What's a connected kitchen and should you care? Whirlpool wants to persuade you of of the benefits
The mental picture many of us have about connected kitchens, is something like a fridge connected to the Internet that tells you when you have run out of milk.
Or a washing machine that instead of bleeping at you when the wash is done, sends you an email instead.
For these benefits, you will be persuaded to pay a whopping premium for your white goods.
It’s not compelling, often feeling like smart tech is being grafted on, as a solution looking for a problem. That’s one reason why Whirlpool has produced its ‘kitchen of the future’ concept, to try to bring to life what a connected picture might be in a way that people might actually be interested in.
Whirlpool say, “the concept kitchen simulates a day in the life in a smart kitchen. It highlights the kitchen as a cooking and informational hub, showcasing how Whirlpool smart technology will help a family cook, clean and care in the near future. Using a smart backsplash and countertop, Whirlpool has evolved their conceptual smart kitchen to learn a family’s likes and routines so the environment and appliances can anticipate their unique needs and adapt to unforeseen changes such as unexpectedly caring for a sick child.”.
What does that mean? Whirlpool imagine a kitchen that can detect a signal from a baby monitor that it’s time to feed the baby and start to warm up the hob, and interactive recipes that alert the user when it’s time to stir the ingredients. Or it might mean packing that tells the microwave how long to set the timer.
Reducing energy costs
Alessandro Finetto, senior director of global consumer design, Whirlpool Europe, says: “We have observed among our consumers that key concerns when running their homes are cost and environmental impact. Investments in innovation and improved energy efficiency in economic appliances has greatly reduced energy consumption, however to improve further in these fields we have recognised the need to take the next step.”
Whether or not consumers see these as real benefits worth paying for, let alone whether the technology is here yet to integrate and communicate seamlessly across such a wide range of devices, is still to be seen. But all the major white good manufacturers are jumping in with both feet into the smart kitchen, and we’ll be explaining what each of the key ones is offering shortly. Watch this space.