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Builders’ Show Barrels Into Vegas This Week

Although CES concluded earlier this month, consumer electronics will continue to share space with major appliances at the Las Vegas Convention Center this week, as The 2004 International Builders’ Show (IBS) begins its four-day run here today.

Kicking off the festivities this morning was a scheduled keynote address by former President George H.W. Bush, followed tomorrow by GE chairman/CEO Jeffrey Immelt’s presentation on using “Technology as a Competitive Edge” within the home builders’ channel.

Indeed, the wired home is a major theme at IBS this week. Companies proffering home networking solutions will be centered at tecHOMExpo, the National Association of Home Builders’ show-within-a-show. Companies and organizations on hand include CEDIA, which will unveil its CEDIA Dome, a high-energy display that educates builders about the benefits of home networking and partnering with custom electronic designers and installers in the building process.

Also offering an electronics angle are the 15 member companies of the Distributed Audio Alliance (DAA), including AVAD, which will introduce its new Dealer to Builder (D2B) program.

Separately, Best Buy will help showcase a $2 million, three-story, 17-room Ultimate Family concept home within the nearby Nevada Trails subdivision that features the retailer’s structured wiring and some $20,000 in donated CE products — including Samsung’s just-debuted 61-inch DLP rear projection TV.

Besides being completely hardwired for a convergent future, the custom-built Pardee home is energy self-sufficient thanks to arrays of photovoltaic panels and eco-friendly building materials. David Garman, Assistant Secretary of Energy, is scheduled for an on-site presentation and question-and-answer session there today.

Despite its newfound CE leanings, IBS remains a key showcase for major appliance manufacturers, some of whom derive as much as 50 percent of their revenue from commercial contracts. White goods vendors showcasing new wares this week include:

Bosch: The BSH Home Appliance division will show its new freestanding 30-inch convection range and silent, front-loading Nexxt laundry line (see TWICE, Dec. 8, 2003, p. 50), along with its dishwasher, cooktop, wall oven and ventilation hood platforms. The products will be showcased within a “Bosch Spa,” described by the company as “a serene and inspirational setting complete with a pond and meditation room that illustrate the extremely quiet operation and ease of use of the products.”

GE: Refrigeration is at the forefront of the company’s intros this week as it debuts a next generation Profile Arctica; the first GE Profile 42-inch built-in side-by-side; and a full line of undercounter refrigeration modules for the builder channel, including a wine reserve, beverage center, double-drawer refrigerator and outdoor/ indoor refrigerator.

The former features GE’s new ClimateKeeper2 technology, which provides separate cooling systems for the freezer and fresh food. The system employs two evaporators to create two zones of air circulation, which keeps humidity levels high for added freshness while preventing odor transfer between compartments.

Jenn-Air: The high-end Maytag division is adding a dual-fuel option and 17,000 Btu burners to its 30-inch and 36-inch Pro-Style cooktops, and has further refined the platform’s look with oversized knobs and diamond-etched towel bar handles. Other new features include the addition of dual flame burners, two-mode convection cooking on all Pro-Style range ovens, and larger oven cavities.

Thermador: The Bosch brand sibling will show is suite of high-performance kitchen appliances, including its recently launched built-in refrigeration line, which features a stainless steel front, stylish exterior grill, tempered glass shelves and brushed aluminum rails.

Whirlpool: The nation’s largest majap maker is transforming a 700-square-foot room at the Las Vegas Hilton into the “New American Home.” Inside, attendees will see a Satina-finish refrigerator, Duet front-loading washer with newly attained Woolmark certification, a Polara refrigerated range and a DryAire laundry cabinet. The company will also be unveiling a series of new global design concepts that will be shown publicly for the first time.

IBS coverage will continue in the next issue of TWICE.

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