by Matthew Rathbun, executive vice president of Coldwell Banker Elite.
I am a geek. I admit it. I’m fascinated by the Internet of Things and smart devices. I also love to cook. Cooking lets me create something offline. It takes me away from my monitors, and most importantly, it lets me indulge in my second favorite hobby – eating. So, when I get to mix my first hobby with my second, I’m one happy geek.
Do We Really Need This?
However, a lot of kitchen devices are touted as “smart,” but these technologies are being developed just because we can. Do we really need a smart fork that tells you when you’re eating too fast or putting too much food on it? Does our toaster oven need to be controlled by our phone? Does my trash can lid have to scan the UPC code on the item I’m throwing away and automatically add it to my shopping list? Nope. These devices just make my life more complicated.
Recently while walking through the miles of technology at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, I found a lot of amazing technologies – but I also saw some that just didn’t hit home for me. Although most of these gadgets and devices will be the harbinger for more advanced and practical technologies one day, I’m going to stick with things that are clearly useful to me today.
All of that said, there are some very useful smart technologies that I do want as I create my connected kitchen. Here are a few that may not have made your list yet:
Meater+ Smart Thermometer
This smart thermometer can be inserted into and left in the item that you’re cooking on the BBQ or in the oven. Meater+ connects to your smart phone and sends alerts when your meat hits the right temperature. It has other features as well, but not having to run and check the temperature every few minutes is among my favorites.
If you’re not quite ready to buy a new smart fridge, but want one of its most valuable features, FridgeCam is a great option. FridgeCam takes a photo of the inside of your fridge every time you open the door. You can then access that photo on your phone. So when you’re stopping by the grocery store on your way home from work, you can quickly check the app to see if you need to pick up additional items.
Drop is a smart scale for the kitchen that has a companion app. The app helps you measure and mix in a single bowl based on the chosen recipe. It will even suggest alternative ingredients if you’re out of something. And let’s face it – who hasn’t realized they were out of a key ingredient in the middle of cooking?
Anova Precision Cooker
I was honestly skeptical of the sous vide method at first, but it’s definitely becoming more popular. The Anova Precision Cooker is a heating device that attaches to the side of your pot. You control the device using your smart phone and place the item you’re cooking in a plastic bag. Then, you place the plastic bag in the pot of water with the sous vide device and wait until your smartphone tells you the items are ready. The reviews on this devices are pretty awesome.
The Ember coffee cup is sitting next to me as I type up this post and is still keeping the coffee that I bought several hours ago warm. Ember mugs have been around for a bit, but I still love mine. I can program the temperature of the coffee or travel mug using my iPhone. The Ember device will then keep that temperature constant throughout the day. Tea, coffee and other warm drinks all taste better at different temperatures, so I can alter the temp based on the beverage. It’s one of my favorite connected devices.
But wait! There’s more!
Of course, all of these connected devices are in addition to the smart stoves, refrigerators and other large appliances that are popping up in homes all over the world. Everyone places a different value on the convenience of the these devices, but as the march toward a smarter connected kitchen moves forward, the devices are becoming more intuitive and easier to use each day. I’m excited to see what the tech world comes up with next!