The Secret To I of E In The Kitchen? Invisibility

The Secret To I of E In The Kitchen? Invisibility

The Secret to I of E in the Kitchen? Invisibility

What could be simpler than opening the fridge and grabbing yourself a snack? That’s the challenge for designers and engineers who are looking to bring the Internet of Everything into the kitchen. Eating food is based largely on sensations of hunger, an age-old instinct which is pretty difficult to ignore. As for preparing food, people either enjoy it or they hate it. Either way, when preparing to integrate a kitchen into the Internet of Everything sphere it is important to realize that the kitchen is an area where emotions rule, not facts.

internet-of-everything

People go to the kitchen when they are hungry. They meet in the kitchen during parties. Many take pride in cooking from recipes handed down through the generations. A kitchen is a hearth; it is a place for being human, and as such the often highly practical, yet overly logical inventions that have been designed for the kitchen over the decades face steep opposition from the simple fact that if it needs to be thought about, that’s one step too many.

The fundamental guideline for an efficient kitchen scenario is ease of use. A refrigerator is easy to use: it keeps things cold. A stove is easy to use: it makes things hot. A tap delivers drinkable water. All of these things are invisible. They just happen. And it is only when the power goes out, or when you go camping, that the marvel of these old-school, non-intelligent devices once again proves their worth.

As such, as the Internet of Everything creeps further and further into our homes, its success will be based on a single word: invisibility. For a device to work well, meaning that the interaction between the device and its human counterpart works well, it must offer as invisible a process as possible.

Some examples of this are already starting to emerge with the development of smart smoke alarms, such as that offered by Nest. Once it has passed its current teething pains it will offer a far more intelligent approach to home awareness and safety. Similarly, devices such as Canary stand to usher in a new generation of home security, using the power of a personal Wi-Fi and a smartphone app to keep tabs on the status of your house while you are not in it.

So what could be improved in a kitchen, in such an invisible way as to make life easier without adding extra steps?

Cooking will always involve manual effort, but hands-free cookbooks, which can scroll or zoom with a wave of the hand are already in use on iPads and Google Glass. Innovative new kitchen scales such as the Orange Chef Prep Pad offer a significantly more powerful way to understand nutrition and to eat better, by assessing servings by weight.

But what about the fridge? How could that be improved? Cynics will say the best way to assess what your fridge contains is by opening the door and looking inside, which makes sense if you remember to do this. But how many of us have had to add extra minutes to the commute to stop and pick up some milk on the way home? It happens. A fridge that could scan bar codes, and assess the remaining amount of milk by weight, using the same weighing techniques that self-checkouts use, might be able to send an alert more promptly, or better yet, add “milk” to your online grocery list. Yes, this would require that the milk be placed in a specific location in the fridge. So why not incorporate shelves that not only factor in a weighing scale but also light up, ensuring that even the youngest family members are guided to place the milk in the most energy efficient location of the fridge, which happens to be the lower level.

Scanning items before placing them in the fridge or even onto lighted panels in your cupboards might seem to add extra effort to your life, but less so if there are tangible financial savings to be made, through fewer trips to the grocery store, less spoiled food, and fewer redundant purchases.

Food preparation is generally haphazard and reactive. The success factor of the Internet of Everything in the kitchen will be to turn our relationship with food into a proactive experience, whose benefits extend into health, as well as budget.

Many of these items do not exist just yet, or have not been perfected, either in terms of useability or price. But the beauty of the Internet of Everything is that the apps, the programming and sheer innovation now have a common platform upon which to work, essentially a Wi-Fi network and a smartphone.

How often has a pot boiled over on the stove in your house? Why? Because the speed at which liquids reach a boil depends on a great number of influences, including the setting of the element itself, the size of the pot, the contents of the pot and even the altitude of your house. Smart crock pots already exist, so why not a pot that can sound an alarm 2 minutes before a boil-over? It exists. What about a range that could sense the presence of small children and warn them away?

ikea-smart-connection-internet

(Image Source: IKEA)

Invisibility is the key. A kitchen must be a place where no extra work stands between a human and their food. Otherwise instinct takes over, and the device becomes a failure.

But invisibility has a second role to play here, in terms of the reduction of items needed to make a kitchen successful. Smart, energy efficient fridges need not be as large as their predecessors, yet they could incorporate a number of other appliances, including security camera screens, hands-free cookbook/recipe files, an entertainment system and a phone. These have been tried before, but as any Newton owner knows, timing is everything (a Newton, kids, was a smartphone that was neither smart, nor a phone, but it was an essential link in the evolution of texting).

Other multipurpose intelligent devices such as the Gkilo a combination kitchen scale and clock, show great promise in returning to the kitchen that one thing that is always in short supply: counter space. Consequently a kitchen that embraces the Internet of Everything will require fewer physical tools and less space to get the job of cooking done.

Food preparation has been a fact of life since the dawn of mankind, and with any great change comes a flurry of reactionism. “We don’t need that,” or “what’s wrong with the old way of doing things?” or “why do you need a computer to turn off a light?” But for each of these perfectly human responses, it is equally easy to point to the comfort that comes from being able to lock the front door of the house remotely, or to answer the agonizing question, “did I leave the stove on?

As your house becomes a more intelligent part of the globally connected Internet, the benefits of new technology will once again eclipse the fear of change. For those who still doubt, perhaps they can ask the iceman next time he passes by.

This is a sponsored post by InnovateThink and Cisco.

By Steve Prentice

About Steve Prentice

Steve Prentice is a project manager, writer, speaker and expert on productivity in the workplace, specifically the juncture where people and technology intersect. He is a senior writer for CloudTweaks.

