If you can't stand the heat, well, there's an app for that, too.
Smart home technology is becoming increasingly popular, and the kitchen, arguably the heart of any home, holds significant promise for innovation. With so much activity taking place in kitchens, smarter appliances and fixtures that make daily tasks easier are a huge plus for homeowners.
“Everyone is so busy, even saving minutes is a big deal,” says John Ouseph, technology manager for connected home at GE.
When developing its suite of connected appliances—which currently includes wall ovens and freestanding ranges, with refrigerators, dishwashers, and laundry machines to be available next year—convenience and consumer demand was paramount for GE.
“The thing that we emphasize about being connected is it should never be just to say you’re connected—there needs to be some big consumer need that we’re answering,” says Ouseph. That was what motivated the company to start pumping up the technology in wall ovens, which consumers named as a prime area of interest.
With a connected oven, homeowners can preheat before they get home, and check to make sure it’s turned off after they leave, realizing “time savings, a better user experience, and peace of mind,” Ouseph says.
That demand for a better user experience is also seen with the improved technology in faucets. Touchless technology helps speed up meal prep and cleanup, as well as minimizes germs and dirt on the fixture.
Pfister recently introduced its new Selia and Pasadena touch-free faucets with REACT technology, which was developed to provide superior performance as well as convenience.
“The challenge is getting the consumer to overcome the stereotype of the ‘airport’ bathroom electronic faucet. Consumers are concerned with reliability,” says Brian Schaadt, product manager for Pfister. “All of the faucets are tested to the most stringent of standards and provide reliable response, day after day.”
With homeowner interest in smart homes growing, offering more tech-savvy options is an opportunity for builders to distinguish themselves.
Ouseph confirms that GE has seen demand for connected appliances in both new and existing homes. “We have a strong builder channel, and then we have a strong play in the retail space as well.”
Schaadt notes that so far Pfister has seen electronic faucets mostly incorporated into remodels or upgrades, but adds that as “builders start building more smart homes, we believe electronic faucets will become more prevalent in new construction.”