Smart Kitchen

New household technology confirms the future's arrival.

While flying cars may not have come to fruition yet, the futuristic renderings of kitchens in The Jetsons weren’t that far-fetched. Appliances in today’s kitchens are equipped with smart technology and advanced features designed to automate responsibilities and generally make our lives easier—and much cooler. With the help of kitchen experts at Naples’ Design Studio by Raymond, we’ve rounded up the best innovations to get the creative juices simmering for your next redesign.

Self-Diagnosing Appliances

Typically, the first sign of a problem with a kitchen appliance occurs when it stops working. Miele’s RemoteVision system aims to be preventive instead. Connect a module to a dedicated port of a compatible appliance, join a WiFi network, and register the product. Then, the job is done. If there are any potential faults with the appliance, the company’s service center will be notified and contact you with the next steps.

Kitchen Command Center

GE Café recently introduced the Kitchen Hub, a tablet that mounts under a cabinet and over cooking surfaces, permitting users to adjust lighting in their homes, check their calendars, brew coffee, follow along with recipes, and utilize the built-in Google assistant to respond to messages. “You can use the Hub to download your favorite applications and start streaming videos and music and sharing pictures,” says Eric J. Renz, account executive at Design Studio by Raymond. “It even has cameras that allow you to video chat while sharing videos of the meal as it is being prepared.”

Ergonomic Considerations

Push-to-open appliances, like Thermador’s Freedom Collection refrigerators with Open Door Assist and Miele’s ArtLine line of handleless appliances with flush installation, pair form and function. “Push-to-open refrigeration eliminates the need for handles, allowing for a more contemporary look while helping people with limitations gain easy access,” says Renz. “Sharp has added a similar feature on [its] microwave drawer, called the ‘wave,’ which opens the drawer with just a simple wave of the hand.”

Tech-Assisted Cookware

The Hestan Cue Smart Cooking System, comprised of an induction glass ceramic cooktop and stainless-steel cookware with embedded temperature sensors, connects to smart devices via Bluetooth. This enables budding chefs to watch videos guiding them through preparation of tested recipes while they cook in real time. “It’s like having a virtual professional chef right in your kitchen,” says Renz.

Smarter Sipping

Initially presented through an Indiegogo campaign, the Opal nugget ice maker gained attention from GE for its buzz-worthy ingenuity. This countertop appliance produces bartender-adored nugget ice (aka pellet or Sonic Drive-In ice), which is easier to chew and preferred for mixed drinks as it distributes more evenly than traditional cubes and doesn’t melt as quickly as crushed ice. Even cooler than its ability to make a pound of ice in an hour and store three pounds at a time is its WiFi-enabled companion app that lets users set an ice-making schedule and turn the machine on and off from wherever. Impromptu cocktails at your crib? Not a problem.

All this technology can seem a bit overwhelming, especially for those who still haven’t fully mastered all the features of their iPhone, but Renz has seen even the most skeptical homeowners become fans. “While we embrace the new technology, others feel they are paying for features they will never use,” he says. “It really depends on the individual and how much new technology they are comfortable using. However, it’s been our experience that once the consumer starts using the technology, they see the benefits as well.”

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