It is obvious that technology is rapidly creeping into more and more facets of our everyday life. Our homes, and particularly our kitchens, are no exception. But just because we have access to endless amounts of amazing technology and resources to develop these new and exciting gadgets and gizmos, does that mean we should?  Or perhaps are some things better left untouched? 

 In the technophobe corner
Some people are of the opinion that is not such a good idea to introduce all of this technology into our lives and replace the way we currently do things (and in most cases have done for quite some time with little to no problem). They question whether the technology is really necessary and actually improves or adds value to our lives. Or whether it is perhaps overly complicating things that don’t really need to be changed at all.  

Team techno-fans
On the flip side, there are others that embrace the prospect of technology with open arms. Everywhere, and for everything. They find great pleasure and satisfaction in constantly inventing new and different ways to do things and challenging the status quo. 

A little bit fan and a little bit phobe
The majority of us likely fall somewhere in the middle. Accepting and using modern day technology and it’s subsequent conveniences is often unavoidable and it is undeniable that there are definitely many positive aspects to be enjoyed from these advancements.  

CES – the techno-fans annual convention
Each year in early January, everyone who is anyone in the consumer electronics and technology world gathers in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (or CES). The event attracts the forward-thinking pioneers of the industry and includes all the big players, as well as many smaller companies too. They are all keen to share their latest innovative and boundary pushing products with their industry colleagues and consumers alike. 

Cutting edge innovation – for the every day and the “maybe one day”
There is no doubt that all the gadgets on display at CES are innovative in their own right. Inevitably, the products range from the latest and greatest cutting-edge technologies that are on track to become standard fixtures in our homes in the not to distant future, to the more niche and some might say impractical or obscure.   

Plenty of exciting things to look at
Whether you are a technology buff, a self-confessed technophobe or somewhere in between, there is no denying that there are definitely some interesting things going on in this space.  

Let’s take a look at some of the kitchen technology offerings that were presented at CES 2019. 

Kitchen Hub – GE Appliances
One of the bigger ticket items at this year’s show was the Kitchen Hub by GE Appliances. The prototype made an appearance and CES last year and after another 12 months of tinkering and tweaking the now market-ready product was on display this year.  

Key features include: 

  • Multiple interactive stations – the main device is a 27” smart touch screen.  
  • Combined interactive smart kitchen device and ventilation system intended for installation over the oven or range hood. 
  • GE’s U+ Connect – features Google Assistant and SideChef for all the interactive cooking help you might need 
  • Not just for cooking and standard kitchen activities 
  • Control other smart home devices such as thermostats and lighting 
  • Access Netflix, Spotify, and other entertainment services 
  • Social networking and video chat for keeping in touch, complete with 2 HD cameras! One on the front for video chats and an overhead one for taking shots of your delicious culinary creations and sharing instantly with the social media world. 
  • Calendars and schedules for household organisation  

 Wow! That is definitely a “smart kitchen”. It might not be for everyone but there is certainly benefit to combining the roles and functions of multiple devices into one “hub”. Chances are that your family spends a great deal of time in the kitchen and so with the Kitchen Hub you could do more than just cook while you are in there. 

Kitchen Hub is expected to be launched in May 2019 at a cost of approximately USD $1200 – $1400. 

Smart Countertop Oven  Whirlpool
With the Smart Countertop Oven, cooking has literally become as simple as insert raw food and return to a cooked meal. That’s all you need to do! No calculating cook times or constantly checking internal temperatures. The device is programmed to recognise the food item that you have placed inside, automatically calculate the required cook time and then proceed to cook your dinner. Perhaps not surprisingly, it has an internal camera so you can check in on progress via an app and then “share” with all of your online friends.

The technicalities of exactly how this happens are obviously a little out of my scope of talents. Not that I doubt the technological prowess of the WLabs team at Whirlpool in the slightest, but I must admit I am a little bit skeptical about this one. I am not sure that the Smart Countertop Oven makes it onto my run-out-and-get-one-now must-have kitchen tech list. And at USD $799 it’s not something you’d necessarily go out and grab, just to try it out.

Family Hub Smart Refrigerator – Samsung
The technology to identify what’s inside an appliance also extends to the fridge. The Family Hub Smart Refrigerator from Samsung has built-in cameras that allow you to check the contents of the fridge on your phone. Which I expect would come in very handy when you are at the supermarket and wondering if anyone has drunk the last of the milk.

The latest update to the Family Hub fridge, as seen at CES 2019, extends on the current Bixby software to bring Bixby Vision, and works with the camera function to not only show you what is in the fridge but to also detect, identify and list some of the contents. Whilst it is not yet able to correctly identify every single item that is placed in there, the demo at CES showed that it was able to do so for various fruits, vegetables, and unpackaged meat and fish. 

Bixby Vision forms part of the overall Family Hub 4.0 software package that also consists of software that allows you to carry out other fridge and cooking related tasks such as add food items to you Family Hub’s food list, access recipes and display digital notes and pictures on the Family Board.

Sensate Faucet – Kohler
Technology in the kitchen is not just about “smart” and “connected” appliances.  Even the humble kitchen tap is not off-limits for the technology gurus. You’ve most likely already experienced some kind of motion detection/control in bathroom tapware, so that is not so new.  But this one claims to also respond to voice commands and can even be prompted to dispense an exact amount of water. 

There are so many amazing opportunities to explore technology in the kitchen and it is definitely exciting to see what the professionals are able to not only conceptualize but actually deliver. Whilst a high-tech kitchen it’s not for everyone it’s certainly interesting to see what’s available and on the horizon.

Harrington Kitchens are committed to consistently delivering kitchens of the highest quality. Whether it’s a contemporary kitchen with all the mod cons or one that’s classic and full of traditional charm, we will work with you to create the kitchen of your dreams. Contact our team on 1300 662 112, submit an online enquiry or visit us at our Narellan or Bowral showrooms to discuss making your dream kitchen a reality.