Consumer Technology, at the end of the day, is a collection of products that are brought together with the sole intention of improving the end user’s life in some way. That concept is true up and down the various market segments of consumer tech, from headphones to TVs, laptops to major home appliances, and more. In covering the industry, we have the opportunity to attend trade shows of all shapes and sizes, and while getting hands on with a product inside of a company’s booth provides a great opportunity to engage with that product, it’s still a far cry from seeing it in action in a real-world setting.
That’s the very problem that CE Week 2019 set out to solve with the Connected Design Home experience at this year’s show.
With the careful planning and superb execution led by Michael Restrepo, the founder and owner of Restrepo Innovations, the Connected Design Home brought to life the technology that improves the in-home living experience—and it did so in a way that allowed visitors to see those products in their natural environment. Granted, the experience was still confined by booth-styled walls, you would be doing a major disservice to this experience by calling it a trade show booth. Restrepo and a team of manufacturers, designers, show planners, and more, came together to bring an almost-fully-functioning home to life right in the middle of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
The 800-square-foot space featured vignettes that resembled an office, kitchen, bathroom, master bedroom, and living room, each of which was completely decked out with products and design elements from nearly 20 different “exhibitors.” The laundry list of products in the home included:
- Artnovion – custom acoustical treatments for high performance products;
- Audio Control – audio tools and products for people who love amazing sound;
- Acoustics Innovation – science of acoustics and art of aesthetics to create high-performance media environments;
- Control4 – Smart Home OS 3 unifies hundreds of connected devices within the home, controls them all from a single platform and delivers personalization;
- Fatboy – lamps, beanbags, poufs, carpets and hammocks products;
- Graff Shower System Ametis Ring – includes dual-function shower head outfitted with six-color LED indirect chromotherapy lighting;
- HearthCabinet – ventless fireplace system with patented alcohol gel fuel cartridge system and lockable safety screen;
- Kohler – Veil a one-piece toilet featuring heated seat, night-light, hands-free opening/closing and automatic flush, touchscreen remote;
- MSE Audio – parent company of six major manufacturing brands producing quality speakers with exceptional sound;
- Origin Acoustics – custom built performance products for great sound;
- Reflectel – Reflectel Mirror TV isn’t simply a television or mirror but functional decor that complements the design of any room;
- Restrepo Innovations – custom integration and home automation company;
- SKS Signature by LG – built-in appliances for innovation and purposeful design in the kitchen;
- Sony – Master Series XBR85X950G 4K LED TV.
- Each individual area was unique to walk through and told a story of its own, but the whole home really came together to redefine the way technology can be showcased in a trade show setting.
“CE Week in New York is such a highly anticipated event for people looking for the latest in smart home technology,” Toni Sabatino, president of the NKBA Manhattan Chapter, told us. “We are delighted to see kitchen and bath product manufacturers join CE Week’s Connected Design Home and showcase their products that can be integrated into the home. Attendees will have the opportunity to experience the ‘Technicurean’ kitchen from Signature Kitchen Suite along with new kitchen and bath products all integrated into today’s smart home.”
And in speaking with Restrepo during the show, he’s already thinking about what future iterations of this concept could look like. With the world of technology and design merging so quickly today, he said, it’s important that we take the time to truly showcase the way these products are meant to be experienced.
And it’s beyond just showcasing different products—the Connected Design Home is a testament to the way so many companies are willing and able to come together and create this kind of experience, rivalries or competing business interests be damned. Partnerships are the key to the continued growth of this industry, and the Connected Design Home was the perfect microcosm of everything we’ve been saying in our reporting to that end. The experience was an exceptional one that we look forward to seeing return and evolve over the years.