Will the next smart-home revolution take place in the kitchen?
Tech startups, appliance manufacturers and chefs gathered this week at the Smart Kitchen Summit to discuss the future of the kitchen, introduce new products and more.
Ashlee Clark ThompsonAssociate Editor
Ashlee spent time as a newspaper reporter, AmeriCorps VISTA and an employee at a healthcare company before she landed at CNET. She loves to eat, write and watch "Golden Girls" (preferably all three at the same time). The first two hobbies help her out as an appliance reviewer. The last one makes her an asset to trivia teams. Ashlee also created the blog, AshleeEats.com, where she writes about casual dining in Louisville, Kentucky.
Food is front and center at the Smart
Summit, an annual gathering of
, appliance manufacturers, chefs and journalists that this year took place Oct. 8 and 9 in Seattle. Unlike
and other alphabet-soup tech shows that display a broad swath of innovation, the Smart Kitchen Summit is dedicated to how companies are using internet connectivity, artificial intelligence and software platforms to streamline and improve the way you buy, store and prepare food. (Full disclosure: I participated in three panels during the summit.)
Partnerships between software companies and appliance manufacturers made up a big portion of the news that came out of the conference. This means that internet-connected kitchen
work with a larger variety of recipe apps, so you can send info like oven settings and cook times to your appliance from your favorite app. These partnerships include: The Drop recipes app works with
appliances; Chefling works with
and Thermador appliances; SideChef works with
appliances; and Innit now works with LG.
Speaking of collaborations, the Hestan Cue cooking system will work with GE Appliances' Cafe line of induction cooktops and
. That means you can use Bluetooth-connected Hestan cookware and the recipe app will automatically control cooking temperatures on Cafe induction burners when you're using Hestan's guided cooking system to cook a dish.
This year, I expected to see more collaborations between software platforms and smart large appliances, a natural progression of what we've seen take place in the kitchen. A few years ago, manufacturers were quick to throw some Wi-Fi,
or NFC into an appliance and call it smart. But these established brands didn't have the knowledge or nimbleness of small software companies. So instead of trying to compete with these upstarts, we've seen big appliances companies work with apps and software platforms such as Innit, SideChef and Yummly.
Watch this: Don't believe the hype about air fryers
These partnerships ultimately want to create an experience in the kitchen that makes it easy to plan what you're going to cook, automatically order your groceries and have them delivered to your home, and guide you through the steps of making a recipe. And they could make it easier for you to become more interested in connected kitchen appliances if they work with apps with which you're already familiar.
First published Oct. 8, 10:15 a.m. PT. Update, Oct. 9 at 11:30 a.m. and Oct. 12 at 10:30 a.m.: Added highlights from this year's show.