Artificial intelligence (AI) is enabling our internet-of-things (IoT) technology to achieve new heights. Our devices are becoming smarter thanks to sophisticated machine learning algorithms, in combination with interfaces that make the interactions between man and machine smoother and more accessible.
But while some technologies merely take an aspect of our lives and make it more convenient, less expensive, or more effortless, others have the power to reshape our lives in fundamental ways.
So how could AI-powered IoT devices reshape one of the most important rooms of the home—our kitchens?
For starters, we need to consider the costs of new kitchen appliances and kitchen remodeling. Remodeling a kitchen with basic options will still cost the average homeowner several thousand dollars or more—and if you upgrade all your appliances to be outfitted with the latest in IoT tech, those costs will only grow.
Costs of smart devices have fallen in the past several years, with models like Samsung’s Family Hub smart fridge dropping to reasonable levels, but it’s still going to be a pain point for most homeowners. Accordingly, most people will opt for only one or two primary smart devices in the kitchen, and may prioritize other upgrades with more longevity—like new cabinetry or countertops.
Smart devices also have the ability to reduce the amount of waste the average kitchen produces—both in terms of energy expenditure and food. High-tech smart devices can monitor usage statistics and adjust their energy consumption accordingly, in addition to offering more energy efficiency overall. They may also help homeowners organize their groceries and plan their meals so less food expires before it can be consumed—and considering nearly 50 percent of all produced food in the United States is wasted, this could come in handy.
Smart refrigerators may help consumers store their food in different ways, forcing them to think about different food categories as they scan and index the food they store, and drawing attention to inefficiencies. Other smart containers, like SkeLabs, are designed to help consumers understand the types of food they’re storing in their pantry. It’s unlikely that kitchen storage will change too much, beyond better food indexing, since all food will still need to occupy physical space.
Most modern smart devices will occupy the same niches and same physical space as their older counterparts (with the possible exception of maximizing space with smaller designs), so kitchen layouts may only become cleaner and more modernized with the advent of IoT. However, if homeowners opt for a greater quantity of small devices, such as smart scales like SITU, they’re going to need more counter space.
Because so many kitchen devices will be controllable or accessible with a mobile device, the biggest change to American kitchens may be a transformation of the room’s functionality. Kitchens have historically served as a central point for socialization, thanks to its location compared to other rooms, and the necessity of using it for food preparation. However, if enough cooking, storage, and other functions can be remotely operated, kitchens can afford to take a backseat to other, more prominent rooms of the house. Though with the level of automation we’re currently seeing, it will be years before we see a cultural change in response to this new tech.
Should Homeowners Prepare?
So considering these upcoming changes, should you, as a homeowner, prepare? You could start remodeling your kitchen in anticipation of these new changes, or investing in the latest and greatest smart devices, but you might be better off waiting.
You could make the argument that residential IoT is just a passing fad, or that it’s going to be replaced with an even more streamlined system of smart home technology. So while our kitchens will gradually become better adapted to the high-tech, smart device-driven lifestyle that awaits us, a full-scale makeover may not be in your best interest for the present.