Find out more
View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Comic
Fintech Systems, Advancements and Investments

Fintech Systems, Advancements and Investments

Fintech Growth According to a recent report, global investment in fintech companies including both venture-backed and non-venture-backed businesses reached $9.4 billion in the second quarter of 2016; investment in venture capital-backed fintech startups, however, fell by 49%. Nevertheless, the Pulse of Fintech, published jointly by KPMG International and CB Insights, suggests venture capital investment in…

How Identity Governance Can Secure The Cloud Enterprise

How Identity Governance Can Secure The Cloud Enterprise

Securing The Cloud Enterprise Cloud adoption is accelerating for most enterprises, and cloud computing is becoming an integral part of enterprise IT and security infrastructure. Based on current adoption trends, it’s clear that the vast majority of new applications purchased by organizations will be SaaS applications. The allure is evident, from cost savings to speed…

Significant Emerging Technologies To Lookout For In 2017

Significant Emerging Technologies To Lookout For In 2017

Emerging Technologies The entire world is being transformed right before our eyes. Emerging technologies are developing at break-neck speeds, and the global community needs to be prepared for what lies in the horizon. As with anything new or evolving there is benefit versus risk to consider. Most of the up-and-coming technologies that will soon affect…

In The Fast Lane: Connected Car Hacking A Big Risk

In The Fast Lane: Connected Car Hacking A Big Risk

Connected Car Hacking Researchers and cybersecurity experts working hard to keep hackers out of the driver’s seat. Modern transportation has come a million miles, and most all of today’s vehicles are controlled entirely by digital technology. Millions of drivers are not aware that of the many devices in their digital arsenal, the most complex of…

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

The Catch 22 The very same year Marc Andreessen famously said that software was eating the world, the Chief Information Officer of the United States was announcing a major Cloud First goal. That was 2011. Five years later, as both the private and public sectors continue to adopt cloud-based software services, we’re interested in this…

5 Things To Consider About Your Next Enterprise File Sharing Solution

5 Things To Consider About Your Next Enterprise File Sharing Solution

Enterprise File Sharing Solution Businesses have varying file sharing needs. Large, multi-regional businesses need to synchronize folders across a large number of sites, whereas small businesses may only need to support a handful of users in a single site. Construction or advertising firms require sharing and collaboration with very large (several Gigabytes) files. Financial services…

Data Breaches: Incident Response Planning – Part 1

Data Breaches: Incident Response Planning – Part 1

Incident Response Planning – Part 1 The topic of cybersecurity has become part of the boardroom agendas in the last couple of years, and not surprisingly — these days, it’s almost impossible to read news headlines without noticing yet another story about a data breach. As cybersecurity shifts from being a strictly IT issue to…

Despite Record Breaches, Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority

Despite Record Breaches, Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority

Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority Research has revealed that third parties cause 63 percent of all data breaches. From HVAC contractors, to IT consultants, to supply chain analysts and beyond, the threats posed by third parties are real and growing. Deloitte, in its Global Survey 2016 of third party risk, reported…

Your Biggest Data Security Threat Could Be….

Your Biggest Data Security Threat Could Be….

Paying Attention To Data Security Your biggest data security threat could be sitting next to you… Data security is a big concern for businesses. The repercussions of a data security breach ranges from embarrassment, to costly lawsuits and clean-up jobs – particularly when confidential client information is involved. But although more and more businesses are…

Do Not Rely On Passwords To Protect Your Online Information

Do Not Rely On Passwords To Protect Your Online Information

Password Challenges  Simple passwords are no longer safe to use online. John Barco, vice president of Global Product Marketing at ForgeRock, explains why it’s time the industry embraced more advanced identity-centric solutions that improve the customer experience while also providing stronger security. Since the beginning of logins, consumers have used a simple username and password to…

Teach Yourself The Cloud: Cloud Computing Knowledge In 5 Easy Steps

Teach Yourself The Cloud: Cloud Computing Knowledge In 5 Easy Steps

Teach Yourself The Cloud Learn how to get to grips with cloud computing in business  Struggling to get your head around the Cloud? Here are five easy ways you can improve your cloud knowledge and perhaps even introduce cloud systems into your business.  Any new technology can appear daunting, and cloud computing is no exception.…

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Analytics Trends

Cloud Infographic – Big Data Analytics Trends

Big Data Analytics Trends As data information and cloud computing continues to work together, the need for data analytics continues to grow. Many tech firms predict that big data volume will grow steadily 40% per year and in 2020, will grow up to 50 times that. This growth will also bring a number of cost…

The Rise Of BI Data And How To Use It Effectively

The Rise Of BI Data And How To Use It Effectively

The Rise of BI Data Every few years, a new concept or technological development is introduced that drastically improves the business world as a whole. In 1983, the first commercially handheld mobile phone debuted and provided workers with an unprecedented amount of availability, leading to more productivity and profits. More recently, the Cloud has taken…

4 Different Types of Attacks – Understanding the “Insider Threat”

4 Different Types of Attacks – Understanding the “Insider Threat”

Understanding the “Insider Threat”  The revelations that last month’s Sony hack was likely caused by a disgruntled former employee have put a renewed spotlight on the insider threat. The insider threat first received attention after Edward Snowden began to release all sorts of confidential information regarding national security. While many called him a hero, what…

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

Cloud Infographic – The Internet Of Things In 2020

The Internet Of Things In 2020 The growing interest in the Internet of Things is amongst us and there is much discussion. Attached is an archived but still relevant infographic by Intel which has produced a memorizing snapshot at how the number of connected devices have exploded since the birth of the Internet and PC.…

Three Factors for Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Three Factors for Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy A few weeks ago I visited the global headquarters of a large multi-national company to discuss cloud strategy with the CIO. I arrived 30 minutes early and took a tour of the area where the marketing team showcased their award winning brands. I was impressed by the digital marketing strategy…