NKBA Design + Tech Summit Recap
July 31, 2023
NKBA hosted its second Design + Tech Summit, in partnership with Samsung, at the brand’s experience store in New York earlier this week, with a main focus on how designers and technology integrators can be better partners. The four-hour conference was held in the immersive theater at Samsung 837 where the Summit’s presentations were displayed on its three-story-tall screen.
The Summit was kicked off by Shane Higby, head of division, Samsung digital appliances, who spoke about the brand’s strong support of the kitchen and interior design channels. “For today, we wanted to host this year’s Summit given our strong leadership in design and technology to help educate, inspire and share brand innovation with the industry,” Higby said, noting that Samsung is launching its Design by Samsung Incentive Program next month.
Higby then introduced Suzie Williford, EVP & CSO of NKBA, who noted, “How great is it to be holding our conference here in this amazing theater…with this crazy big screen. Just wow.” Williford went on to give a preview of the day’s sessions before sending attendees off for their guided group tours of Samsung 837, where they experienced the brand’s appliances, accessories and entertainment solutions like like The Frame, a TV that displays artwork when it is not “on,” the highly-customizable Bespoke line of refrigerators and more.
After returning from the tours, Williford introduced the Summit’s host, Steve Greenberg, best-selling author and TV personality.” Then it was onto the sessions, which included design, technology and industry experts who were featured in the following panels:
Keeping it Real: Moderated by Angela Rath, national business manager, NKBA, and featuring Amanda Wildman, owner of TruMedia, this session focused on the realities of working through the technology and design partnership to create amazing results that elevate any project.
Your Future Home will be Smarter Than You: Featured an expert panel that included Samsung’s Gary So, VP marketing, digital appliances; Sarah Larsen, VP marketing, home electronics and Claudia Santos, director of product marketing Connected Living, as well as Geraldine Morrison, executive director, digital appliances at Dacor. The discussion, moderated by Pamela McNally, SVP marketing & digital at NKBA, focused on how innovations through technology and design will revolutionize the home for consumers and designers.
Designers Walk Into the Light: Moderated by Tony Monteleone, group publisher, Dealerscope, CE Week and Connected Design, this session’s panelists included Greg Barrett, director of product marketing, lighting and shades for Savant Systems; Will Breaux, director of CASA Houston; and Sara McElroy, founder and president of Silver Shoe Design. The group discussed the significance of lighting solutions and working with lighting designers and technology integrators to bring a client’s vision to life.
Secret to Success: This session was moderated by NKBA’s Suzie Williford and featured Toni Sabatino, designer & owner of Toni Sabatino Style, who talked about Sabatino’s evolution with smart home technology, sharing her early struggles, challenges and solutions.
All Together Now: Panelists included Katye Bennett, CEO and chief strategist, KMB Communications; Ed Gilmore, owner, Gilmore’s Sound Advice; and Sharon L. Sherman, CKD, owner of Thyme & Place Design. Moderated by Toni Sabatino, this session focused on today’s high-performance home and creating tech/design partnerships that successfully navigate budget, timeline and client communication.
Following the conference sessions, Donna Powers, vice president sales & marketing of LiteMirror, did a product demonstration to showcase the company’s innovative mirror. Only 10 percent as heavy as a traditional glass mirror, the LiteMirror is also durable and flexible, making it a creative option for designers.
After NKBA giveaways and final closing words, Greenberg invited the audience to play “Guess that Gadget,” a game show he hosts on YouTube.
Later in the evening, attendees, panelists, sponsors and NKBA staff were able to celebrate the Design + Tech Summit at the NYC Design Coalition’s Summer Social, held on all three floors of Samsung 837 offering an opportunity to connect with industry leaders, to mingle with colleagues and to have some fun.
To view NKBA’s Design + Tech Summit on demand, visit the NKBA Summits page starting on July 31.
—By Elisa Fernández-Arias
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