In today’s world, we are all connected in one way or another to everything around us, so why not be connected in your kitchen as well. Thanks to Monogram’s WiFi Connect, you can talk to your appliances from anywhere – giving you the ability to monitor and control your appliances with your smartphone.
How will Monogram’s connected appliances help you? So many ways!
- Preheat your oven, no matter where you are
- Set timer alerts when you are baking or roasting
- Change the oven temperature from anywhere
- See cycle time remaining
- Lock and unlock door
- Track pods and rinse aid
- Get alerts if something is preventing you from the best wash
Learn more and share your thoughts on the NKBA Connect blog today.
Written by Molly Ford, Monogram Experience Center intern
We have all seen the home become increasingly “smarter,” or more device-central, but large kitchen appliances have not kept up at the rate that smaller technologies have developed. The heart of the home is finally seeing some long-anticipated upgrades that bring the kitchen up to speed with the rest of the house. The idea of connecting intuitive technologies with powerful appliances creates an impressive duo- with relatively untapped potential.
The Amazon Echo has been on the scene for about a year, and has rapidly grown from a novelty gadget to a hub for home-automation. The Echo is a voice-enabled wireless speaker – think of a stand-alone Siri with a longer list of skills. Here at the Monogram Experience Center, we wanted to see how we could use the Echo in our day-to-day work and personal lives. We have made “Alexa,” the Echo’s trigger name, our assistant chef, secretary, entertainer, and more.
Alexa will provide us with meal ideas, food storage information, beer and wine pairings, measurement calculations, create a synced grocery list, among a constantly growing list of skills. These are fun to play with, and legitimately helpful, but the real “smart kitchen” came when we connected the Echo with our wall ovens. We can control these ovens with our voice saying something like,
“Alexa, turn on the upper oven to 350 degrees and set the timer for 45 minutes.”
Alexa will confirm and immediately start the oven. Similarly, we can control the range hood and lights, and the team is constantly collaborating with developers to add kitchen elements to blend appliances with devices.
Voice-enabled appliances are a just a peek at how technology could change the way we cook and spend time in the kitchen, and we are eager to see the next convenience we can offer our customers. The program is still in it’s infancy, but we expect to see everything but the kitchen sink connected to our Echo soon – and who knows, they might throw that in too!
Written by Lou Lenzi, retired GE Appliances Director of Design
This will be my last “Save Room” blog entry. After 36 years in the Design profession, it’s time to down-shift and pursue my hobbies and interests on a full-time basis. Like most designers, this will involve trying to create something of beauty, only on my time this time. I’m delighted that my successor, Marc Hottenroth, a 24 year veteran of the GE Appliances Design team, will assume the role of Design Director by the time you read this.
Before signing off, I’d humbly like to share some observations on the state-of-our-art, along with some predictions.
Technology: a Healthy Dialog
While connected appliances are in full bloom in the kitchen and laundry room, connectivity itself is still in its infancy. Yes, we’re providing new levels of convenience and performance through our WiFi enabled products, but the next meaningful wave has yet to hit the shore. That will come when we fully integrate kitchen design, rich information services, and connected appliances. What’s the “killer app”, to use an old phrase? I believe it will come in the form of quick and convenient healthy meal planning and preparation. Let’s face it, reducing the cost of health care in the US begins with our diet, and as key influencers in the kitchen, it’s time we all step-up and play a role here.
We will also begin talking to our appliances. And unlike adolescent children, they will dutifully listen and respond. The cost of voice recognition technology is coming down and accuracy is improving, helping to ease access to those amazing technologies and features we’ve been incorporating into our products. Why press a bunch of buttons or dive into a multi-layered menu system when you can simply say “heat the upper oven to 350 degrees” or tell the water heater you’ll need more hot water for the guests coming to visit this weekend. For those nay-sayers convinced we’ll never talk to machines, it wasn’t too long ago that people said we’d never read our favorite authors on a piece of glass because it wasn’t as cozy or inviting as the printed page.
The disappearing kitchen
Just as the kitchen became the focal point of our home, so too will it look less like a kitchen. Certain appliances will begin to “disappear” – first through finishes and user interfaces that blend into the surrounding cabinetry, followed by appliances that become the cabinetry. Small form-factor housing and alternative living patterns – think multi-generational households – will also contribute to us rethinking the industrial design of our products, transitioning from a machine-art to a furniture aesthetic.
The mobile home, built by a robot?
Today’s mobile workforce, coupled with our desire to sample a variety of living environments means we’ll delay owning a home and being tethered to a mortgage. That’s not to say we won’t seek out well thought-out, intellectually stimulating and comfortable communities, we’ll just rent a home in that community, then simply move on to the next experience whenever we’re ready for a change.
