Here are 5 reasons why the smart kitchen will be a $10 billion opportunity.
Who remembers the Disney Channel hit Smart House? For those who may not recall, the 1999 flick centered around a family who won a computerized house that ends up taking on a life of its own. While some of the features may have been a bit far-fetched, Disney certainly helped paint a clear picture of the kitchen of tomorrow — one in which can learn its owners’ eating habits through atmospheric sensors and whip up beverages and other snacks instantaneously.
Now 15 years later, a Smart House-like future is coming to fruition. As the ever-evolving Internet of Things continues to experience widespread adoption, one of the areas in the smart home that is expected to see the greatest change over the next decade is, indeed, the kitchen. According to a recent report from NextMarket Insights, the result of this burgeoning technology will make way for a $10.1 billion smart kitchen market by 2020. Running out of milk, eggs or cold cuts? Replenish your stock with just a press of a button. The study, which was conducted back in October, found that out of all connected kitchen appliances, many consumers favor refrigerators that’ll allow them to monitor food inventory with their smartphone.
“Whether it’s food storage, preparation, or the act of cooking itself, the arrival of new technologies will enable consumers to become more efficient, knowledgable and possibly even better cooks in coming years,” explained Michael Wolf, NextMarket Insights Chief Analyst. “As a result, we believe that appliance makers, smart home companies as well as those who provide food to consumers will see both enormous opportunity as well as disruption to their existing businesses with the arrival of the smart kitchen.”
Surveying over 500 households, the study revealed that the next-gen technologies are already beginning to alter the way consumers interact, prepare and consume their food. Nearly one-quarter (24%) who were self-proclaimed cooks already use a tablet or smartphone “all the time” when in the kitchen to help them prep meals, while another 34% indicated they use a tablet or smartphone “sometimes.”
“Appliance and device makers are integrating smart features at both the high and low end of the device spectrum,” Wolf adds.
It wasn’t simply the notion of smart fridges that accelerated consumers’ appetites for the IoT era. Other notable devices in the connected kitchen that most appealed to them included smart coffee makers, oven ranges and crock pots.
Writing for Forbes, Wolf recently highlighted a handful of reasons as to why the smart kitchen will, in fact, be a $10 billion opportunity:
1. The technology is already there: Nearly a quarter of cooks already use a mobile device to help in the kitchen.
2. They will reduce waste: With smart kitchen tech, not only can you see what’s in your fridge while mobile, some are beginning to tell us about is about to expire.
3. Technology can make us better cooks: As everything from ovens to thermometers get connected, users will be able to easily tap into cooking guide apps and datasets.
4. They will make us all healthier: Future devices will enable us to closely monitor and synchronize food consumption with our health and fitness routines, as well as help those with very specific dietary restrictions monitor what’s really in our food.
5. They will make us safer: Compliance organizations are already working closely with manufacturers to enable smart connectivity to allow for remote shut off of appliances like stoves and ranges.
So, how close are we to a Jetsons-like world? If it’s up to companies like Whirlpool, GE, LG and Belkin, soon… very soon. While Whirlpool says some of the concepts may only be five years out from ubiquity, others like LG have already started to make the smart kitchen a reality. Take their latest connected fridge for instance, which uses its companion HomeChat app to communicate with an owner’s mobile device to let them know what items are needed while at the grocery store. Using its built-in camera positioned at the top of the main compartment, users can now easily monitor exactly what’s inside their fridge right from their smartphone. Or, GE, who has not only launched a wireless induction cooktop but is retrofitting older appliances with Wi-Fo modules. Another example, Mr. Coffee. Belkin and Jarden joined forces to debut their latest automatic, web-enabled coffee maker. Based on WeMo technology, the 10-cup Mr. Coffee Smart Optimal Brew can be remotely controlled right from bed via from any Android or iOS device.
Intrigued? Here’s a look at just some of the latest once-ordinary kitchen “things” given new “powers.”