Kitchen & Bath Design News

APR 2016

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

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realize you left your list at home, you can literally look inside your fridge from your cell phone and see if you need to buy more milk," LaBoon explains. This is the kind of practical beneft that's easy to explain to homeowners, rather than being technology for technology's sake. Rexinger agrees that time savings is one of the benefts of the new technology. "We're starting to get some traction on the wall ovens that communicate with your cell phone. There are several manufacturers doing this," he remarks. For instance, GE Monogram has a single oven as well as a double oven that have apps that allow homeowners to set the temperature while they are out. "So, if you're at the grocery store and you see a beautiful chicken you want to cook for dinner, you can grab your phone, go to the GE app, turn on your oven and set it to 350 degrees on convection. Now, you're not wasting time when you get home waiting for it to pre-heat," Rexinger explains. Hampton agrees that the convenience factor is appealing to many consumers. "People like turning their appliances on and of from their cell phone, preheating remotely, being able to have the oven text their phone when their dinner reaches a certain temperature – that sort of thing. They like that they can be a little more free and not to be tied to the range when they're cooking." Bugler also sees consumers showing interest in products that help them to cook better. He cites the M Series oven by Wolf, "which has 200+ preprogrammed recipes so that users can just select what they want and it will tell them what to do, what rack position to use, and they are good to go." Rexinger adds, "We typically are saying to the consumer, 'if you're a great cook, [buying a cooking appliance with this type of technology] will make you a spectacular cook. And if you're not so good, it will make you a great cook, because there is so much preprogrammed into the appliance, with recipes that select time and temperature, and varying temperatures as the cooking takes place.'" Appliances are also connecting with each other. As an example, Rexinger notes, "Miele just introduced a line of cooktops and hoods that communicate with each other. Once the cooktop gets up to a particular heat level, it will communi- cate that to the range hood, which will turn on automatically and exhaust out the vapor or steam or odor produced from the cooking that's taking place." SO WHO'S BUYING? While the new "smart" technology is adding a wealth of func- tional enhancements to the latest kitchen appliances, there's still some question about who's actually buying these units. LaBoon admits that younger consumers are the ones most drawn to the new technology, as most have grown up with it and have a tremendous comfort level with smartphone apps and Wi-Fi. For many older consumers, the technology isn't quite as appealing. "Older customers just see it as another thing that's going to break," LaBoon explains. Even the LED touch screens on the wall ovens can be a turn of for some of these home- owners, who are more comfortable with traditional controls that are viewed as less likely to need repairs down the road. Hampton agrees that clients on the older end of the spectrum are slower to embrace the trend toward connectivity. "There are still quite a few who are hesitant to jump into the technology that is featured on their oven [because they're] still not certain what value they're going to get out of it," he notes. Paradoxically, he says, the ones the technology most appeals to – the Millennials – often don't have the budget for it, espe- cially if they're working on a starter home or doing their frst Signature Kitchen Suite premium appliances, developed by LG Electronics, are Wi-Fi connected with SmartThinQ. Dacor's Discovery iQ 48" Dual-Fuel Range is the world's frst to feature an integrated, wirelessly connected tablet with a Dacor iQ Controller that can recognize and respond to voice commands via the Discovery iQ app. Miele's exclusive Con@ctivity 2.0 technology enables induction cooktops and ventilation hoods to communicate with each other, ensuring the hood turns on and of in sync with the cooktop while operating at the optimal setting. April 2016 • KitchenBathDesign.com 47

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