I’m continually amazed by the innovativeness shown by the home furnishings industry.
An industry that is often considered by many to be slow-moving, laggard and evolutionary (not revolutionary), it only takes a visit to forward-thinking home furnishing retailers to see how technology has become an inherent component of new furniture, appliances, and bedding.
Comfort and convenience at the flick of a button
Furniture now offers increased comfort at the press of a button with power-driven footrests, reclining seatbacks and tilting head-rests. No longer are we satisfied with manual, hand-pulled levers. Enhancements include built-in massage treatments with heated seating, coupled with digital power connections to meet our addiction to screen time delivered by the TV or our personal mobile device. Convenience can also be found with built-in consoles containing lighted cup holders that keep our beverages cold (or warm) and reduce the number of trips to the kitchen.
Watching a TV, sitting atop a storage console with an integrated electric fireplace, combines form with function. Click a button and you have just the right ambiance with the added benefit of delivering warmth to the room. Much appreciated as it takes the chill out of the air on those cold winter evenings.
Appliances are evolving with our smart home environment
When it comes to major appliances, innovation has become fast and furious. Accessing a digitally connected refrigerator and using it as a family communications hub can be helpful in connecting our families with a digital lifestyle. However, being able to see what’s inside the refrigerator while on a shopping trip may be innovative – but does it really have a proven use-case? Perhaps as voice commands of our digital assistants mature, we will uncover practical functionality that transforms these novelty features to a useful purpose.
The real promise for appliances is likely the potential for IoT (Internet of Things) where our appliances become integrated with our evolving smart home environment. Connected devices that can be continuously monitored and deliver alerts when imminent failure is about to occur could help us avoid costly repairs. We’ll really appreciate the power of digital connections when our appliances are able to contact a service to dispatch a qualified repair technician to correct the malfunction almost before we know we have a problem.
Younger generation embraces adjustable lifestyle bases
We mustn’t forget about what goes on in the bedroom. Watching TV while browsing the Internet or catching up on email and social media with our digital devices has become so commonplace that the demand for adjustable lifestyle bases continues to see phenomenal growth. No longer considered a medical solution for the bed-ridden or infirmed, adjustable beds are now sought after by a younger generation seeking quality-of-life comfort.
Our constant pursuit of convenience means power and digital connections will continue to be pervasive and essential to our desire for an enhanced lifestyle. Innovation and creativity are indeed alive and well in the home furnishings industry.
By Brad Geddes
Brad Geddes, President & CEO of ZucoraHome regularly shares insights about the Canadian home furnishings industry, changing consumer needs, and the transformation of ZucoraHome into a smarter living enterprise that leverages technology and professional home services to help families enjoy a better quality of life.