(Adapted from a piece by Ed Wenck)
CEDIA’s Walt Zerbe (Senior Director of Technology and Standards) attended a recent symposium at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, along with G Paul Hess of tech product supplier SnapAV. Zerbe and Hess report that the kitchen remains the home’s main hub of activity, and as a result, most reliant on tech – especially for entertainment.
“Most of our waking hours are spent in that space, so the focus on entertainment is key,” notes Hess.
“And it is far and away the number-one area where tech is being installed now,” notes Zerbe. “Everything from connected appliances to video and music solutions are winding up in this part of the home.”
“The kitchen is one of those high-use, hyper-connected spaces,” adds Zerbe. This means that it’s up to technology integrators to create what’s called a “frictionless experience.” Technology has to be intuitive and easy-to-use (especially given an aging American population) and given the trends toward open-shelving and light, bright colors, the tech’s got to be as unobtrusive as possible.
The same is true when it comes to the less-connected bathroom space. “Master baths are all about relaxation, and the goal to have the spa-like retreat experience is key,” says Hess. “So, these are all really important things for us to understand as we're working with the end customers and designing their home to make sure we take all this into account and provide a system that complements these activities.”
As connected kitchen and bathrooms become more prevalent, though, new construction considerations need to be taken into account. Hess shares this anecdote: “I was fortunate to share a lunch table with the individual from Kohler, and just to hear what they're doing as far as technology in the bathroom is quite interesting. If your customer wants a smart toilet of all things, you’ll need an need electrical outlet beside that toilet.
“How many homes have that today?”