Latest Digital & Design Trends Revealed at K/BIS 2007

Las Vegas — In an effort to show what the home of the future would look like and how it would be run, this year’s NextGen Demonstration Home was equipped with remote and touch panels that powered a home automation system called Life|ware 2.0 from Exceptional innovation. The casual, contemporary-styled demo home was showcased during the 2007 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show & Conference (K/BIS), here.

Life|ware 2.0, a digital entertainment and automation solution, controlled everything from the appliances and the lighting to the home’s security, demonstrating a new level of digital living into the kitchen, the bath and throughout the home, turning it into what some consider a “smart” home.

The home automation solution is designed to expand a homeowner’s ability to manage subsystems and appliances via Microsoft Windows Vista Media Center to thereby create a comprehensive digital living experience. The system is powered by its use of Web Services for Devices (WSD) that allows it to communicate between different home systems.

Instead of writing proprietary drivers for their own hardware, Life|ware builds software bridges to all Life|ware Connected partner products that make each subsystem fit the flexible, cross-platform WSD standard, thus enabling rapid two-way communications. This open, standards-based approach to home automation creates a system that is scaleable and can easily be expanded, according to the company.

For example, the NextGen Home also showed the result of the partnership between LG and Life|ware: Life|ware Connected appliances that employ an adapter module that makes an appliance Life|ware Connected thereby allowing homeowners to check the status of appliances and adjust functions to better suit their schedule.

By integrating Life|ware into Media Center, a user’s entire music collection, complete with album art, can be accessed on screen. It’s also possible to view slide shows of digital photos, schedule and record favorite TV programs, retrieve home videos and watch DVDs. In addition, Life|ware gives homeowners the power to control a home’s lighting, thermostat and security systems, distribute music throughout the house, and enact homeowner-defined “Life|scenes.”

In addition, the home automation software allows remote management of all of a home’s systems, and remote access to a home’s entertainment systems via a TV with a Media Center PC, Media Center Extender or Xbox 360, from a home or office PC or notebook from a Life|point touch panel or from a wireless device like an Ultra Mobile PC.

Other high-tech touches the NextGen Home showcased included a one-touch refreshment dispenser in the kitchen and a mirror that also served as a nightlight in both baths.

The NextGen Home also tapped into the latest design trends, showcasing a clean, contemporary look with a casual furniture feel, replete with an open kitchen/dining room/great room, two baths and an outdoor living area with a stone hearth oven and grill island.

In terms of style, the kitchen and the baths featured Norelco Cabinets in white poplar stained to look like dark wenge wood and solid surface tops from DuPont Corian for easy upkeep. Kohler Co. fixtures completed the baths.

The home was a project of Bellevue, WA, producers of the NextGen Home Experience/Series of demonstration homes, which are designed to showcase the evolution of the American home at major trade shows, online, on TV and in national awareness campaigns. The first of its kind, according to, the certified NextGen Development is now underway at Porte de la Mar, a planned community near Tampa, FL.

To read more visit the Live Events section and the Kitchen & Bath Confidential blog, and look for it in the upcoming 6/07 issue of Kitchen & Bath Design News. In addition, try logging onto for more information about home automation systems and home security.

(Be sure to log onto for Kitchen & Bath Design News’ coverage of the 2007 Kitchen/Bath Industry Show & Conference (K/BIS) in Las Vegas. Log onto the home page to visit the Live Events, Top Headlines, Project Spotlight and Consumer Resources sections, and Product Gallery and the Kitchen & Bath Confidential blog. And don’t forget to sign up for our eNewsletters that will cover other upcoming industry shows.)

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