As narratives in the custom integration come and go, events such as CEDIA Expo quickly confirm which are fleeting and which are maturing. We've talked at length about the products and software shaping the client experience, but it is the big picture thinking that begins to develop the direction and success of the industry.
Which is what makes the National Kitchen and Bath Association appearance at CEDIA Expo so significant.
NKBA accompanies the show floor for a few prominent reasons. Their arrival - alongside a handful of designers on the Design Connections tour - marks the beginning of a new era for the CI industry as it turns a corner. It also doesn't hurt that Emerald Expositions (who recently acquired CEDIA Expo) produces the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, NKBA's trade show that grants educational opportunities and exhibits leading technology and design practices in the kitchen and bath arena.
Even if some integrators are grappling to establish the connection between their industry and the design industry, NKBA has fully adopted the idea of integrated technology. To prove it, their Kitchen Technology Awareness and Usage Report is a remarkable glimpse at how 198 NKBA designers and 301 consumers interact with technology in the kitchen.
The big picture of the report becomes vital as integrators begin to quantify why they need to work so closely with designers, but it also helps bridge the gap from the other side of the pond.
The report details investments in kitchen technology based on demographics, motivations, and products, providing tangible acumen into who is buying what products for distinct reasons. It reveals that 32% of designers are frequently looking for integrated technology solutions to bring automation and WiFi into the kitchen. It explains common pain points and barriers from both the designer and consumers viewpoint.
One of the most telling bits of information is that NKBA reports only 23% of designers surveyed are "very knowledgeable" about kitchen technology, solidifying the purpose of a home technologist's role in the design phase.
And what better opportunity can an integrator - a business literally created to provide technology solutions - than to connect with local designers and be their go-to industry partner. The custom integration is being bombarded with signals that now is the time to learn about designers and their purpose. CEDIA Expo has fully adopted the connection, NKBA can report on the influence technology has on the kitchen, and manufacturers are making products that look as good as they perform.
The last piece of the puzzle is for integrators to connect with the influencers and utilize the connections that associations such as NKBA have to offer.