The International Builders Show: A Newcomer's Review

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It’s not everyday your job asks you to attend a trade show, let alone the NAHB’s International Builders Show. This being my first time attending a large industry conference, I had no idea what to expect from IBS. I originally pictured a large room full of sawdust, discussions on home improvement, and keynotes on “How to Properly Hang Drywall”. However, I could not have been more wrong.

My first stop at the show was in the west hall of the Orange County Convention Center. This section of the show was jaw-droppingly impressive. Upon stepping into the hall, I was met by a beautiful waterfall-like display from LP Building Co. Following this were some more incredible booths by the likes of Google Home and Nest, which looked as though they were uprooted straight from the company’s California HQ. They were the first in the home automation booths I was drawn to, but they certainly were not the last.

As I made my way through the packed hall, I noticed that many companies at the showcase were exhibiting products that allowed for automation, and/or remote management. Honeywell, for instance, featured their automated home solutions which contained their own connected camera, security systems, integrated smart locks, and of course a connected thermostat. Andersen Windows and Doors was also showcasing their own proprietary system, Andersen Connect. The system is a new connected window and door line that allows users to remotely lock and unlock their units as well as send virtual keys to family and friends for simplified access.

After making my way over to the other half of the show floor, I came upon Samsung’s booth, where a large group of people were huddled around a row of refrigerators. I had seen bits and pieces of what a smart refrigerator could do thanks to the show, Silicon Valley, however the features I saw on Samsung’s smart refrigerator, Family Hub, were still mind blowing. This intelligent appliance appeared to be exactly as its name suggested: the perfect hub for family-living. With Family Hub’s built-in display, users can entertain their loved ones and guests through the unit’s Spotify and TV mirroring apps. They can also enjoy the convenience in having the ability to order groceries through Instacart or GrubHub, while also being able to maintain a whole list of recipes for those perfect family meals.

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Overall, I was really surprised to see that nearly all of the booths I walked past had some form of connected product or home automation tools on display. Even the toilets on display at the TOTO booth were self-cleaning after every flush! The fact that almost every company was dipping their toes in the waters of connected technology, tells me that simplification and automation are the keys to an ideal home experience. Not only that, but the concept of making the most simple home appliances smart, is sure to give homes those added hints of luxury and grandeur. If you didn’t get a chance to attend this year’s International Builders Show, I encourage you to check it out in 2019. At next year’s show I anticipate the appearance of automated lawn mowers, multifunctional, color-changing walls, and a host of other smart, self-sustaining products.

Mandee Myers, UniKey Marketing Coordinator