Get smart 22

In today’s rapid smart home evolution, it seems that not a single kitchen appliance will be left behind by manufacturers. And consumers are switching on to the benefi ts. But what else should retailers take note of this year? Jack Cheeseman fi nds out.

chore-free future for the consumer. The adoption of connectivity across many appliance categories is continuing and increasingly reaching entry-level brands, albeit at the most simplistic level. However, the mid to premium brands are developing the path to connectivity rapidly to afford their demographic the luxury of inspiration without exasperation, by lending a helping hand with all chores from laundry to cooking. Consumers increasingly want their kitchen appliances to do more and further market research has highlighted that voice control and artificial intelligence is growing at a fast pace. “Appliances are no longer passive in our kitchens and add the support needed to reduce the challenge of washing, drying and cooking,” says Bill Miller, Managing Director, Kitchen Bathroom Buying Group (KBBG). “With the continuing advance of connectivity and eventually AI, it will make life simpler and at the same time inspire creativity.” Steve Macdonald, Business Director, Freestanding Division at Hoover Candy UK, agrees, saying that in a world where consumers are pressed for time,

A ppliances remain on track to deliver a

products which offer more control and free-up people to do other jobs is a welcome addition. Voice-assisted technology is also becoming

increasingly present in kitchen appliances, particularly laundry and cooling categories and this will continue throughout 2020. “We will see processes become even more simplified with developments in voice-activated commands,” comments Mr Macdonald. “New technologies are allowing users to ask more in- depth questions such as ‘what cycle is best for mixed fabrics? How do I get chocolate out of a cotton shirt? And what maintenance is needed?’ “Connected ovens will continue to emerge and evolve in 2020 with new innovations revolutionising the cooking process. A great example is the Hoover Vision Oven with its remote-control Wizard app and smart internal camera (pictured). The oven door is a 19-inch, fully interactive touch screen that doubles up as a display for cooking videos, recipes and even viewing food websites and blogs.” Innovations that offer practical benefits will also be on the rise in 2020, especially with 86 per cent of consumers interested in self or easy-cleaning

appliances, according to a Mintel report last year. In addition, multi-function ovens are firmly on the consumer’s radar and manufacturers have switched on to this. Importantly, it is essential that the appliance does the ‘thinking’ too, monitoring, adapting and controlling the processes to ensure that the consumer attains excellent results when cooking, with minimal effort.

The Whirlpool Absolute single multifunction oven, for example, benefits from pre-set, automatic


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