Home construction building methods and techniques will dramatically change. The skilled-trade workforce that home builders have historically relied upon has dramatically shrunk since the great recession and they are not likely to return to the levels necessary to support traditional stick-built style home construction. Modular and automated factory-based manufacturing processes will finally take root after many false starts, followed by the emergence of large, on-site 3D printing techniques. After 200 years, the stick-built home, along with its associated material waste and inefficiencies, may be a thing of the past.
I hope these thoughts will stimulate further discussion among the Monogram design community. It’s been an absolute joy to chat with you.
Written by Georgie Vetter, Product Specialist at the Chicago Monogram Design Center
Last month, the Merchandise Mart in Chicago held its annual designer exposition, NeoCon. NeoCon is one of the most recognized and attended trade shows in the industry. This year, more than 50,000 designers walked the halls of the Merchandise Mart viewing the latest and most innovative solutions in commercial design. NeoCon has remained focused on being at the forefront of changing commercial design and business trends.
The Monogram Design Center was buzzing throughout the three-day exposition, with many designers walking through showing a lot of interest in induction cooking. During NeoCon, the Monogram Design Center showcased Sous Vide cooking, a method of cooking in which food is sealed in air-tight plastic bags then placed in a temperature controlled water bath which brings meats, fish, and poultry to the perfect internal temperature each time. We also introduced designers to the new pizza oven, which will be making its debut in the Chicago Design Center later this fall. The Amazon Echo made an appearance during NeoCon. Designers were shown how Monogram appliances are able to be integrated within a smart home. The designers that came through were very intrigued by the pizza oven and expressed a lot of enthusiasm toward the new product. We know they are looking forward to seeing it in person!
On the Tuesday of NeoCon week, Sheri Gold, National Showroom Manager, presented a CEU to a group of designers on how to grow their business through social media. The Social Media CEU offers in-depth explanations of four social media platforms (Twitter, Houzz, Instagram and Pinterest) and how best to use them within the design world. The CEU also provides a brief overview of Hootsuite, Periscope and Snapchat. During the CEU, we had a panel that included Julie McCrary, Social Media Manager for White Good; Monogram Lead Product Specialist Christina Dragota; and Monogram Product Specialist Georgie Vetter to provide their input during the presentation.
Overall, NeoCon was a great week for the Monogram Design Center. We were able to make many new designer contacts and enjoyed being able to give more information on Monogram appliances and what we are doing next.
What happens when 55 Designers are put in a room with 25 GE Industrial Designers, Marketers and Product Managers? What could have been a clash of creative right brains with corporate left brains ended up being a collaboration of excitement, energy and imagination!
The first ever Monogram Designer Summit was an action packed adventure to look towards the near future of high end appliances. What will the homes look like? Who will be the consumers? What functionality should the appliances have?
The answers were as varied as the personalities in the room, but all agreed that the next ten years will see a morphing of multi-generational people wanting multi-functionality from their appliances. There was one camp that suggested that there needs to be a new word to replace “Kitchen” since that room is truly the “Living Room” of the house.
And what about using one’s smartphone to operate and manage all the household appliances? This was a hot topic that seemed very polarizing on Yes or No … and don’t stereotype that the older generations are the ones not wanting to adapt to this.
The overall message: One size will certainly NOT fit all; customization, in various forms and functions, is going to be needed.
Every year in January, KBIS (the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show) takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada. The show always features the latest trends in appliances, materials and technology, and this year was full of exciting new offerings. Everything from black faucets with hot pink handles, to barnwood cabinets, to crystal filled knobs could be found.
Building on the growing trend of creating the “Smart Home,” manufacturers from lock makers to appliance companies were promoting devices to control home automation and monitoring. Smartphone apps are used to connect consumers with various tasks within the home, saving them time, money, and sometimes, peace of mind.
Aesthetics-wise there seemed to be an emergence of “rustic modern,” using natural earthy materials in new and exciting ways. Textured wallcoverings and tiles in amorphous shapes and angles created a contemporary look that bowed to mid-century modern roots.
Cooktops featured heavy-duty metal grates in interesting patterns, and the introduction of brass burners created a great play between materials and finishes. Satin Nickel, Polished Nickel and Aged Bronze were a few of the highlighted materials. Also big this year were appliances that give users feedback – knobs that light up when in use and glow at various rates and intensities to show temperature ranges.
Overall, it showed that kitchen and bath technology is catching up with the latest in digital advances and designing them into beautiful environments.