From voice-activated lights and video doorbells to virtual personal assistants that help us keep up with household tasks, most homes now include some sort of smart technology.
As a designer, I have always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with technology. Sure, the gadgets and wires serve a valuable purpose, but boy, do they clutter up the aesthetics of the space.
Still, I’ll be the first to admit that the sleek, modern lines of today’s televisions, cell phones, computers and appliances are a far cry from the clunky devices of the 80s and 90s.
In kitchens alone, I’ve seen an evolution in technology in terms of both aesthetic appeal and functionality.
Smart appliances may still be a relatively new invention but they continue to grow in popularity. In fact, according to marketwatch.com, smart appliances sales are expected to nearly double by the year 2020.
While there’s a myriad of smart products available for the kitchen, my clients tend to focus on the biggest appliances, such as ovens, refrigerators and dishwashers.
Smart ovens and ranges are all a little different depending on brand and connectivity but generally speaking, a smart oven allows you to control temperature, cook time, cook settings and turn the appliances on and off from your smartphone, tablet, Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
You can set up alerts to your phone to notify you when the oven is preheated, when the timer goes off or even if the oven has been left on accidentally. The cooking app Yummly will send cooking directions from your phone straight to your smart oven or microwave to ensure that the temp is right, timer is set and you’re ready to go as you prep the meal!
Have you ever been at the grocery store and wondered if you need milk? Or if you have dill pickles? Certain models of smart refrigerators enable you to check remotely and take the guesswork out of shopping. Most smart fridges will notify you if the door has been left open or the ice is getting low.
My favorite feature of some smart fridges is the interactive screen that allows you to display family calendars, grocery lists and receive notes right on the front of the refrigerator. This innovation is really exciting to me since refrigerators have long since been the hub for displaying important info in our kitchens. Even better, these high-functioning appliances are beautiful to look at.
Smart dishwashers allow your to use your phone or personal assistant to control such features as starting cycles, lock and unlock doors and receive alerts when detergent and rinse aids are low.
Besides Wifi capabilities, smart dishwashers offer some enhanced features for better cleaning and monitor energy usage to delay cycles until local energy consumption is lower to save you money. Check out lifewire.com for a run down of all the features offered by smart dishwashers.
While there are currently only a few brands offering smart appliances, namely LG, Whirlpool and Samsung, more are in development as this technology takes off.
Smart appliances are a great way to integrate technology you are likely already using into your kitchen. We will definitely be seeing more and more about these innovative devices that bring modern lines, a variety of color options and technology into your space.