Just how smart is your home? What about your kitchen or bathroom? How about those appliances and fixtures? While “smart” devices have traditionally come in the form of things like thermostats or security cameras, appliance manufacturers have been making homes a lot smarter — and more colorful – by raising the IQ of refrigerators and ovens.
The Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, or KBIS, starts today in Las Vegas and runs through the week. So, what smart home/appliance trends can we expect to see at the event and throughout the year? Here are some predictions.
Smart appliances are old news
Remember a couple years ago when appliance makers were announcing that all their washing machines, ovens, and dishwashers were smart and came with an app? That’s so four years ago. Why? Because now, it’s pretty much a given that your new appliance will be smart, whether you use those capabilities in your home or not. Many flagship appliances on the market today give you the option of, say, starting or stopping a washing machine or checking the contents of your fridge while you’re at the grocery store.
Now, the news isn’t that your appliance is smart, but just how smart it is. At KBIS this year, we expect to hear more than just “we have smart appliances,” because that’s a given. The question is, now that appliances are smart, what other things will manufacturers bake into them? Answer: Lots of different things, like more Amazon Dash buttons, more voice assistant integration, and more smart home control overall.
A world of color
Matte stainless steel is so last year. This year, expect to see more small and major appliance makers throwing a splash of color onto appliances. While stainless steel will always be an option for all you traditionalists out there, those who are seeking a pop of color in your kitchen will see a rainbow at KBIS. Think reds, vintage greens, and even champagne-colored fridges, mixers, and more. While we’ve already seen this trend to some extent with KitchenAid mixers and Smeg appliances, expect other appliance makers to follow suit. After all, we all could use a splash of color in our lives.
Small appliances inside of big appliances
Remember the days when major appliances just did one thing, like wash your dishes or keep food cool? This year, we’re seeing appliances that can do much more than that. For example, the Samsung Family Hub Fridge has a built-in LED screen that is essentially a computer. We’ve also seen fridges with flex drawers that you can set to either fridge or freezer. And then there are ovens with built-in air fryers. We expect to see and hear more about this trend of “an appliance within an appliance” at KBIS and beyond.
This isn’t a new trend, but a continuing one: Major appliance makers are teaming up with cooking app companies to make life in the kitchen easier. For example, Innit has partnered with many manufacturers to integrate recipes directly into things like fridges and ovens.
Expect those partnerships to strengthen, with more announcements on the way during KBIS. For example, LG announced recently that it is partnering with Tovala, a company that makes meal kits and a steam countertop oven. The partnership means that all LG smart ovens and ranges will automatically be able to read and cook Tovala’s meal kits. All you have to do is open the oven, and it does the rest for you.
Alexa, flush my toilet
It’s not just appliances that are in on the smart home action at KBIS. Expect to see more smarts in the bathroom. It’s possible that, pretty soon, Amazon Alexa will be in everyone’s bathroom just like she is in many people’s living rooms.
With companies like Kohler leading the way with its smart toilet that’s also an Alexa speaker, we expect to see added smarts in the way of voice assistant-enabled mirrors, toilets, tubs, and anything else you can think of. We’ve already got smart toothbrushes, so why not toilets?
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- Stainless steel is so last year. In 2019, it’s all about colorful appliances
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