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Last week, thousands of industry professionals in the design and construction fields headed south to the magical land of Orlando, Florida. Home to Disney and Universal Parks, Orlando played host to the fifth annual Design & Construction Week® (DCW), where professionals had the opportunity to spend three days networking and exploring the latest products and trends in construction and interior design.

Founded by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), DCW combines two shows in one: the NAHB International Builders’ Show and the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show. Although DCW is a must-attend industry event, I did not have the chance to attend this year. However, below are highlights I’ve gathered from reading the news that I would like to share for those who have missed the event this year as well.

Technology Continues to Integrate Itself into Everything

With many companies striving to manufacture their products with internet connectivity, as well as voice connectivity, we’ve reached an age where we cannot go back to a life without technology. In fact, technology is continuing to propel our lives forward by integrating itself into home-based virtual assistants. Google Home, Amazon’s Echo and Alexa, and the Apple HomePod are linking up with more products, such as garage doors, light switches, security cameras and more.

Hardware Retailing took special note of technologies such as U by Moen, which sets itself to your ideal water temperature through voice activation, and Onelink Safe and Sound, which is a smoke and carbon monoxide detector that will sound off through technologies in the Alexa network. In fact, the Onelink Safe and Sound won the best home technology product at the conference.

With voice assistants becoming more dominant over time, we can expect more homeowners will request these technologies for their home. Construction companies will follow suit.

New Home Appliances Will Make Your Life Easier

The Whirlpool Corporation, likely the most well-known manufacturer and marketer of home appliances in the country, unveiled a new line of home appliances that will make your life a thousand times easier. According to Bob Bergeth, general manager of Contract Builder Sales at Whirlpool Corporation, “consumers are paying more attention to home design than ever before, and we’re proud to craft our appliances with their preferences in mind.”

Whirlpool took advantage of consumer demand and created a WiFi-enabled refrigerator with a pantry-inspired layout, a food recycler, an induction wok, and an all-in-one washer-dryer combination. An added bonus? These appliances are made of fingerprint-resistant stainless steel, meaning families with young kids won’t have to deal with the hassle of constantly cleaning up smudges.

If you’re interested to attend DCW next year, bookmark their website and block off your calendar. Maybe you will see me there!