14 Predictions For The Future Of Smart Home Technology

Successful CIOs, CTOs & executives from Forbes Technology Council offer firsthand insights on smart home technology & business.

A decade ago, the idea of controlling your home’s thermostat, lights and security systems remotely via smartphone would have seemed like futuristic science fiction. But 2017 proved to be the year of the smart home. Technology in this market continues to grow leaps and bounds, and Zion Market Research predicts it will reach $53.45 billion by 2022.

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2018 holds even more promise for the smart home industry, as devices like Google Home, Alexa and Amazon Echo become more commonplace and artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated. We asked 14 members of Forbes Technology Council what they think consumers can expect in the coming year.

1. The Next Security And Privacy Crisis

We have shared our digital footprint for convenience. With smart home technology, we are sharing our physical footprint. It is not a matter of if but when these systems will be compromised, and the consequences could be much more severe than lost social security numbers. Addressing security and privacy will become a fundamental concern that will shape this industry. – Dimitri StiliadisAporeto

2. Integration Of Smart Home Devices

Integration will make or break smart home technology. Navigating goofy AI misunderstandings for 12 appliances and the front door is not the way of the future. But can smart homes make sure you remembered to turn off all the lights? Lock up? De-activate alarms upon recognizing your face? I believe we will see more integration that supports homeowners in 2018. – Arnie Gordon, Arlyn Scales

3. A Greater Role For Artificial Intelligence

I’m wrapping up repairs and renovations on an investment property, and we opted to install a bunch of Nest and Ring products to better secure our investment. The video surveillance is great, but I can see AI being used to automate threat detection and maybe more proactively alert us if something goes awry. This would revolutionize the human aspect of remote video monitoring. – Tim MaliyilAlertBoot

4. A Focus On Surveillance And Appliances

Homeowners will like the idea of more cool ways to control their homes. Surveillance has become more necessary to combat crime, as more people work from home and want to protect their physical and intellectual property. Appliances also could be a focus since people would like their appliances to take on more of the workload. – Chalmers BrownDue

5. New Smart Home Use Cases

In 2017, the majority of applications revolved around security and thermostats, and the devices did not interoperate. In 2018, smart home device makers will take a platform approach, and the devices will interoperate and new use cases will emerge such as appliance diagnostics, energy conservation and the prevention of major damages during natural disasters. – Naresh SoniTsunami ARVR

6. Homeowner Data Sharing

Sharing the data of homeowners with businesses will probably be the next big thing in smart home technology. Having your fridge order the food you need or setting the lights and preferred temperature for your arrival is what is coming soon. The data that you share with the smart devices will be of great interest to the companies that build such products. – Ivailo NikolovSiteGround

7. Increased Efficiency, Control And Customization

AI is set to disrupt the home. Technology will become much more efficient, and we will be able to control everything from appliances to radio volume to security from one central place. As a matter of fact, as AI develops, we eventually won’t need to manually control anything, as these devices will automatically adjust to our preferences. – Arthur PerelessPereless Systems

8. Customer Service As A Differentiator

With more and more smart home devices entering the market, there is an opportunity for forward-thinking companies to use customer service as a differentiator. An IoT environment can present a number of challenges for consumers ranging from basic troubleshooting to privacy concerns. Companies that are innovative and knowledgeable about delivering customer service excellence will stand out. – Michael RingmanTELUS International

9. More Security Concerns

We’ll see a proliferation of integrated platform solutions from big players in tech. Amazon will offer in-home food delivery straight to your fridge, leveraging its smart home platform. However, security will be a concern; a customer’s home could be robbed by a contractor. I also see a future where passwords are leaked or homes get hacked, and that’s something the big players need to plan for. – Neha SampatBuilt.io

10. Higher Cross-Compatibility Standards

I’m hoping for some real progress on standards. The smart home market has huge potential, but it’s still too fragmented. Consumers shouldn’t have to think about whether they want to invest in Nest, Amazon’s Echo line or products that support Apple’s Homekit. In 2018, I expect to see greater cross-compatibility and less focus on platform lock-in. – Vik PatelNexcess

11. Smart Kitchen Gadgets

I think we’re going to see more and more smart kitchen gadgets come on the market, such as rice cookers that are connected to Alexa, smart crockpots and integrated apps. We’ll be able to ask Alexa how much time is left on the device or control them from our smartphones at work. – Thomas GriffinOptinMonster

12. Smart Spaces Outside Of The Home 

Naturally, smart home tech will continue to become more accessible and inexpensive to the mainstream. As consumers become accustomed to the conveniences that come with smart tech, they will begin to seek out these efficiencies outside of the home. Next year, we’re likely to see an uptick in commercial smart building tech, particularly in offices seeking to adapt to more mobile workplace trends. – Arie BarendrechtWiredScore

