Kitchens have come a long way since those old ads in the magazines of the ‘50s and ‘60s. AWISA highlighted the fantastic array of products and designs available to the kitchen manufacturer. But now it’s all about industry 4.0 so what does that mean to the modern kitchen?
The modern kitchen is likely to be more of a living space than simply a cooking space. At AWISA, Linak showed us the diversity of movement; Lincoln Sentry showed us kitchens for different lifestyles and Laminex showed us the latest design trends from EuroCuchina in Milan. Every other hardware supplier has soft-close or automatic doors and drawers, amazing storage solutions and mood lighting. The modern kitchen is, more than ever before, a living space.
Industry 4.0 is about linking things through technology and the internet but it’s not all about manufacturing. Technology is changing the way people interact with their kitchens and how they live their lives. Remember the Jetsons and the robot vacuum? It’s available now, along with pre-packaged food, microwaves and induction cooktops. But even these are old technologies; the growth now is in slow cookers, pressure cookers and low oil air fryers – trends driven by health conscious consumers and fuelled by reality TV cooking shows. Bench-top ovens are also becoming popular as people struggle with a busy lifestyle and less time.
What this means to the kitchen manufacturer is knowing what the customer wants now and in the future and designing to accommodate these needs. Does a modern kitchen need more power points? maybe a USB port and tablet charger? or more bench and storage space to accommodate small appliances? Smartphone and tablet apps are now available and, in some cases, can control kitchen appliances. Innovators see the kitchen as a place crying out for technological development and the kitchen manufacturer should be taking advantage of this.
New products here already, or soon to hit our shores, include a smart scale with an app to guide the user through hundreds of recipes. No more measuring ingredients, the scale will let you know when you’ve added the right amount. A Sous Vide cooker cooks food in vacuum sealed bags, retaining all of the flavours. A smart frying pan sends notifications to your phone to let you know when it’s time to put the salmon in the pan. A Bluetooth speaker will play your music and let you answer the phone with voice-activated commands. You will soon be able to get your phone to tell you when the meat is medium rare or well-done.
From the automatically brewed morning coffee to changing lighting for different times and moods, the modern kitchen is ripe for an explosion in technology. As a kitchen manufacturer you need to be ready and your customers will love it.