January is a time of renewal. It also happens to be when appliance makers show off their visions of what is to come. The event is CES 2013 and this year, according to those that make kitchen gadgets and appliances, everything is going to be very, very smart. While we have been promised automated kitchens in one form or another since the time of the Jetsons, there is one important factor in the modern world that may see the smart kitchen finally grow up: mobility.
All cooking consists of a step-by-step process; a process that lends itself remarkably well to being transcribed as a set of directions. Having these recipes readily available (not to mention with enhanced content) has become an enticing reality for phones and tablets. Perhaps the next step in the process is the integration of technology into the cooking device itself. Look for the Dacor Wall Oven with Discovery IQ Controller for Android to land sometime in summer 2013. Not only will the oven be able to tell you what's for dinner, but also how to cook it. The fact that it can keep track of what you cook leads to interesting possibilities for the future. Perhaps recommendations based upon eating preferences? Couple recipe choices with what's actually in the fridge and suddenly shopping lists sent to phones can be viewed in a whole new way. The first steps have been taken.
The dream of connected appliances is happening. LG's Smart Home Service looks to integrate communication among appliances via its SmartControl app. Naturally, LG isn't the only appliance maker looking to dominate the living space. Haier showcased their Smart Living system in an effort to win over future consumers. In what is soon to be a crowded field, Whirlpool announced a new line of appliances featuring their 6th Sense Live technology. When available, the connected kitchen and laundry room appliances still won't be able to actually cook you dinner just yet, but expect to be able to exert simple control over common appliances when they become available for purchase in March.
If the thought of a matched set of smart appliances seems out of reach you are not alone. (Pay attention, appliance makers: make your devices play nice!) Belkin has teamed with Jarden Consumer Solutions (JCS is the maker of Sunbeam, Crock-Pot, Mr. Coffee, and Oster appliances) to bring connected capabilities to everyday kitchen gadgets and appliances via the WeMo SMART platform. Belkin's existing WeMo technology, app development, and cloud server allows for JCS to bring familiar products to market quickly and easily. Look for the first of these to be available later this year.
Smartphones and tablets have certainly changed how we view and interact with the world around us. Now, they look to transform the hearth of the home. With real steps being taken to that future throughout the year, 2013 looks to be the year when long promised smart features finally come home.