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This key thing is so annoying!

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Tech Talk by Peter Mate
Peter Mate is co-owner and president of Planit Canada, a software and services company devoted to servicing the manufacturing industry. For more info email peterm@planitcanada.ca
I recently saw a report from the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) that highlighted some of the cool new things at the show. One of the things highlighted was a kitchen faucet that was connected to a home assistant. You could just call out “give me one cup of cold water” and sure enough, one cup of cold water would be dispensed. Is this practical? Maybe it doesn’t really save that much time and effort, but the fact that the technology is being tied into kitchen plumbing is exciting.
The first electric car was nothing too thrilling, but today, some electric cars are giving million-dollar supercars a lesson in humility. The fact that the technology is evolving is the real thing to be excited about, not the cup of water. I decided to look deeper into what tech is coming down the line or is already available to us in kitchens today. I found a few cool things…
It seems that locks with combinations and keys are becoming a thing of the past. I’ve had a touch lock on my front door for a few years and since it stopped working, I’ve really missed it. I got used to walking up to my front door and just opening it without having to fumble for keys in my pocket or enter a code. I’m now holding off for a new version to be available before replacing my old one, but the day it’s released, I’m ordering one! This key thing is so annoying!
What I came across for kitchens are door and drawer locks that work without keys. Even better, some are hidden and can’t be seen from the outside. No tarnishing the beautiful kitchen with ugly techy hardware on the outside! There are some that are biometric. They use fingerprints to lock/unlock. Some are Bluetooth or Wi-Fi enabled that can use your smart watch or smart phone to lock/unlock. I can imagine using these for cabinets that store hazardous materials such as cleaning products or laundry detergent. Maybe even for liquor cabinets. These could be handy in a household with young kids, but also in one with seniors. I witnessed my dad’s dementia progress for a while and these locks could have saved a few big messes and near accidents.
We’ve also likely all seen the ads for home assistants that turn on and off lights for us. This tech can be used in kitchens. The more lights, electronics and gadgets in the kitchen, the better the case to have them controllable by our home assistant.
LED lights are so small and come in so many formats now, it’s hard not to find one for any use or space. Many of you have already started offering lights under toe kicks, in drawers and as accents to the kitchen design. This trend is continuing.
I also came across a wireless thermometer that is connected to an app on your phone. What a great way to check the turkey temp while sipping your cocktail in the living room with your guests. Smart scales, appliances, slow cookers are all here already. It’s just the beginning, but we’re on our way to kitchens that are far beyond boxes with doors.
This could seem crazy, unnecessary or complicated. Or it could be an opportunity for you to leapfrog your competitors.
An opportunity to move away from price and focus more on value. Hire a couple millennials. Give them a seat at the table. Bring them to shows. See what tech ideas they come up with. I’d love to hear what tech you’ve included in your kitchens!
What are consumers loving?
Let me know at peterm@planitcanada.ca

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