Manny Gonzalez – Home is Where the Connection is


October 3, 2018

The KB Home ProjeKt bundles technology in a single, all-inclusive package.

A few weeks ago, my cell phone went dead while I was traveling. It no longer would accept a charge. Ironically, it happened as I was heading to the airport to fly to northern California for a meeting at Google in Mountain View. I couldn’t access my electronic boarding pass for the trip nor my GPS to get me to my meeting location. I also couldn’t use my Surface, because my phone was my personal hotspot. Nor could I take photos at the meeting. And, needless to say, I couldn’t call anyone either. This experience really hit home how much we depend on technology today and how helpless you can feel without it. While the adventure of trying to find my meeting location was a technological nightmare for me, what I heard and saw in that meeting about the technology that is available for homes was amazing.

For years we have made technological advances in appliances, utilities, entertainment, access control and other elements that go into a home. But each would have their own app or communication device. Remember the days when you had to use four or five different remotes to watch TV? As the day unfolded at Google, it became obvious that the KB ProjeKt concept home that people will tour at the Consumer Electronics Show and the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas early next year won’t just have bells and whistles like most concept homes, this one will demonstrate what a truly smart home is all about.

Having Google as a partner in the home, the Google Assistant will be the homeowner’s best friend. Not only will the homeowners be able to ask Google what the weather will be or have it play one of their favorite tunes, but they will also literally be able to control almost every component in the home, making it healthier, safer and energy efficient.

It will also help accomplish another one of the underlying goals of the KB Home ProjeKt, to allow ease of use — for residents spanning child care to elder care. And, while the Google Assistant may be at the heart of this smart home, it’s incredible how innovative and integrated all the other parts of the home can be today.

Now that energy efficiency and sustainability have become a part of our building codes, “total wellness” has become the new “green.” Delos’ DARWIN Home Wellness Intelligence platform will be the wellness brain for the KB Home ProjeKt. With real-time data collection, it will monitor air and water quality and provide automatic remediation as needed. In addition, it will work with the Hunter Douglas blinds and the Noon lighting systems to provide lighting that replicates the resident’s circadian rhythm to allow for a more natural sleep cycle.

The DARWINTM Circadian Lighting System is engineered to simulate the properties of natural light, helping regulate hormone balance, appetite, sleep, energy, and productivity. Features include downlights, cove lighting, and nighlights.
The DARWINTM Circadian Lighting System is engineered to simulate the properties of natural light, helping regulate hormone balance, appetite, sleep, energy, and productivity. Features include downlights, cove lighting, and nightlights.

Whirlpool will be introducing some of their latest appliances to the home. The smart combination wall oven and convection microwave can automatically set the cooking temperature and time simply by scanning the barcode on prepackaged food. The dishwasher, refrigerator, and washer and dryer are all smart devices and the Yummly program can customize tens of thousands of recipes to meet one’s dietary needs or simply to appeal to their specific tastes. But, perhaps the most interesting appliance is Whirlpool’s Zera Food Recycler, which will compost scraps within 24 hours, creating fertilizer that can be used on the home’s green wall.

Kohler is doing similar sorts of things with its bath fixtures with a fully integrated platform that will allow you to control water, steam, lighting and music in the shower. And, the KB Home Projekt will be one of the first homes to feature Kohler’s new bath mirror with Google embedded in it. Should there ever be any issues with a plumbing leak or broken sprinkler, the Phyn Plus Smart Water Assistant will automatically shut off the water and notify the owner.

I was very excited about being invited by BUILDER and KB Home to design this home and the design team’s desire to push the envelope and create a concept home that represents how we may be living in 10 to 15 years. But having spent the day at Google learning about all of these integrated elements, I am convinced that the KB Home ProjeKt will truly demonstrate what the home of the future will be.

And, by the way… I now have a new phone!