The debate continues about whether smart technology makes sense in the kitchen. It’s hard to argue against appliances that notify owners of problems and schedule service. However, some object to delegating tasks and thinking to smart devices. They worry that smart devices are making us lazy, or worse, dumb and anti-social.
As the baby boomer population continues to grow and people are busier than ever, one can easily make the case for employing smart technology in kitchen design. Configuring smart devices and appliances with smart phones, Google Home, or Amazon Alexa lets you remotely complete tasks that normally require your presence or direct touch.
Who Is Interested in Smart Home Technology?
According to The New York Times article, To Invade Homes, Tech Is Trying to Get in Your Kitchen, only 5% of Americans own smart appliances. Yet, appliance brands lead us to believe there is high demand.
In a related survey from October 2017, RICKI – Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence, the nation’s leading authority for kitchen research and trends, revealed statistics about who is interested in smart technology:
If only 5% of Americans own smart appliances, these percentages translate to fairly small numbers. Interest does not necessarily result in a purchase.
Appliance Brands Need to Walk the Talk
I live in the high-tech region of North Carolina known as Research Triangle Park (RTP). RTP is home to numerous IT companies from hi-tech startups to well-established giants like IBM. Local designers enjoy a higher level of interest in technology products here.
During a recent visit to The Appliance Center in Durham, I spoke with owner, Stu Stewart, and Marketing Director, Kim Stewart. They supply appliances to the building and design communities, as well as homeowners. They report seeing a limited number of homeowners or builders seeking smart appliances, and 80 percent of consumers are not computer-savvy. The Appliance Center’s staff receives training on smart technology from the brands, which equips them with the knowledge to educate their customers.
Appliance brands need to educate their sellers and help them stay current with smart technology in order to efficiently sell it. Combine uneducated consumers with untrained sales professionals, and the percentages noted by RICKI are not surprising. If sellers cannot explain the benefits and uses of smart features, how can they close the sale?
Smart Technology in the Kitchen
Many appliance brands offer smart technology options. Dacor has refrigerators with features that simplify our lives: Doors open with a touch… interior LED lights illuminate what’s inside… Dual cameras pair with your smartphone so you can see inside your fridge as you shop.
Samsung brings cutting-edge technology to the masses with the Family Hub Refrigerator. With a panel similar to your tablet or smart phone, you can access multiple apps right from the fridge. Pull up the family calendar… Play music… Leave a note.
The Family Hub Refrigerator operates on Z-Wave technology. People lacking skills might want to consult a technology professional to ensure it functions as expected.
Great Appliances Help Us Prepare Great Meals
Maybe Bertazzoni president, Paolo Bertazzoni, has the right idea… The enduring Italian appliance company does not want their appliances to rely on a smart phone. The main objective for their appliances is that they cook well!
We live in exciting and changing times in the design industry. Some consumers will find the idea of smart technology in the kitchen irresistible. But me, I’d rather spend the extra money on a snazzy range and sit around the table talking with mi famiglia.