The Connected Home: Smart Technology for the Kitchen and Bath
High-tech fixtures and appliances to make your home more modern than ever.
By Rebecca L. Rhoades
“Smart homes are a big interest, especially for Arizona homeowners who want to manage and maintain their vacation properties from a distance,” says Klosterman. More and more manufacturers are offering kitchen and bath products that not only connect to your phone or tablet but also with each other and your home automation system.
While large brands, such as GE and Samsung, continue to promote their connected appliances and artificial intelligence platforms, there were some surprising entries that captured show-goers’ attention.
Last year, Thermador invited consumers to manage their appliances through its Home Connect app. This year, the company grew that connectivity by pairing with high-end home automation company Crestron to amp up its integrated controls. Now homeowners can not only get such curated content as recipes, but they can also dim room lights, open shades, adjust indoor temperatures and much more, all from their smart phone.
GE launched its first in-oven camera with Wi-Fi capabilities, allowing homeowners to watch the turkey roast or the souffle rise without hovering near the oven, and Samsung’s new SmartThings app can monitor and control the company’s range of connected appliances, including the Family Hub refrigerator, the AirDresser clothing module and the new line of premium slide-in ranges.
“The big thing I’ve found with AI is that the technology can be updated when new software is introduced,” notes Klosterman. “So the appliances are just going to get better with time instead of becoming outdated. And with some brands, we can change the finishes on them for a fresh look that’s also technologically current. That’s pretty amazing.”
While app-controlled ovens, touch-screen refrigerators and sensor-integrated sink hardware are becoming standard, some new developments are changing the way we look at faucets.
U by Moen Smart Faucet, which took home the Smart Technology award at Best of KBIS, Delta’s VoiceIQ technology and Kohler Konnect all sync with digital voice assistants, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, for touchless faucet control. The sleek U by Moen lets you ask for precise volumes of water at specific temperatures, for example 8 ounces of water at 98.6 degrees. A wave sensor at the front of the faucet turns the water on or off with a simple hand movement, for an added convenience. Delta’s VoiceIQ pairs with Delta Touch2O faucets to turn the water on or off, provide metered dispensing, warm the water and fill custom containers, while the Kohler Konnect app lets homeowners do all of this as well as control lighting, turn on the shower to a preset temperature and even begin to play a morning soundtrack thanks to the Moxie showerhead that features a built-in speaker by Harman Kardon.