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February 18, 2014

If there was ever a moment for the home furnishings industry to take its turn in the technical spotlight this is it.
Coming out of the huge Consumer Electronic Show last month, the talk was no longer about hi-def, 3D or how big your screen was.
Instead everyone was talking about wearable tech and the Internet of Things.... two trends that play perfectly into the hands of the home textiles and housewares industries.
The wearable tech talk had to do with devices you could put on your body - on your wrists, your head or various points in between - that would control other electronic devices and functions. Google Glass and Nike Fit Band are probably the two best examples now in the marketplace.
You don't have to be a sheet scientist to know that textiles products for the home should be next: bedding that regulates and controls temperature and moisture...or even sleep patterns. Or how about towels that sense the degree of moisture on your body and react accordingly?
And yes, there are some products out there that are starting to address these issues, but they need to do much, much more. If there can be wearable tech, why can't there be sleepable tech?
The buzz on the Internet of Things was set off with Google's purchase of Nest, the programmable home thermostat device, for big bucks...very big bucks. Suddenly, the idea of the wired home - something that has been discussed ad nausea for years if not something that ever actually happened - was front and center and very real.
This certainly plays into the core of the housewares business. The technology now exists to make the wired home a reality and the first one who figures out just the right combination of user interface and tech is going to get a huge payback.
The time is right for the home business to get serious about technology. Fitted sheets and 12-speed blenders just aren't going to cut it anymore.