Many homeowners are fascinated about the idea of a smart home. After all, a refrigerator that tells you when to buy milk is bound to be useful. It also racks up the cool points when you have the latest innovations in your home, particularly in the kitchen. However, smart kitchens in its present form might not be the best idea for most homes today.
For one thing, few people can actually afford a smart home, even though the concept has been around for at least twenty years. The technology has not progressed to the point of easy integration, despite efforts by tech companies and appliance makers to introduce it into the mainstream market.
Among the big names out there are Amazon and Whirlpool, each competing to be the first to make it big in the Internet of Things idea for the home. The trick is to embed artificial intelligence and connect everything in the home and kitchen, automating all the mundane tasks homeowners hate. However, there are downsides to all this connectivity.
Despite the race to the finish, few manufacturers have been able to persuade people to adopt smart technology. Presently, only about 5% of US homeowners own one or more smart appliances, and those that do have a hard time finding ways to reap the benefits of all this smartness. This is primarily because it would require all gadgets in the home to be smart-enabled, and not all appliances have this capability.
It takes a certain amount of practical understanding to interact successfully with smart gadgets, and most people with the disposable income to afford them simply have a steep learning curve. While this is manageable when talking about mobile gadgets, laptops, and computers, it is a different matter when it comes to the kitchen.
Most people already have a working relationship with their kitchens, so adapting to a smart kitchen could seriously disrupt the way they use it, and even the way they feel about their kitchens, which would be a shame. While this will certainly change over time as the younger, tech-savvy generations come up to bat, it would probably not be a good idea to do any smart kitchen renovations right now.
Smart gadgets in the kitchen are sure to go through some rough patches until beta testing is over. Early adopters of cars with automatic transmissions, and again with computer boxes, found this out the hard way. They found themselves sending in their cars for expensive repairs for minor problems that they handled on their own with older, manual models.
Newer technologies often require professional knowledge and special equipment, and the same situation is likely to come up with smart kitchens. Most smart appliances have touch screens and sensitive parts that could malfunction unexpectedly, leaving homeowners helpless until an expert can come and check it.
Aside from regular maintenance, homeowners might also experience problems when their connection to the Internet fails for any reason, such as a power outage. Nothing will work in a smart kitchen when the network fails, so that is a major problem.
Smart homes and kitchens connect to each other, typically via wireless networks and cloud servers. This allows homeowners access to their homes anywhere they are, which is great. However, with great connectivity comes great vulnerability.
Hackers can get into almost anything if they try hard enough, and that is a disconcerting thought. Imagine a stranger with the ability to get into your home server and looking at you making breakfast or taking a shower. Privacy would become an uncertain thing, and that is not a good feeling to have in your own home.
Currently, the costs of owning smart homes and kitchens or converting regular ones are prohibitive. If you check the price tag for a smart refrigerator such as the Family Hub smart refrigerator from Samsung ($3,500), for example, you will find that they are much more expensive than regular ones with all the bells and whistles ($1,500).
The Bosch range of smart appliances range from dishwashers to coffee machines, and they use IoT to automate troubleshooting and customer service. This is a great convenience for homeowners, but a coffee maker at $1,300 is a bit much for most people.
This is because of the economies of scale. Manufacturers have to offset the costs of developing the new technologies they put into these smart appliances. As more people buy it, the cheaper it will become. However, that day is not yet at hand, as many homeowners are not willing to shell out big money for technology that may be old hat in a year or two. Once the technology stabilizes, you can expect more people to buy smart.
If you are seriously thinking about purchasing a smart home, or at least doing smart kitchen renovations to your regular kitchen, you might want to think again. They may sound snazzy and futuristic, but the fact is it would probably be a smart move in the future, not now. It might not be a long way off, as IoT technology and artificial intelligence is improving rapidly, but it is not yet time to take the plunge.
What would be a smart move today and in the far future is to do simpler, but no less effective, renovations such as putting in high quality kitchen cabinets and countertops. We have many options at Cabinets City.
We carry some of the best brands in the country, from RTA to custom cabinets, and at the best prices compared to Cabinets To Go and Advance Cabinets. These include Schrock, Fabuwood, J and K, Forevermark, and Wolf Cabinets, each of which come with manufacturer warranties. We always deliver on time, so you will not have to worry about keeping your schedule to stay in budget.
We can advise you on the best cabinets for your kitchen. Give us a call for a free consultation and quote, or visit our showroom in Mt. Prospect, Illinois. We service cities such as Chicago, Schaumburg, Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Hoffman Estate, Elk Grove Village, and surrounding areas.