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March 1, 2019
IBS/KBIS 2019 Takeaways: A More Connected, and Colorful, Home
Liz Brohan

By all accounts, IBS/KBIS 2019 was a successful show, attracting about 80,000 building industry professionals to the surprisingly chilly city of Las Vegas. Most of the exhibitors we spoke with were very pleased with traffic to their booths and the promising conversations they had with builders and contractors.

Here are three takeaways we had from the show:


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And not just in the traditional areas around the home. Windows, sinks, stoves and doors are bursting with color. And on the appliance side, stainless is also starting to take a back seat to color, with wild patterns starting to appear. Soon, even the most staid Chicago bungalow will look like it’s been dropped into Key West.

Masonite Doors, shown here, are just one example of color taking center stage at IBS/KBIS 2019.


Get ready to talk to more inanimate objects. Voice-command capability is popping up everywhere, from the garage to faucets. For those who need assistance around the home, this will be a great way to extend mobility. Also, gadget lovers will have new ways to automate the house. Plenty of companies are taking more time to make voice commands work in more situations than to simply hit a button or turn a faucet.



Early naysayers would joke about a refrigerator telling you when it’s low on milk when you could just as easily open a door. Now, even ovens play a big role as the kitchen assistant. Some ovens coordinate so closely with an app that it knows how good a cook you are and can suggest options. They also adjust recipes for your personal nutrition needs, monitoring and shopping for healthy ingredients.

All this kitchen technology has become the hub of family communications. Some refrigerators offer electronic boards for photos, schedules, lists and drawings — no magnets or push pins needed. And there are microwaves that have a video screen on the door so that you could watch an online recipe as you cook. The kitchen used to be a total DIY zone. Now, they are your own personal COO.

What’s more, all this innovation continues to drive discussion. The public will continue to ask questions about privacy and data usage, and builders and contractors just trying to keep pace are asking for specialized installation training. Also, electronics and appliances have different life spans — usually, appliances are built to last longer than most electronics. So, what happens when the electronics go bad or become slow when the appliance itself works just fine?  There is ample opportunity for manufacturers to lead the conversations as a way of building market share.