client's concern about compromised technology and viruses. Camp indicates there could be liability concerns as well. "What happens if someone turns on an oven from the road and it causes a fre," she questions. "These are all issues that need to be addressed." Plus, there is a certain amount of education that goes along with these smart appliances. "The sky is the limit for how much technical support is available to us in the kitchen," says Donohue. "But it isn't for everyone. There is a learning curve and a time investment that needs to be made." COMMUNICATING WITH OTHERS Another aspect up for debate is the ability to communi- cate with outside parties, such as a manufacturer or grocery store. Cheever sees this as a defnite advantage when it comes to service and maintenance. "An interesting technology on the horizon is the ability for appliances to do a self evaluation and identify problems," she says. "Ultimately, it could shorten the time between identifying a problem and resolving it." Knott sees this as a bo- nus, too. "It's like a car," she says. "When the screen says to check the air pressure in your tires, it gives you bet- ter control of maintenance. If a manufacturer can moni- tor maintenance and let me know in advance when something like a flter needs to be changed, I think that's wonderful." However, some design- ers indicate their clients are hesitant about giving up too much control. "There is some negativity about sending mes- sages to a manufacturer or the contents of your refrigera- tor to a grocery store," says Camp. "There's a privacy is- sue about everyone knowing your business. Some of my cli- ents want to maintain control. They want to be the ones to initiate any communication." WHAT'S NEXT? There is no denying that smart appliances are chang- ing kitchens and how we function within them. But what does the future hold? "I believe we're still ear- ly with smart appliances and their use," says Kelly Morisseau, CMKBD, CID and blogger/author. "The next generation will expect them, although they don't yet have the disposable income to aford them. The methodol- ogy still needs to be worked out as well as we move into wireless technology. Not all wireless technology works with other wireless technol- ogy, and there is no standard. Every manufacturer is bring- ing its own system to the home. Much like multiple radio transmissions on the same frequency, that might pose some challenges. We're also dealing with cloud stor- age and how much Internet security each manufacturer will bring to the table to pre- vent hackers from playing." KBDN columnist and tech guru Eric Schimelpfenig, AKBD, predicts that custom- ization and upgradability will play roles moving forward. "It needs to be something that ages well and is easily upgradable," he says. "The building products industry in general has been a little slow to adopt certain technolo- gies. But a lot of companies have gotten to see how oth- ers didn't do a good job. Now smart phones have matured enough so that we have fast connections to the Internet and people are comfortable with them, so now is a great time for new technologies to start coming out." For Camp, it's about prac- ticality. "There's a practical side to it," she says. "If it saves energy and water, if it makes someone a better cook, then my clients are on board. And, it can't cost a whole lot more. People are still hurting from the recession. They don't want to pay an arm and a leg for what they think is a giz- mo. If they think it's valuable enough, that it will make their lives better, they'll consider it. There's a diference between being smart and being cute and clever. The smartest homes I've done are those that involve security, com- fort and saving energy. That's what my clients focus on, and that's what they'll pay for." "You have to walk before you run," adds Borg. "This technology is still evolving, slowly…and rightfully so." • One of the most popular smart appliances that Kathleen Donohue specs is the speed cook oven, such as the GE model included in this kitchen. 'My clients love these appliances, which are about the size of a microwave,' she says. 'They have about everything imaginable preprogrammed into them.' • Pat Borg included a Thermador induction cooktop – which intelligently recognizes cookware size and shape – in this kitchen, as well as a Miele steam oven. 'People enjoy being in the kitchen,' he says. 'Appliances are so much better now in terms of ease of use, functionality and repairs.' Photo: Ross Chandler, Chandler Photography KBD_42-43_TechFeature.indd 43 3/17/14 10:37 AM

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