These days it seems like everyone is talking about smart kitchens, smart appliances, connected-this and voice controlled-that. It’s a brave new world, indeed.
We now have Smart cookware. The Hestan Cue is a video-guided “cooking system” composed of an induction burner and recipe app that communicates with each other via Bluetooth technology. The company claims it doesn’t cook for you, only helps you cook better. Read more here.
Bosch’s entry into the smart appliances market includes a full suite of products: coffee machine, dishwasher, wall oven and refrigerator. Read about these appliances here.
There's a Samsung refrigerator with three built-in cameras that communicates with you via an app on your phone. When you’re at Whole Foods, you can look in your fridge to see if you need milk or check to see if your yogurt is past its expiration date. Read more about it here.
GE has partnered with Amazon Alexa and Google’s Assistant to give you voice control to refrigerators, ovens, water heaters, washers, dryers and dishwashers. Your fridge can order more groceries, get you recipes or calorie counts. Your dryer will buzz you when your clothes are dry. Read more about it here.
Dacor claims they “combine technology with aesthetics.” Its Pro Dual Fuel Steam Range can be remotely controlled with their proprietary iQ app, inside of or away from home.
At the end of 2017, hands-free, voice control is taking control over smart appliances. You can turn on the water, turn off the vent hood, turn on music, reorder groceries, etc., etc. with merely a spoken command.
Are Homeowners Embracing this New Technology?
All this tech is cool and all, but is anyone really using it in their real lives?
About a year ago our friends at Houzz.com surveyed 1000 homeowners who were either in the process of renovating or who had recently completed a home renovation, to get their opinions about using Smart technology in their homes. What they discovered is that 45% of the 1000 surveyed are, in fact, integrating smart products into their projects.
Over half of respondents chose not to add smart technologies during their renovation projects. One-third thought about it but ultimately decided not to go the smart-tech route due to lack of interest (37%), cost concerns* (31%), or privacy concerns (23%).
A recent interview (October 2017) by an appliance industry analyst reveals that while manufacturers are doing their best to attract consumers with new high-tech features, few consumers are willing to pay extra dollars to talk to their appliances. The speed with which consumers are buying smart appliances remains low, and a majority of people still does not see the value of the new features.
A lot of smart appliances offer convenience, which may attract consumers who like the cool quotient, but those features are unlikely to appeal to the largest share of homeowners.
Beyond cost, two other objections keep consumers from adopting smart appliances more quickly, and they are:
(1) Complexity: Consumers want things that are easy to use. By the time they get a refrigerator plugged in, connected to the Wi-Fi network and synced with the phone, they may find the tech is just too inconvenient. Plus, they worry about repair bills when it stops working;
(2) Steady replacement cycles: For many homeowners, appliances represent major purchases, and they want their refrigerator and oven to last for many years, regardless of the availability of new features.
Why Do You Need This Information?
Because more and more, your customers are going to be asking you about smart appliances—if they aren’t already. Because refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens, exhaust fans, robot vacuum cleaners, toasters, hot water heaters, door bells, LED lighting, security systems, TVs, garage door openers and home heating systems are “smart” and controlled via phone and now by voice.
And this is only the beginning.
Staying up-to-date with current technology and being able to answer your customers’ questions and being prepared to guide them to the products they want will mean you remain in the game with your competitors who know how to program the refrigerator.
Dovetail Marketing is a full-service rep agency whose goal is to match kitchen and bath designers and remodelers with the cabinet manufacturers best suited to their business’ style and clientele. Owner Bob Aungst III represents Brighton Cabinetry, US Cabinet Depot, Presidential Cabinetry, Jay Rambo Cabinetry, Great Northern Cabinetry, and StyleCraft.