Connected home technology has reached the kitchen. Matt Nimmons, operations director at the trade body, CEDIA, takes us on a guide of the latest smart systems and technologies that can make our lives easier and more enjoyable in this important part of every home.
Entertainment technology used to be exclusive to areas of the home such as the living room, playroom or master bedroom. Not anymore. Products such as flip-down or integrated TVs are becoming increasingly part of the kitchen fabric. This means that the homeowner has the ability to multi task watching a favourite show, whilst cooking dinner at the same time. Touchscreen family computers are also considered useful when integrated into kitchen tables and worktops and are now becoming much more commonplace.
Another great benefit of integrated smart technology is concealment. Take audio as an example. Space is often at a premium in kitchens, and there is often no place for speakers or other clutter on surfaces. So, instead, think about installing 'invisible' speakers into the walls, ceilings or even behind grilles and units. These products can be factored in when the kitchen is being designed and they're capable of producing rich, hi-fi quality music, without taking up any precious space.
Many consider the kitchen to be the heart of the home, and it's certainly a place where we spend the majority of our tin1e. With this in mind, it makes sense for it to be used as a control centre for the rest of the home, so that you can keep an eye on what's happening around the property whilst s till being busy in and around mealtimes.
If your smart home system is properly designed and installed, you can use an iPad, iPhone or access a custom designed touch panel in the kitchen to control and monitor lighting, security, heating, air-conditioning and other systems, not just in the kitchen but throughout the whole house for convenience, safety and security.
Whatever you do make sure you use the services of a CEDIA professional to ensure you get the best solution, tailored to your needs.
So, what is to come for 2016?
If you don't already have a smart coffee machine or a fork that buzzes to tell you that you've exceeded your daily amount of food, you're already behind the pace.
There's a whole host of helpful and innovative gadgets that fit in perfectly in any modem-day kitchen.
This year, expect to see a growth in the popularity of in-fridge security cameras, which can send you a real-time image of the contents of your fridge, meaning that you know what to pick up from your local supermarket on the way home.
There are also smart mats and scales on offer. Placed underneath cupboard items, such as a bottle of ketchup, the smart mat can let you know when you're running low of anything if you're out the house.
Finally, smart scales not only measure food, but also keep track of the nutritional value of what you're consuming.
The answer is yes! The most popular and best recognised wearable technology trend is undoubtedly, the smart watch. This can come in handy in the kitchen with a vast array of applications specifically built for the kitchen environment. For example, the watch can allow you to control kitchen appliances remotely or act as a mobile recipe book - something which is a lot easier to read and can move with you around the kitchen. If you're still not convinced, there are numerous YouTube videos to prove the smart watches' capabilities in the kitchen, as well as its durability to withstand kitchen incidents including spillages and messy fingers.
Designing and installing this sort of smart home demands expert product, systems and applications knowledge, project management and installation skills.
CEDIA members understand that technology in the home is a significant investment. By hiring a qualified home technology professional to properly design, install and maintain your home electronic system, you can take comfort in knowing that you'll be in good hands now, and in the future.
When working on a self-build project, it is important to build a relationship with a CEDIA member from the start. lf you are working with an architect on your project, it is important to bring them into this initial conversation as well.
Having a reliable and stable cabling infrastructure is the most important part of any smart home. For self-build projects discrete cable installation via chasing is the preferred method. But this requires expert planning and a real understanding of what's required. You can’t pull new cables in once the property has been decorated. As the saying goes: "the most expensive cable you have to install is the one that you have forgotten".