The kitchen is the hub of the home, where family and friends congregate and meals are cooked and shared. The Internet of Things (IoT) has yet to truly permeate this part of our daily lives. Devices like smart lighting, intelligent security systems and voice assistances appear all over the house from the living room to the bedroom. Technavio estimates that the global market for smart kitchens will surpass $7 billion by 2020, making this area a key opportunity for IoT vendors and developers.
IoT products are intended to make life easier and give consumers more control over their lives. By applying this to devices in the kitchen, cooking preparation time and labor can be reduced. Human error can be minimized and energy usage optimized through temperature and cooking regulation. Some vendors, like Samsung with their smart refrigerators, have shown that it’s possible to reduce waste through monitoring consumable goods — a common problem in modern cities.
In the current smart kitchen industry, there is an emphasis on giving individual gadgets and appliances the ability to connect to mobile devices through Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. WeMo’s Smart Crockpot slow cooker allows users to adjust their cooking times and temperature remotely, the Anova precision cooker is an upgrade for sophisticated sous vide meals, while the SmartPlate uses cameras and weight sensors to monitor portion sizes.
Amazon has entered the smart kitchen arena through Dash, Wi-Fi-enabled buttons that, once pressed, automatically order products for users. The Dash Wand can also be used to order items, convert measurements or find and read out recipes.
LG Electronics & efficiency
LG Electronics has focused on products which reduce preparation time and improve efficiency through the launch of smart fridges, dishwashers and ovens going further than its competitors. The company has made a number of devices, including the ThinQ fridge, compatible with Alexa voice recognition technology. At Internet of Things World this May, LG Electronics will demonstrate what security strategy is necessary to secure these smart home devices.
As vendors are now working together to create platforms which can support ecosystems for multiple devices and appliances, consumers will benefit from improved smart home hubs and controls in the future.
The industry, however, has the potential to go further. A key benefit of IoT sensors and Internet connections is the ability to monitor systems and equipment. This can become part of the kitchen, too. We are beginning to see the emergence of IoT and smart monitoring for equipment as part of Industry 4.0, and manufacturers can apply these principles to equipment at home.
Sensors can be used to alert suppliers directly of faults in equipment, pinpoint the faults, and eradicate problems including failed refrigeration systems or ovens.
The smart kitchen market is where the IoT consumer industry was several years ago — a congested area without maturity, cohesion or compatibility. In the future, however, our kitchens will become as smart as the rest of our homes are now.