Smart Home Solutions

The Smart Home Pavilion at the Housewares Show will spotlight the newest connected home products
March 13, 2017David Gill

PantryChicCanisterThe PantryChic canister system stores a variety of dry ingredients in airtight-sealed canisters that can be placed directly on the base unit, which is operated from an app.
By David Gill

The 2017 International Home + Housewares Show will debut the Smart Home Pavilion that will spotlight connected- and smart-home products.

Located in the Hall of Global Innovation in the Lakeside Center lobby, the pavilion will feature 16 exhibitors of connected and smart home products, including suppliers new to the show as well as current exhibitors. The companies in the pavilion were selected by a jury of industry professionals based on criteria set by the industry experts.

To help identify and recruit companies for the pavilion, the International Housewares Association worked with two key influencers in the tech industry—Carley Knobloch and Mike Wolf. Knobloch is a digital lifestyle expert, a regular contributor on the “Today Show” and CNN, and host of HGTV’s “Smart Home.” Wolf, founder of NextMarket, is the creator and host of “The Smart Home Show,” a smart home podcast, and is the founder of the Smart Kitchen Summit, an event that explores the intersection of technology, food, design and commerce in the connected kitchen.

“The concept came about when I went to last year’s Housewares Show, from conversations I had with exhibitors,” Wolf said. “I then suggested expanding the Internet of Things concept” to the IHA, which owns and operates the Housewares Show.

Products showcased in the pavilion will be among the most ingenious ever seen at the Housewares Show. Consider the Robotic Bartender from Somabar, a countertop appliance which prepares cocktails with the help of a smartphone app. Shaped like a coffeemaker, it can prepare more than 300 different cocktails with the help of the recipes stored on the app.

SproutsIOmicrogardenThe SproutsIO soil-free growing environment a fully smart microgarden controlled by an app.
The Robotic Bartender made its first appearance at the 2016 CES show, where it won the Best Home Appliance award, and then made another bow at last year’s Housewares Show, appearing in the Lakeside building along with other small electrics exhibitors. At the Smart Kitchen Summit, Somabar’s CEO, Dylan Purcell-Lowe, met Wolf, who encouraged him to try for a place in the pavilion. “I think the pavilion makes sense,” Purcell-Lowe said. “We’ve already gotten some interest in the product from retailers, but this will be a good opportunity to show them what the product is about.”

Nik of Time will present the PantryChic, a canister system operated by an app that is also iOS- and Android-compatible. It consists of a base unit and three air-tight canisters that can store a variety of dry ingredients. The app for the product can store recipes and command the unit to dispense ingredients in accordance to the stored recipes.

“We were in the Inventors’ Corner at last year’s show,” said Nicole Lee, president and founder of Nik of Time and inventor of the Pantry-Chic. “When we heard about the Smart Home Pavilion, we said let’s go there. We want to meet as many buyers as possible but also explore partnership opportunities such as licensing agreements with companies that might want to take us under their wing.”

For SproutsIO, producer of a fully smart microgarden sold under that name, this will be the first time exhibiting at the Housewares Show. It will also mark the debut of the product, which has been in development since the company was founded in 2013. SproutsIO is a soil-free growing environment that uses both hydroponics (which grows plants through a mineral nutrient solution in a water solvent) and aeroponics (which grows plants in an air or mist environment without soil). The device is designed with sensors and a camera that monitors how the plants are growing, which are both controlled by the app and can also be used on either iOS or Android devices.

“We were contacted by Carley Knobloch about appearing in the pavilion,” said Jennifer Broutin Farah, founder and CEO of SproutsIO. “This will be our first participation in an event alongside other home furnishings companies. We hope to meet both U.S. and international retailers. We have gotten interest from retailers in Europe and Asia.”

Innovative Solutions
GeniCan will showcase its device, which installs into a garbage can or recycling container and can automatically order products that are tossed into the can. The GeniCan scans the bar code of the disposed product and automatically sends the order through Amazon Dash.

“We were scouted out for the pavilion at CES, where we had a lot of interest from both the public and the press,” said Robert Griffin, GeniCan’s co-founder. “We hope the pavilion allows us to create some strategic plans with retailers. Our goal is to start shipping products in March or April, and we hope we can meet with retail partners that can help us make that happen.”

Memento Electronics will be exhibiting its Memento Smart Frame. The Smart Frame is an oversized photo frame that allows users to put ultra-high definition pictures on one’s wall from their smartphone, tablet or computer.

“The IHA’s addition of the Smart Home Pavilion provides us with a world-class home products marketplace that will allow us to connect with the trade that have yet to learn about the next generation of products,” said German Algora, Memento’s vice president of sales.

The Smart Pavilion comes along at a time that could prove to be the Year of the Connected Home, according to a research note from Barclays Capital. The financial services firm came to this conclusion after attending a number of sessions on the subject at CES.

“The industry remains in early stages but finally appears at an inflection point as ‘virtual assistants’ such as Amazon Alexa have created a real catalyst towards adoption of connected home technology,” said a Barclays Capital research note. “To date, much of the industry has remained gadget-focused. Yet recent success has largely come from the shift towards selling solutions, which is a hallmark of a maturing industry.”

“There are so many different ways smart products can affect consumers,” Wolf said. “Home control, shopping for things and safety and security are among them. Right now, we’re still in the stage of early adopters. For these people, the manufacturers need to develop products where the technology is easy to use and understand.”

Along with the pavilion, smart products will also be recognized at the Housewares Show with a category in the IHA Global Innovation Awards (gia). All show exhibitors can enter this category through submissions in the New Product Showcase, and finalists will be included in the New Product Showcases in the Buyers Clubs and in the IHA Global Innovation Awards display in the Hall of Global Innovation.

David GillDavid Gill | Contributing Editor

David Gill is a contributing editor to HFN.

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