13. The Replacement Of ‘Test Phase’ Products With Better Alternatives

As more technology and innovations are brought to the market, automation will make the home experience simpler and more pleasant. Next year will see an increase in the gadgets released in the IoT sphere. However, as this technology is relatively new, the testing phase will see the cleaning out of multiple products that are replaced by better alternatives. – Alexandro PandoXyrupt

14. Increased Voice Control Integration

Home technologies will integrate into so much more of our daily lives. Voice control of technologies that are included in your phone, TV, home audio and even car dashboard will be commonplace by the end of 2018. Voice is going to be the breakthrough advancement that really allows these technologies to become ubiquitous. – Tyler ShieldsSignal Sciences

11 smart home devices you didn’t know existed

With connected appliances, the dream of controlling every single aspect of our homes with a virtual butler is fast becoming reality.

Aside from the usual suspects – smart TVs, smart bulbs, smart speakers, smart thermostats, smart door locks, etc., did you know that there’s a whole army of smart appliances out there, waiting to go “Maximum Overdrive” in your home?

Turning your house into a smart home is exciting but be careful! Listen to my Komando On Demand podcast to learn how to watch for the warning signs so technology doesn’t take over your home.

You’ll be surprised by how many appliances are getting “smartified” nowadays. They may be wacky, weird or unnecessary, but some actually do make sense.

Here are 11 smart home devices that you didn’t know existed (but you’ll be glad that they do.)

1. Smart Toilet

Do your business in style with this smart toilet! The Numi from Kohler is a whirlpool of technology and it’s flushed with comforts you didn’t even know you needed. It has a motion-activated cover and heated seat, a retractable multi-function bidet, an air dryer and deodorizer, a foot warmer, fancy lights and Bluetooth speakers!

For ultimate toilet control, you even get a dockable touch-screen remote so you can totally flush it from afar. The price tag for this ridiculously lavish lavatory? Around $6,500.

2. Smart Pet Food Dispenser

Our pets are part of the family and they need not miss out on the smart appliance revolution. The PetSafe high-tech pet feeder will make them feel right at (smart) home.

This Wi-Fi connected pet feeder can be controlled with its own iPhone and Android app so you can feed your furry companion from anywhere. You can set meal schedules and slow dispense times to prevent bloating and vomiting. It will even notify you when your pet’s food has been dispensed.

The PetSafe Smart Feed is $179 but that sounds reasonable for your peace of mind, don’t you think?

PetSafe Smart Feed Automatic Dog and Cat Feeder, Smartphone, 24-Cups, Wi-Fi Enabled App for iPhone and…

By Water & Feed

$179.95$199.99

Rated 4 out of 5 by 168 reviewers on Amazon.com

3. Smart Bed

Having a perfect night’s sleep is vital to overall health and people have been using smart wearables like Fitbit to track nightly sleeping patterns. But what if your bed does that itself?

Sleep Number’s 360 smart mattresses can track your nightly sleeping patterns, make adjustments to their firmness and can even adjust their temperatures.

It’s not going to be cheap to make your bed smarter. These smart beds start at around $3,200.

4. Smart Egg Tray

Now here’s a smart product that you don’t think you’d need but it actually makes sense, in theory.

The Quirky Egg Minder is a smart egg tray that will tell you how many eggs you have at home and when it’s time to throw them away. LED lights on the tray will tell you which one is the oldest egg and, with its smartphone app, will alert you if you’re running low.

Ever been to the grocery store wondering how many eggs you have left at home? Well, with Quirky Egg Minder, you can just check remotely with your smartphone!

This eggs-ellent (sorry) idea can be yours for as low as $14 right now. Not a bad price to shell out (sorry, again) for if you’re looking for extra kitchen smarts.

Quirky Egg Minder Wink App Enabled Smart Egg Tray, PEGGM-WH01

By Quirky

$10.99

Rated 2.5 out of 5 by 517 reviewers on Amazon.com

5. Smart Toothbrush

If you think brushing your teeth optimally is hard enough then you deserve this $180 smart toothbrush from Oral-B.

The Oral-B Genius Pro 8000 smart toothbrush connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and uses facial recognition to track where you’ve brushed so you don’t miss a spot.

The app will also provide real-time visual coaching on brushing time and pressure. It is so smart, pressure sensors will even automatically slow down its brush speed to protect you from excessive brushing. It’s like having a dentist in your bathroom!

6. Smart Fork

Let’s face it, the smart toothbrush will go great with a smart fork because, you know, we need all the tech help we can get for life’s basic necessities.

If the smart toothbrush can alert you if you’re brushing too hard, this smart fork will warn you if you’re eating too fast.

The logic behind the HapiFork is sound – if you want to eat healthier, you need to slow down your eating pace. And this uber-utensil can help you do it how? By buzzing when you’re biting more than you can chew.

