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Every year “Design & Construction Week” showcases two major industry events: The Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) and the National Association of Home Builder’s Show (NAHB).  Both events annually draw thousands of professionals and consumers interested in discovering the latest innovations and style trends ready to hit the mainstream.  With the show taking place January 10-12th in Orlando, Florida, new product manufacturers and big name brands alike have hinted that we can expect to see more integration of “Smart Technology” into everyday cooking, cleaning, and organization.  For the past few years, products that can be controlled by tablets, smart phones, or remotes have been popping up aimed toward energy and cost savings for the average homeowner.  However, as device compatibility continues to change, we find ourselves having far too many gadgets, chargers, and cords hanging around – occupying our countertops and electrical outlets.  If not well planned, items that are meant to simplify our lifestyles can end up cluttering and complicating our environments more than they are meant to help.

This year, design is expected to take a turn from “keeping up with the Jones,” with the latest and greatest, to “keeping up with the Jetson’s,” with a more focused approach on style driven by improved function.  By minimizing the number of gadgets needed to organize, prep, and control everyday household tasks, the less space and storage we seem to need.  For anyone who has ever cleaned out their cabinets or watched the newly popular show “Tiny Houses,” there is something to be said for the amount of time and stress that can be relieved by living in a clutter-free environment.  Here are a couple new products with the kind of simplified features we hope to see more of:

Sony LED bulb speaker

This lightbulb speaker brings sound into any space and can be relocated into any room with a standard E26 lightbulb socket. This color adjustable and dimmable fixture can be controlled by a smartphone to stream music and app based audio from movies or TV shows. It also eliminates the need for separate speakers or chargers. See more at the Sony Website.

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Geneva – GE  Appliances & Amazon “Alexa” Collaboration

GE Appliances and Amazon “Alexa” have collaborated to enable hands-free cooking convenience with voice control. If you often prepare multiple dishes at once, or get easily distracted, being able to keep track of internal meat temperature or preheat the oven with voice commands can really eliminate frustration. Or how about when you leave the house and forget to run the clothes dryer or dishwasher? Speaking to “Alexa” wirelessly from your device can solve that issue! She can also ask GE’s pairing device “Geneva” to remind you that you have something baking, and give you updated status. Get more information at the GE website.

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