There’s no question that smart homes are here to stay. Christopher Kelson, connectivity and IoT expert at Whirlpool Corp., shares insights with ARCHITECT like what the home of the future will look like, his team’s most recent discoveries, and more.
What are some of the home automation features that homeowners want most?
According to a recent smart home study from Nielsen, refrigerators and washers and dryers are in high demand from consumers. Our own research has shown that simple interface and controls are key to 91 percent of homeowners we recently surveyed. Additionally, nearly four in five homeowners feel that the ability to start and stop appliances, check the status of the appliance, and/or adjust the appliance performance remotely is most valuable.
What spurred you to create connected appliances?
For Whirlpool Corporation, it’s simple and it’s about purposeful innovation and connectivity. We believe a smart home should work in concert with what families are already doing and adapt, because true care is about thinking ahead, guiding and finding shortcuts. Those insights are what drive our innovations, making home appliances more connected to our consumers than ever before. Through connected technologies we are able to help consumers save energy, make cooking and cleaning more intuitive, provide mobile efficiencies, and make everyday tasks more seamless with our consumers’ busy lifestyles.
How has your company integrated smart technology and connectivity into your product lines?
We believe an important part of utilizing innovative technologies is the development of purposeful technology. If it doesn’t provide a real consumer benefit, we don’t put it in our products. We just introduced several new innovations to the home builder audience at this year’s PCBC trade show, including enhanced partnerships with voice-enabled devices and a Whirlpool brand Smart Kitchen Suite.
Where do you foresee the future of home connectivity going? What’s next?
It’s clear the future home will be full of network-connected products that automate and control device features. Consumers benefit from connectivity through integrations that allow our products to adapt to how they already cook, clean and entertain. What does the smart home of the future look like? Surprisingly–much the same. We’ve found that homeowners are looking for a modern/futuristic look, but with built-in technology which is subtle to the eye. For more than a century, we’ve been innovating and implementing designs that free up more time for what’s important. We’re extremely proud of our history of innovation, but we believe our greatest accomplishments are yet to come.