Kitchen & Bath Design News

JAN 2018

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

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Even if they don't sell appliances, designers need to understand how today's smart appliances work, as well as how these will interface with high-tech household management systems, now and in the future. BY ELLEN CHEEVER, CMKBD, ASID The Connected Kitchen nterior designers and architects tell me the smart home is now "mainstream." In the September/October 2017 issue of I+D Magazine, an article "Next Gen Home" said it well: "Smart designers are finding smart technology is raising the IQ of today's living spaces." Technology expert Eric Schimelpfenig did a great job describ- ing household management systems available today in his KBDN November 2017 column. For those of us who specialize in kitchen design, it is the innovation of connecting well-engineered "smart" appliances to these high-tech household management systems that will challenge our expertise and creativity in 2018 and beyond. To design the best kitchen possible for each and every one of our clients, these new product innovations demand our study and understanding – even if we do not specify the appli- ance suite for the rooms we create. Let's concentrate on how these appliance technologies work and what the cook needs to know to use them, as well as what artificial intelligence is doing to dramatically improve the appliances' abilities to complete tasks on behalf of the user. Even if you do not specify exact equipment by manufacturer or model, you need to know the best ways to present these equip- ment possibilities to skeptical prospective clients. THREE KEY INNOVATIONS Three innovations are leading today's technological explosion of appliance operational expertise, and hands-free product connectivity and communications. The Internet of Things (IoT) – The internet is able to con- nect things – not just people – with no hard-wiring required. Additionally, changes and upgrades are easily accommodated. Thus: a "hands free" method of control and monitor. The Unifying Ecosystem – "Smart" often means multiple devices used by multiple people, operated by different apps, voice-control assistants or a screen. With so many devices and ways to control them, the smart home can quickly become a tech nightmare. Experts agree the key to making all of these smart home technologies useful to people is making them easier to use. Enter the hub: quite simply, a kit of software and hardware that links all of the home's smart devices into a single-controlled network called an ecosystem. An open-application programming interface allows outside device makers to enable their smart gadgets to communicate with the hub. I Talented kitchen designers are expanding their knowledge about appliances as the category explodes with new technical innovations and remote control offerings. Photo: Courtesy of Omega Cabinets 74 Kitchen & Bath Design News • January 2018

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