It connects via Bluetooth to your smartphone and with an app, you can see your eating statistics unfold in front of you in real-time. You can then upload this data to Hapi.com and have everyone judge your table manners.

HAPILABS 100 HAPIfork Bluetooth-Enabled Smart Fork (White)

By HAPILABS INC.

$62.95

Rated 2.5 out of 5 by 4 reviewers on Amazon.com

7. Smart Frying Pan

Why would anyone buy a $229 smart frying pan? Well, because they can!

The SmartyPans frying pan is an interactive frying pan that has built-in sensors that track the weight of the ingredients as you drop them on the pan.

It also has built-in temperature sensors that ensure you have the perfect level of heat each time you cook the eggs you got from your smart egg tray.

With the SmartyPans app, you can follow step-by-step cooking instructions, create and share your own step-by-step recipes and even track the nutritional value of what you’re cooking. Who wouldn’t want that for $229?

8. Smart Toaster

Do you quietly judge your old traditional bread toaster and think that it’s so dumb it can’t even make perfect toast every time?

Now, you can toss that old clunker out and get the Breville Die-Cast 2-Slice Smart Toaster instead.

With its 1-touch automation, the Breville smart toaster will lower your bread automatically with delicate care, regulate the toasting time and a fancy LED panel will inform you about the current toasting cycle.

For extra entertainment, with its Lift and Look function, you can also check your toast while it’s cooking without interrupting the toasting cycle.

Breville BTA820XL Die-Cast 2-Slice Smart Toaster, 1.2-Inch Wide x 5.2-Inch Deep

By Breville (Feb 29, 2008)

$125.95$129.95

Rated 4 out of 5 by 823 reviewers on Amazon.com

9. Smart Water Pitcher

Have you ever sat at your family dinner table thinking “Honey, our water pitcher needs to get smarter fast”?

Well, say no more, Brita’s Smart Pitcher to the rescue! Nothing incredibly fancy but this Wi-Fi enabled pitcher will track and order its own replacement filters from Amazon.

How about that? A pitcher that buys its own accessories and charges them on your credit card. The robot takeover is slowly happening people.

Brita Medium 8 Cup Infinity Smart Water Pitcher and Filter – BPA Free – Black

By Brita

$43.99

Rated 2.5 out of 5 by 82 reviewers on Amazon.com

10. Smart Floss

Cultivating healthy flossing habits is challenging. It’s just too much work, right? And getting the perfect length of floss each time is so difficult, humanity definitely needs this smart dispenser.

Flosstime is an automated floss dispenser that delivers the perfect amount of floss with a single touch. It will also frown at you if you neglect to floss your teeth (judge-y appliances seem to be a recurring theme here).

You can attach it to your bathroom mirror and have your whole family join in the flossing fun. Flosstime can be yours for $26.

11. Smart Wine Dispenser

To cap this off, why not have a glass of wine from this smart wine dispenser?

The Kuvée Connect and the Kuvée Key are Wi-Fi connected wine dispensers that will always pour the perfect glass from a FreshPour enabled wine bottle each time.

And with the Connect, you can even rate, favorite, view and buy refill wine bottles on its built-in LCD touchscreen! I bet other wine bottles can’t do that.

The Smart Kitchen: The Next Big Hope for the Internet of Things

By Jennifer Tuohy

The Internet of Things is a boon for businesses striving to be more sustainable, but at-home IOT is exhibiting worrying signs of stalling. Industry analyst Jan Dawson summed up many people’s concerns when he said the smart home market seems perennially stuck in the early-adopter phase.

He noted some exceptions, and most of them (such as the Nest Learning Thermostat) carry a clear promise of return on a user’s investment. Here, Dawson pinpoints a major issue with the smart home — marketing.

The smart home is being marketed at homeowners as the home of the future, packed with cool gadgets and neighbor-wowing conveniences. While this is true, it’s clearly not convincing anyone other than early adopters to cough up their hard-earned cash. People see connected gadgets as a luxury, because that’s how they’re being sold.

In reality, many facets of the smart home are a necessity for both consumers and the environment, because they save money, largely through reducing energy use and waste. Manufacturers need to start pushing this promise over the lifestyle one.

Why do we need a smart home?

“The key drivers in smart home adoption are home security, energy efficiency, entertainment, convenience/productivity, connectivity and health monitoring,” wroteglobal retail analyst Deborah Weinswig. This is born out in the success of Nest. Over 3 million people bought the Nest because they were offered a clear ROI on their purchase—not just because they could adjust the temperature of their home remotely. The device promised to use its smarts to reduce energy use, save money and pay for itself within two years.

Here is where the real value of the smart home lies for the consumer. It gives you information about your home and ultimate control over your home through applications, then runs it for you according to your parameters, thereby reducing waste and saving you time and money.

