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The Internet of Things: Smart Kitchens
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The Internet of Things: Smart Kitchens - Executive Leadership Articles

The Internet of Things: Smart Kitchens

Executive Leadership Articles

The Internet of Things: Smart Kitchens

Almost since the moment the Internet of Things was first conceived, applications in the kitchen were brainstormed and suggested. It makes sense: the kitchen is functionally the heart of the home, an ever-changing landscape of variables we manage on a daily basis for the purpose of keeping us and our families fed and happy. Anything that helps with managing these variables makes the day-to-day operation of our lives less burdensome and more rewarding.

Smart refrigerators have dominated the conversation of connected devices in the kitchen, but early models did little more than give us snapshots of what’s inside the doors while showing us our favorite morning television news programs on the outside of the doors themselves. Newer concepts can report on the expected freshness of ingredients, or how much milk is left in that carton of milk, based on how long the container has been in the fridge and how much it weighs at any moment. A refrigerator cooperating with a smart pantry might also tell us whether we’ve got the ingredients we want for today’s lunch, or suggest a meal based on what’s at hand. Samsung’s $5,000 Family Hub refrigerator, debuting at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, doesn’t quite do all of that, but its in-door display does let you drag time labels onto images of a fridge’s contents, and it includes the ability to place orders with certain online grocery stores.

Individual smart cooking implements are also showing up. One model, from Smartypans, tells you the nutritional value of what you’ve added to a pan, based on your input with a mobile app and the pan’s weight sensor. Each time you add an ingredient, the pan tells you the total nutritional value of the meal you’re constructing, in real time, while also keeping track of the pan’s cooking temperature. While there doesn’t yet seem to be the smart pan that will flip a pancake when the time is right, or stir its ingredients at set intervals, we’re not far from devices that will remind you when it’s time to do it yourself, so there’s hope.

Manufacturers are lining up with service providers – that Samsung refrigerator already has partnerships with online stores, plus connections to certain channels of streaming content—but they are also choosing sides with central operating systems for managing and integrating these devices. There is keen competition to be the emerging OS, with Google and Apple, among others, vying to be the standard for connectivity between your sink and your stove, your pans and your pantries.

Meanwhile, others are already developing entire suites of kitchen hardware, with other lifestyle management built in, such as Whirlpool’s “kitchen of the future,” which includes a cooktop that recognizes the ingredients you place upon it, displaying on the backsplash possible recipes based on that ingredient and other items it knows you have. Working with your calendar and daily schedule, it might tell you what you might prepare in the time you have remaining, or what you might add to a recipe in progress based on your nutrition goals. Perhaps best of all, it will sense when you’ve left the kitchen. A pan that will tell you when it’s time to flip a pancake is pretty nifty; a kitchen that will sense when you’re not in it can be a life-saver.

Reference Links:
Samsung Family Hub (via PC Magazine): http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2497578,00.asp
Smartypans: https://smartypans.io/
Whirlpool: http://ces.whirlpool.com/future/


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The Internet of Things: Smart Kitchens - Executive Leadership Articles

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