K and B Connections: Big and Getting Bigger

posted on Feb. 12, 2019, at 9:00 a.m.

NKBA Staff

Takeaways from January’s Consumer Electronics Show — Part 1. By Ed Wenck, CEDIA

Gordon van Zuiden, owner of the technology integration firm cyberManor in Los Gatos, Calif., attended the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. His takeaway? The connected kitchen and bath are big deals — and getting bigger.

“With everything connected at higher speeds, we see better screens, voice initiation — we’re seeing some solutions in both spaces that are being advocated by some of the largest electronic companies in the world,” said van Zuiden.

Samsung’s three-door French door-style Family Hub refrigerator.
Courtesy: Samsung

Samsung and LG — to just name two — are betting that smart kitchen “hubs” are the future. Families naturally gather in those spaces, and the universe of appliances that assist and entertain are becoming ubiquitous.

And key to the success of these devices are voice-control interfaces that do more than give you the weather forecast or tell jokes. “Think of all the actions in the kitchen that make sense to be initiated with voice, because your hands are occupied doing other things,” said van Zuiden. Furthermore, “The overall point in all of this is to start looking closely at the implications of refrigerators that have connectivity for assistance in cooking, for food acquisition and purchasing — I think more and more, the custom integrators will be working with the kitchen and bath designers to ensure the best possible customer experience.”

The problem with all of this cool voice-controlled tech? “One of the big divides currently out there are the two big voice ecosystems,” noted Peter Aylett of the Dubai-based firm Archimedia. (The two ecosystems Aylett’s referencing, by the way, are from Amazon and Google.) Aylett — also in attendance at CES 2019 — observed that companies whose devices can “work and play well with others” will likely have a leg up.

Van Zuiden sees the modern connected home as being “ripe for some kind of universal remote. Everything’s connected, everything has an IP address, everything has an interface, whether it’s touch, key pad or voice, and the world is crying for a way to create some kind of synergy to cross those platforms.”

Kitchen and bath designers and remodelers looking to collaborate with CEDIA integrators can find local experts at www.cedia.com.

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