kbb Birmingham 2020: The smart home needs to ‘simplify’, experts say

The smart home is becoming a ubiquitous part of any residential environment but some work still needs to be done on finding the killer applications and simplifying the user experience.

Speaking on the Kitchen & Bathroom Design Podcast live recording at kbb 2020, interior desiger Stephen Dick from Residence Interior Design said that while there was a lot of interest in the smart home, there was still some hesitation.

“My clients are certainly very interested in it, but there is a wariness about things like obsolescence or what might happen if it goes wrong, he said. “They wonder about whether they actually need it as opposed to just wanting it.

“But they’re definitely interested in what’s out there and what the possibilities are, but I think they also want things to be simplified, as do I. A lot of the work I do on design is simplifying things and making people’s live easier and smoother through simplification.

I think they, especially in kitchens, see the smart home element as something that’s really complicated.”

Rob Mascari, from Mascari Kitchens in Notttingham, agreed but said that it might be a generational issue, with younger consumers having a different approach.

“What’s interesting is how much millennials are not amazed by technology,” he said. “They just expect to be able to turn their oven on while sitting on the bus on the way home from work. They’d be more surprised if you couldn’t do it.”

While the technology is advancing all the time, there was discussion on whether the ‘killer’ application had been found yet – th eone use that made users feel they can’t live without it.

“It’s growing all the time,” said James Kington, group manager of connected home and digital operations for BSH. “As manufacturers we’re learning all the time how consumers are using these devices – especially Alexa and Google Home – so while the broad market might not yet be there with the killer application yet, it will be very soon.”

BSH is showing a range of connected appliances at kbb 2020.

Kington also predicted where the market would be by the time the next kbb show happens in 2022?

“I think we’ll see a lot more things connected to one another,” he said. “We will see a lot more routines where, for example, your alarm going off in the morning will make sure that the coffee is waiting for you when you get downstairs, or when you’re driving home the oven is on and ready, the lights will come on and the garage door will open.

“We’ll start to see a little bit more artficial intelligence too. But the main thing is that we will see a simplification of things like fascia panel and controls as more and more aspects are controlled using tablets.”

To listen to the full podcast go to podcast.kbbreview.com or search ‘kitchen and bathroom design’ in your podcast app.

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