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Smart home | PRODUCTS


Connected living


This month we explore some of the latest kitchen and bathroom products and appliances to feature smart functionality and bring you some advice from a retailer specialising in smart home and home automation about how you could get involved in this lucrative sector. Francesca Seden reports…


S


ince the start of the Covid- 19 pandemic, technology has become increasingly central to our lives. We’ve been ordering our shopping online, we’ve been binging on streaming services, and we are all now familiar with Zoom, WhatsApp or Microsoft Teams – apps that have been invaluable for keeping in touch with friends and family, or for conducting meetings, while we’ve been stuck at home. According to a recent report by GfK, the pandemic has fast-tracked digitisation in our homes, as the focus on home as headquarters is driving demand for tech goods. As might be expected, this delivered most growth across entertainment and office products, but smart and connected domestic appliances saw significant double-digit growth too.


For example, as staying at home meant more cooking, many consumers looked for ways to simplify food preparation. As a result, smart cooking grew by a staggering 71.5%, with smart built-in hobs up 48.2%.


October 2021 ·


In terms of which smart functionality is most popular, voice and remote activation and control are both up there, particularly as consumers become more accustomed to smart, connected speakers such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Wi-Fi- connected ovens that offer recipe suggestions are also growing in popularity and multifunctionality, which takes as much hassle out of the cooking process as possible, continues to be a key driver. Among those offering new smart cooking appliances is Siemens, with its iQ700 HS858KXB6 built-in oven with steam function and voice control. It can connect to Amazon Alexa via the Home Connect app allowing the user to operate the oven via voice control. Users can start and end cooking programs and change the cooking settings via the Home Connect app and receive a notification when the dish is ready. There is also a range of regularly updated recipes on the Home Connect app and once chosen, the settings will be transferred directly to the oven and the user can


Siemens iQ700 HS858KXB6 built-in oven with steam function and voice control


then start heating remotely. Finally, remote diagnostics functionality allows the Siemens customer support to access the appliance online to detect the source of the error. If a repair visit is necessary, a Siemens technician will arrive prepared with the required spare part. James Kington, group manager, connected home and digital


operations, BSH Home Appliances, comments: “We’ve seen an upturn in usage and people have had more time to get familiar with the features on smart devices and appliances. Because people have spent more time at home recently, they’ve had more time to take an interest in them – and to see the benefits they offer. We know that homeowners are 


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SMART HOME FOCUS


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