We’ve all stood in the aisle of the grocery store wondering if we needed milk, eggs, or butter. With the smart kitchen, those days will soon be gone; if your fridge has a camera and you have the app, they may already be a thing of the past for you.
As you make decisions about upgrading your kitchen, or as you evaluate the kitchen of a prospective new home, bear in mind that a smart kitchen will likely not add value to your home the way a new kitchen or bathroom will do. Its value is more about utilizing technology to make life easier—to add convenience so that we have more time for other things.
What’s the Fridge Done for Me Lately?
For decades, your fridge’s only job was to keep food cold and fresh. Today’s fridge can do so much more. Cameras can give you a view to what’s missing. A screen allows you to leave notes and create a shopping list. A built-in personal assistant can order dinner, play music or answer questions. An app can even make the fridge the central control unit for your other appliances enabling you to manage your kitchen via one appliance from feet—or miles—away.
Smart Ovens are Hot
As of this writing, smart oven units are still developing. Today’s smart oven doesn’t just hold a bank of recipes; you can scan bar codes on frozen food and send the instructions to the oven. Learning from your repeated use, ovens can offer up your most frequent settings and recipes. Built-in cameras allow you to see your delicate soufflé without ruining it by opening the door. Truly smart ovens respond to voice commands via a compatible device so that you can control oven settings and check your time while you continue kneading dough or whisking a delicate sauce.
Microwaves are also getting smarter. The Amazon Smart Microwave can recognize your voice and sync with Alexa for voice control. You can even reorder product through it from amazon.com and save money.
It’s a Wash
Dishwashers are more challenging to make smart. In terms of creating convenience through IoT, there isn’t much about a dishwasher that voice control, cameras, etc., can do for you. Engineering seems directed towards efficiency—maximizing shelf space and using less energy. Some of today’s washers do have apps that enable you to see how much time is left on the cycle.
Small but Powerful
Small appliances and tools are becoming smarter and smarter, too. Scales, coffee makers, ice makers, blenders and other small appliances are leveraging smart technology. Not quite an oven, and not quite a crock pot or Dutch oven, the recent star is the hot pot which allows you to start and monitor your cooking from your phone to create delectable meals and treats at home, no matter where you are.
Don’t forget that lighting is an important component of your kitchen. Smart lights can be controlled from your phone anywhere in the house, and voice activation affords greater convenience—very helpful when approaching a dark kitchen with an armload of groceries or dirty dishes.
The technology is still evolving for the smart kitchen. Appliances can be expensive and are likely to be quickly outdated as tech evolves over the next few years. Connectivity can also be an issue—some appliances may not work with every router or every device. Keep these things in mind as you evaluate the benefit of investing in a smart kitchen of your own.