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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[appliances] with a Wi-Fi router that plugs into the back that communicates with the frm when something is starting to go wrong. Miele will then contact you and dispatch a servicer." LaBoon also notes several brands that can diagnose them- selves: "You can actually put your smartphone up to a plate on your refrigerator and it can tell you what the issue is." But, according to Bugler, this trend is on the wane. "Self- diagnosing appliances are not as popular as they once were," he notes, explaining that, "nothing can replace a technician, and some of these newer systems are very complex." Hampton agrees: "The self-diagnosing appliances still exist, but I don't think it's being actively pushed. If it's some- thing obvious, like a compressor, [these capabilities can usually identify the problem], but a pin hole leak or something else may be harder to diagnose." And Rexinger says, "The self-diagnosing trend has dried up, it's fading. The background and profle of someone who could be a service technician 20 years ago and today are entirely dif- ferent things. Today it's all about circuit boards, what board is running what p ortion of the product. As the technology advanc- es, so, too, do the requirements to identify malfunctions." LOOKING AHEAD So what does the future look like for smart technology? While today's trends are all about convenience, safety may be the next frontier – and one that's already begun to gain traction. When Viking's new "Incogneeto" is mounted under a countertop, it allows homeowners to use a portable, trivet-like device to cook anywhere on the countertop using induction cooking technology, which means neither the countertop nor the device gets hot – adding safety and convenience. Hampton notes that wireless charging of countertops "is also just starting to pick up now, and I think that is going to be very popular." While wireless charging is certainly convenient, getting rid of the wires and plugs also enhances safety. And Bugler says, "In the future, if the smoke alarm sounds, the newest generation of appliances may be able to disconnect themselves with an app that turns of anything plugged in. That would be a great safety feature. I hope to see that one day." He also suggests that the newest smart locks may one day be able to alert homeowners to a carbon monoxide leak before they enter their home – another potentially lifesaving technology. Already, he cites light bulbs that can be connected to a Nest thermostat, so if the house goes on fre, "all of the lights in the house turn to red, and blink." This not only could save the lives of those sleeping in the home by waking them up, it could also alert neighbors to call for help more quickly. remodel. "With the new 'connected' appliances, it can become a problem of who can aford the technology. The Millennials are more apt to purchase it, but may not have the money." Rexinger agrees on the budget issue: "[This technology] actually skews to an older consumer because the cost of the appliance isn't typically in the range of the younger ones." However, he doesn't see the baby boomers being resistant to the newest connected appliances. That's, in part, because of the overwhelming popularity of – and comfort level with – mobile devices, where consumers of all ages are used to multi-tasking from their cell phones. "[Older consumers are] embracing it; now that they have it in the palm of their hand and they see how well it performs, it's very well accepted [among all age groups]." But LaBoon believes that, ultimately, "The newer genera- tion is going to lay claim to this." Particularly with regard to technology that assists with cooking, he believes, "the older generation of consumers have already perfected their [cooking] art, so they don't want anything to change." Young, time- pressed homeowners who may not have a lifetime of recipes under their belt may be more apt to embrace technology that simplifes the details of the cooking experience. SELF-DIAGNOSING APPLIANCES A few years back, a lot of the hottest appliance technology re- volved around self-diagnostic capabilities. And some applianc- es still ofer this. Matt Wolf, contract sales and operations for the Charlotte, NC-based DCI notes, "For several years, Miele has had The Cattura Downdraft from BEST can be installed with a cooktop, freestand- ing range, drop-in or slide-in range, or built-in oven with a cooktop due to its FlexBlower System. Its Heat Sentry technology detects excessive heat and adjusts fan speed accordingly. The GE Monogram French Door Wall Oven allows users to control oven functions from anywhere inside or even outside the home using a smartphone or other Web-enabled mobile device. The Viking Incogneeto Induction Warmer is mounted underneath a stone or engineered stone countertop and allows the countertop to be transformed into a warmer for entertaining. When induction compatible cookware or bakeware is placed on top of the Magneeto 2 trivet-like device, and a temperature selected on the control panel, the Magneeto 2 acts as a temperature sensor and wireless communicator. 48 Kitchen & Bath Design News • April 2016 HIGH-TECH APPLIANCES

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