The world’s leading manufacturers met in Las Vegas this past week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES)… the largest consumer innovations showcase trade show experience of the year.

If you missed CES and the newest technologies that will be re-shaping our lifestyles – this decade and beyond – we’ve got you covered! 

From the practical (smart appliances, fixtures and security systems) to the whimsical (toilet paper robot and bathroom smell sensor), the show sparked the imagination. Always keeping our pulse on the industry, the K&A team took note of some of the most popular products and trends in the building products segment.

According to a new report from Strategy Analytics, smart homes continue to gain traction in the U.S., with 54 percent of homeowners reporting that they own at least one smart-home device – the most popular being smart speakers, interactive security systems and smart thermostats. 

Who’s Behind the Door?
At CES, smart home entrance and security technology was front and center, including the Nest Hello video door bell and Level Lock door lock.

Google’s Nest Hello is a smart video doorbell that includes features such as HD live streaming, night vision, two-way audio, and automatic responses for those homeowners who would prefer not to answer the door. With a Nest Aware subscription, you get additional features, including facial recognition capabilities and package detection

Nest Hello and Level Lock

Sometimes, it’s what you don’t see… The Level Lock is an understated take on smart technology. In fact, this lock has been purposely designed to be contained within the door – sight unseen – allowing homeowners to use their existing exterior hardware and keys. Features such as remote unlocking, Siri voice control, auto-unlocking with geofencing, and auto-locking (for when the front door stays open too long) give this lock a stealthy edge.

Plenty of Cooks in the Kitchen
As more homeowners make the kitchen a hub for relaxation and entertaining, technology to simplify food prep and cooking continues to evolve.

Julia

While the Julia all-in-one cooker from CookingPal doesn’t quite double as a stand-in for Julia Child, it certainly streamlines the cooking experience. Julia can weigh ingredients, chop them, mix, steam, and more. It’s accompanied by the Smart Kitchen Hub, a custom smart display that includes a digital recipe book and appliance controls – including an Alexa voice command option – that helps Julia prepare a meal. Simply select the recipe, add the ingredients and Julia essentially handles the rest. 

GE KitchenHub Microwave

Cooking up another kind of convenience, GE’s KitchenHub Microwave – the next iteration of the KitchenHub – pairs a 27-inch Wi-Fi-enabled touchscreen tablet with a 1.9 cubic foot microwave. The hub sits above the oven and includes a built-in camera for monitoring or “Instagramming” stovetop food remotely… and another camera that enables video chatting. Want to stream Netflix, listen to Spotify or view the latest recipes? You can do that. The hub even offers features like AI-assisted computer vision to check when a dish has finished cooking.

Go With the Flow
And, don’t forget smart fixtures. The U by Moen Smart Faucet, a Best of CES Finalist, is a voice-activated faucet that enables homeowners to complete routine kitchen tasks hands-free. Users simply “tell” the faucet how much water they need – and at what temperature – then, the water will dispense on demand. The ability to set unlimited customized presets for specific cooking tasks, and activate water flow through a mobile app or smart assistant voice commands elevates the kitchen faucet to a whole new level.

U by Moen Smart Faucet

Assuming the Throne(room)
Not to be outdone by the kitchen, the bathroom had its fair share of smart technology too.

Toilet paper brand Charmin debuted several new technologies designed to optimize bathroom visits, including the RollBot and Smell Sense. According to Proctor & Gamble, the average person uses the bathroom six to seven times daily, and spends an average of 156 hours a year on the toilet. That’s a lot of…eh, um…sitting around.

Controlled by a smartphone, the RollBot robot is designed to deliver a new roll of toilet paper to a bathroom’s occupant, helping to forestall awkward toilet moments. Meanwhile, SmellSense “sniffs out” unpleasant bathroom odors (carbon dioxide) via an electronic monitoring system and displays a GO / NO GO message… to let users know when the coast is clear. While these products are conceptual at this point, we think Charmin is on to something!


Smarter by the Day

There’s no doubt that smart technology is here to stay. Luckily, smart technology is getting even smarter.

The K&A team continues to be inspired by the creativity and innovation displayed at CES – countless ideas and solutions that are moving the needle for the building products industry. With a new decade upon us, this year’s debuts are laying the groundwork for technology and design breakthroughs that will truly transform the way we live our lives. Here’s to working smarter, not harder.


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