By Mark McMenamin
From lavatory dramatics to connected cooking, kitchen and bath exhibitors at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas—from January 8-11—are refining their smart-home strategies with real-time innovations.
Kohler unveiled several enhancements to its Kohler Konnect portfolio, including Numi 2.0, the latest Alexa-enabled edition of the manufacturer’s super-smart toilet. Lighting has been upgraded from static colors to multicolored, and new built-in speakers add to the immersive experience. Like the original Numi, the fixture boosts water efficiency while providing personalized cleaning and drying functions, including a heated seat.
New to the Kohler Konnect range is the Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror, fitted with adjustable LEDs, motion-activated nightlight and hermetically sealed speakers; and the Veil Lighted Bathroom Collection, a mood lighting system that seamlessly connects the toilet, freestanding bath, mirror, and three-piece vanity with personalized illumination.
GE Appliances touted Kitchen Hub, an over-the-range interactive smart kitchen and ventilation system, as “the new heartbeat of the connected home.” A single control center operated by Google Assistant allows the owner to control the thermostat, create shopping lists, plan meals, access music and video, and operate other smart appliances and systems, all in one place. The 27-inch touchscreen’s overhead camera enables users to interact with friends and relatives while cooking, or perhaps feed the social media frenzy.
Toto debuted a new generation of its Life Anew global brand campaign—Life Anew Next—including a template for fully connected public restrooms developed in collaboration with GP Pro. The commercial dispensing provider’s Kolo Smart Monitoring System promises secure monitoring and analysis that facility managers monitor via tablet or computer to keep tabs on water consumption, cleanliness, paper and soap supplies, and any malfunctions.
Whirlpool debuted multiple smart products across its four brands, including the Whirlpool Smart All-in-One Washer and Dryer, which allows the user to complete an entire load of laundry in a single machine, a welcome solution for urban apartments and other close quarters.
Introductions from the KitchenAid brand included Smart Oven+, featuring attachments for in-home grilling, baking, and steaming; and Cook Processor Connect, an all-in-one appliance that provides recipe guidance while weighing, stewing, steaming, mincing, or pureeing the ingredients.
As is typical in the kitchen and bath arena, water conservation played a key role in many of the smart-home introductions. Moen partnered with Flo Technologies to develop Flo by Moen, a water monitoring and leak-detection system that homeowners can access via smartphone. Daily tests calculate real-time water pressure, flow rate, and temperature, while also differentiating between regular and irregular water use, which would signal a leak or overflow. The system can also sense if water in the pipes is in danger of freezing, and even shut down completely if the threat of catastrophic flooding is detected.