Tech innovations and new ideas are changing the way Americans cook and eat. You can have a donut or filet mignon delivered with a touch on an app or have gourmet meals boxed at your doorstep and ready for you to play chef when you get home from work. Your kitchen can be run by your voice commanding Alexa or Google to set a timer or to play your favorite meal prep music.
New kitchen appliances offer a variety of tech innovations to make it easier for you to shop for, store and prepare your food. While it may seem like talking appliances and touchscreen-controlled devices are everywhere, only five percent of American households own smart appliances now. That’s a little more than the three percent who owned smart appliances in 2014, according to Parks Associates researchers. One reason could be that smart kitchen appliances tend to be high-end luxury items that not everyone can afford, although there are some less expensive options. Another is that not everyone is ready to embrace technology in every part of their home.
Yet smart home innovations continue to make inroads into American homes. More than a quarter of remodeling contractors report recent increases in revenue from projects involving home automation, according to the "Demographic Change and the Remodeling Outlook" report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.
What does a smart kitchen appliance do?
In the kitchen, innovations include things like Cookstop, which uses motion sensors to detect whether you are in the kitchen and automatically shuts off your stove after a certain period of time. Samsung’s Family Hub refrigerator includes a touchscreen that can be a communication center for your home and can even play music. It has cameras inside so you can look at your refrigerator shelves when you’re at the grocery store to see if you need milk or juice. LG’s SmartThinQ refrigerator and other appliances including dishwashers and ranges, connect with your smartphone so you can check on their function and operate them remotely.
Other options include the Signature Kitchen Suite of appliances that connect via an app to let consumers preheat the oven while they’re stuck in traffic or ask the refrigerator to make more ice when they’re getting ready to entertain. The appliances are also automatically connected to a call center with 24-hour monitoring to report their condition and status. For example, if you’re on vacation and the power goes out, the call center will alert you and provide updates so you know how long it lasts. The call center can provide repair instructions or help dispatch a technician when repairs are needed. More fun are the automated cooking programs that come with connected ovens and ranges that help you select ingredients, watch video tutorials and send an automated cooking program to the oven.
While cameras to check on your refrigerator shelves, built-in speakers in your fridge and cooking videos are fun, the Perlick collection of refrigerators comes with smart features that are more practical: electronic humidity controls that monitor and automatically sends moisture to your produce bin if it falls below optimal humidity. The company’s new refrigerators, now available for the first time as full-size kitchen appliances rather than bar and beverage refrigerators, come with as many as four zones of cooling that can be set to different temperatures according to each section’s contents. The section that stores your wine can be set to preserve corks and prevent oxidation, while the refrigerator’s dual-chamber air filtration system removes odors and neutralizes gases emitted by some fruits and vegetables. The company also offers a touchscreen control panel on their refrigerator that disappears into the backdrop when not in use.
Whether you’re looking for safety features, smarter operating systems or a cool new way to interact with your appliances, the future is here now.
Photo Courtesy of Perlick