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What’s Cooking with IoT in the Kitchen?

What is IoT?

According to Forbes, IoT is basically “connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet and/or to each other”. You can literally connect all the devices in your house, from cellphones, lights, coffee makers, baby monitors, TVs, toothbrushes (but why though?), computers, and even your beds. However, as someone who loves food but hates cooking, I am most interested in how IoT will affect how I eat, whether it’s my abilities in my own home kitchen or the food I get from restaurants with their commercial kitchens.

Commercial Kitchens

A connected kitchen can automate and standardize many restaurant processes and provide greater visibility into restaurant operations, such as the condition and status of kitchen equipment.

Let’s look at what can be done in a connected kitchen:

  • Issue alerts when temperature changes can affect product quality
  • Anticipate equipment failures and schedule maintenance as needed
  • Increase customer satisfaction through more personalized digital services
  • Data collection on devices to help management improve efficiency

In a connected kitchen, sensors can be attached to two main types of equipment: the heating and refrigeration units. The sensors gather data and during regular intervals, upload that data to a cloud-based platform, where restaurant workers can easily access the status of all the equipment in the kitchen, even when they aren’t at work. As a result, managers can be alerted if a cooler door is left open for too long and prevent food from spoiling, and notified if an oven is left on and prevent a fire. Furthermore, real-time monitoring of all the connected equipment in the kitchen help restaurant workers come up with energy-saving best practices in order to cut costs and of course help the environment.

Personal Smart Kitchens

Now let’s look more closely at our personal home kitchens! After all, we can’t eat out every single day. I can already imagine how convenient this will be! In the morning, I can throw what I need into a crockpot and turn it on to start cooking while I’m at work. If I need to stay a little later, I can just tell the crockpot to keep warm until I get home.

Here’s what companies have to offer in terms of IoT kitchen services:

  • LG: It’s home chat features directs its appliances through SMS. For example, you can ask your appliances to go into power-save mode
  • GE: It offers remotely controlled ovens as well, so you can ask your oven to preheat from your phone before you get home. Would you feel safe doing that though?
  • Belkin: It’s WeMo enabled Smart Slow Cooker allows you to adjust its temperature and on-off settings using a phone app

I am beginning to think more about other ways that a smart kitchen can make our lives easier. What about fridges that can tell when we are out of food and automatically order delivery for us? Or a fridge that can detect when something is expired and notify us?

BONUS: JUICERO

When thinking about kitchen devices and IoT, I cannot help but think back to Juicero. In case you guys haven’t heard of Juicero, it is a $700 WiFi connected home juicer that was somehow able to raise $120 million from Silicon Valley investors. It seems completely outrageous that investors would actually want to invest in something like this, but I guess that they were drawn to the IoT hype.

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