A hands-free motion activated sink, sensor-activated lights and a thermometer that alerts your smartphone when dinner is ready could seem like you’ve entered a time warp. Yet, the kitchen of the future is clearly here today. Connectivity and innovation have arrived in our kitchens in exciting ways. The industry has responded to consumer demand for state-of-the-art features and functionality. From a connectivity standpoint, we see internet, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth integration taking on a lot of responsibility in the kitchen. A few examples include:
- Smart devices and appliances such as automated range hoods that adjust ventilation based upon heat from the cooktop to conserve energy while promoting safety.
- Sensor-driven ovens that self-clean and include programmable thermostats and smoke detectors.
- Wi-Fi connectivity to manage the cooktop or oven remotely with notification if your burner is left on and timers that shutdown automatically.
It’s all about consumer convenience and creating a stylish and unique space with unique features and functions that truly work for the homeowner. One caution to keep in mind is that adding touch screens and tablet interfaces to an appliance isn’t always a smart move. Consider that the average tablet device lasts about three years and average refrigerator can last up to ten years. Adding a screen on the front of the refrigerator doesn’t necessarily make it any smarter. Plus, think about your needs. Do you already have a tablet device? Is it necessary to have a screen on your refrigerator? Experts suggest that there is a difference between just adding more screens to appliances vs. adding technology-based integration. Increasing functionality such as remote access to appliances adds value to the experience and can help with managing tasks. Now that is smart!
Along with technology-based features, there are advances in product innovation that offer exciting new features as well. A few favorites include:
- Range hood ventilation is a priority for many homeowners and the answer is quieter fans that provide better air quality and options to reduce grease and smells in the home.
- The ability for different cooking methods such as steam cooking.
- Under counter refrigerators offer convenience and are compact with organization options.
The kitchen truly is the heart of the home. From a quick stop for simple breakfasts on the go, to serving as homework central and a gathering place for the holidays, our kitchens continue to play a key role in our daily activities. Recent advances in connectivity and product innovations offer an expanded menu with something for everyone.