Technology has definitely moved into our homes, but is it really useful or just a gimmick to show your friends?

Over the last 2 decades I have seen “smart” appliances come and go.  Having a stove turn into a refrigerator and then back to a cooking appliance was one of the more useless ideas that saw its demise very quickly. Another silly appliance was the “Air-impingement” technology as a substitute and supplement to microwave power.  Pre-heated air was forced through small holds at a high speed. This appliance was removed from the market at high speed, as well.

Technology is definitely getting better and many of the manufacturers are concentrating on the function and practicality of the appliance.  Making the experience in the kitchen easier and more fun is obviously the goal of the smart appliance manufacturer.

“Appliance manufacturers have been working diligently to integrate their products into the “Internet of Things” — the idea of connecting appliances and other items to the Internet via cloud technology. Such technology provides consumers with remote control capabilities and facilitates receiving text messages and alerts from their appliances via a smartphone, tablet or computer. ” as quoted from Roy L. Diez, a freelance writer and marketing professional.

In 2015, Virginia Tech Center for Design Research, presented FutureHAUS at a Kitchen and Bath trade show.  This Kitchen of the Future demonstrated high-tech features that were energy efficient, easy to use and more accessible.

One of my favorite features in this kitchen was an interactive backsplash that was connected to the internet.  It could display anything from recipes to your email.   

You might be familiar with Alexa, a virtual personal assistant available through Amazon’s Echo. Using voice commands you can listen to music, get the news and traffic reports and have audiobooks read to you. You can also control your lights, thermostat and garage doors in addition to ordering a Domino’s pizza, or an Uber.

In September, 2016, GE introduced Geneva, the software that works in conjunction with the Amazon Echo allowing users the opportunity to control appliances without every touching them.

The owner of an Alexa device can say: “Alexa, tell Geneva I want hot water,” and the connected refrigerator will get hot water ready. Similarly, users can change the temperature on their hot water heater, turn on their oven, check how much time is left on the dishwasher’s cycle, and more, all by asking Alexa to have Geneva do it.

If you do not have Wi-Fi connected appliances you can still become a very saavy user of Alexa in the kitchen.  Getting recipes, pairing foods with wine and creating a grocery list can be accomplished by installing an app on your smart phone. 

The Jetsons’ kitchen was considered light years away and is getting closer every day, but are you ready for it?  In my humble opinion, I would venture to say that not everyone is waiting with baited breath to jump on the technology bandwagon.  Before you invest in the latest and greatest gadget, do your research.  If you don’t know how to program your phone, don’t purchase technology that is too complicated and will sit on a shelf.  Find the product that will fit your lifestyle and be enjoyable to use.