Hardware Retailing

JUN 2018

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | June 2018 58 A Smart Cook in the Kitchen It's more than an average refrigerator. In recent years, appliance manufacturers have begun offering smart appliance options. For example, an internet-connected refrigerator is priced higher than traditional units, ranging from $1,000 to $6,000. A few manufacturers are testing out ways to make the refrigerator even more of a kitchen necessity. Currently, there are a few models of smart refrigerators that connect to Wi-Fi and communicate through smartphone apps or touch screens. The high-tech features found in today's smart refrigerators include the ability to play music, make shopping lists, share calendars and even watch TV on the door monitor. Voice-activated faucets keep hands free and the kitchen clean. "Alexa, turn on the kitchen faucet." More homeowners are utilizing voice-activated assistants, whether it's Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple's Siri or Microsoft's Cortana. Several manufacturers are taking note and are integrating these smart assistant capabilities into their products. Smart faucets are another product that are starting to get their footing, even allowing a user to turn the faucet on and off just using their voice. Through smart assistant Amazon Alexa, users can request to turn the water on and off, measure specific quantities of water and even warm water. As a backup, many of these faucets also work through touch. 58 HARDWARE RETAILING | June 2018 I n the kitchen, smart home products enhance decor and provide added convenience. According to the 2018 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study, 9 in 10 homeowners replace all or some of their appliances during a kitchen remodel. Knowing this and wanting to stay ahead of the competition, manufacturers are creating more appliances that integrate smart technology into their functionality, with 25 percent of new appliances including high-tech features, the Houzz study reports. Outside of smart appliances, the kitchen is also becoming a space for the home assistant, which can control different devices through voice commands. Coldwell Banker Real Estate and CNET, an online source of consumer technology news and reviews, partnered up to define smart home. "A home that is equipped with network-connected products (i.e., 'smart products,' connected via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth ® ) for controlling, automating and optimizing functions such as temperature, lighting, security, safety or entertainment, either remotely by a phone, tablet, computer or a separate system within the home." What is a smart home? Photo courtesy of Samsung Photo courtesy of Delta

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