Contractormag 10541 Millennials3

KBIS engages Millennials

Feb. 16, 2018
I was reminded of what Dave Yates wrote in his January issue column about Millennials as I walked around the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Orlando last month.

I was reminded of what Dave Yates wrote in his January issue column about Millennials as I walked around the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Orlando last month.

“They want programmable automatic thermostats with geo-fencing capability that can incorporate room temperature averaging from room sensors (wireless, of course) that integrate with home surveillance video monitoring, smoke/fire/CO/burglar alarms, and that accept voice commands — like the ecobee 4 that incorporates Amazon’s Alexa,” Dave wrote. “No need to look at the weather report — ask Alexa.  Alexa: Turn on the kitchen lights. Alexa: Set the heat to 70.”

Check out Steve Spaulding’s feature in this issue on smart and connected homes that are being pushed by consumer demand. I heard Chris Baldwin, president of Kitchen & Bath Americas at Kohler, present data that shows older Millennials look like Gen Xers when it comes to things like employment, marriage and home ownership. That’s driving the smart and connected trend.

KBIS featured products such as Kohler Konnect for any of its communicating products, and Moen showed U by Moen, a shower that’s controlled by Amazon Alexa. It’s changing the paradigm of how we interact with our plumbing, I was told. Indeed. Nobody wants to clean a toilet anymore and the alternative is not a dirty toilet. American Standard introduced its Vormax Plus self-cleaning toilet with FreshInfuser, containing Lysol cleaning solution, which is hidden in an easy-to-access compartment behind the seat. Kohler showed ContinuousClean that’s incorporated into toilets using the firm’s Revolution 360 flushing technology. The flushing system includes a space in the mechanism to hold two toilet cleaning tablets.

Things that previous generations assumed that we would have to go take care of can now be done automatically or through an app or through a smart home hub.

All of this bears the imprint of Millennials, although they aren’t as Millennial as Twisted Mango Diet Coke. Nothing could be more Millennial than that, although talking to your shower is, nonetheless, pretty Millennial.

On Irving Blackman

I need to say a few words about Irving Blackman, our finance and taxes columnist, who has been missing from our pages for the last few months. Irv is in poor health, not surprising since the man is around 90 years old. Irv has been offering financial, tax and succession planning advice for small businesses for decades. Irv was a non-practicing attorney in addition to being a CPA, something he cited as an advantage.

Another advantage was the expertise of his firm, Blackman Kallick Bartelstein, which was merged into another Chicago accounting firm, Plante Moran, a number of years ago. Blackman Kallick had about 200 associates, so there always was somebody in the firm who was an expert on any topic. Small CPA firms were so overwhelmed by the constant changes in the tax code that they could barely keep up, Irv said, and large accounting firms were so large that they really didn’t care about the average contractor.

And Irv really likes contractors because contractors have always liked him. Irv wrote for a variety of audiences, but he’s told me on several occasions that readers of CONTRACTOR responded to his columns, called and emailed, and employed his services more than any other audience. I like to think that’s because readers of this magazine are smarter than most.

Irv wants to start writing again and I, for one, am really hoping he can. Here’s wishing Irv a speedy recovery.

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