What is the largest producer of waste and second largest user of energy in the home? The kitchen. I’ve written before about why I believe the smart kitchen is the next big thing for the smart home, the residential arm of IOT. If manufacturers can figure out a way to make smart products in the kitchen that reduce waste and energy use and increase convenience, then we will have a win for the planet, the consumer and business.

Can a sentient smart kitchen reduce waste?

“The smart kitchen segment of the household appliance market holds enormous potential, as the kitchen is one area of the house that often has more devices than any other. Also, many people wish to cut down time spent cooking and preparing food, which is why they buy all those devices in the first place,” Weinswig wrote in The Connected Home Series published by the Fung Business Intelligence Center.

The truly smart kitchen is still some ways off, in part because with so many disparate manufacturers in the space, interoperability will be a problem. Currently, Samsung is leading the way with its interconnected products as well as its acquisition of Smart Things, a popular consumer smart home hub. However, a device that comes along and connects all the elements of the kitchen would be a huge success.

Amazon’s Echo has given us a taste of this. The device has become an integral part of smart (and many non-smart) kitchens. It provides a hands-free way to set timers, find out how many cups are in a gallon and activate connected devices with just a spoken sentence. The Echo is already an indicator that there is a need for a unifying device in the kitchen.

With its advanced AI capabilities, Google Home, coming later this year, looks set to bring much to the kitchen that Echo is lacking and could provide that missing linchpin.

Communication is key

If appliance manufacturers aren’t going to play nicely with each other, hopefully they will all play nicely with an AI device. The smart kitchen won’t flourish until all its disparate parts—the pantry, the fridge, the oven, the microwave—can communicate with each other.

When the refrigerator and the pantry knows what’s inside (courtesy of cameras and RFID tags, not by the user inputting its contents through an app), and can communicate that to an AI device that is aware of the local weather, knows the dietary restrictions of the household and has access to recipes, it can serve up dinner ideas from the food already on hand.

In fact, a smart bot that can do all this is already in development. The Mozilla Foundation is working on a smart kitchen bot that will help you decide what to make for dinner. The project, part of the Mozilla connected devices project, launched in June 2016 and could ultimately do all of the above and much more.

The larger goal of the project is to help reduce food waste by helping families better plan meals. According to the project’s Wiki, “By building the SmartKitchen service that provides meal options based on existing food inventory, we will provide more options for meals and therefore make it easier for people to have more family dinners.”

This type of AI help families plan their meals and prepare healthier school lunches, and it alerts them when they’re low on an ingredient or when a product is about to expire. It also monitors food consumption, so that over time it can help determine healthy eater patterns. This will allow families to effortlessly reduce food waste, eat healthier and manage their food budgets more efficiently.

How can we sell the smart kitchen?

What’s missing right now? A fridge to work with this technology. There are plenty of weird and wonderful connected gadgets for the kitchen – an egg minder that tells you when your eggs are going to expire and how many you have was a hugely popular product, illustrating a demand for this type of functionality. But as of today, the fridge of the future hasn’t arrived. Samsung’s new Family Hub is a big step in the right direction, and with a few iterations and a few significant price drops, we will be close to perfecting the connected kitchen appliance.

But when the industry gets there, let’s not try and wow the consumer with the appeal of touch screen tablets built into the door. Instead, let’s focus on invisible connected tech that communicates with the kitchen as a whole. This will bring us to a place where, by purchasing a $3,000 refrigerator, families could realistically expect their grocery bills to be reduced by 30 percent.

If Nest can sell millions of smart thermostats based on the fact that it can save you $250 over two years, imagine what the prospect of savings of $2,300 to $4,500* a year could do for sale of the smart kitchen.

* Based on a savings of 30 percent annually of the average family of four’s spending of $146-$289 per week on groceries.

Family Meal Planning 101. Great tips that will help your family save time, money, and eat healthy.

Source: Fix.com Blog  By: Abby Quillen

Wandering the grocery store aimlessly can cost you. Consumers spend 40 percent more on impulse purchases when they shop without a list, according to Kansas State Extension Service.1 And far too much of that food is probably wasted. The average American family throws out 25 percent of the food they purchase. For a family of four, that means tossing somewhere between $1,365 and $2,275 every year.2

There’s a solution: meal planning! By planning meals, a family can cut their grocery bill by hundreds of dollars a month and nearly eliminate food waste. Planning meals has other benefits too, including:

  • Happier Cooking: Meal planning helps eliminate the frustration of staring into an empty refrigerator or racing down shopping aisles at the end of a long day. And you will probably have much more energy and enthusiasm for cooking.
  • Healthier Diet: Planning ahead makes cooking healthy dinners from scratch much easier. Things you may have never done before – soaking and cooking dried beans, making bread or pizza dough, or simmering soup in a slow cooker – aren’t that hard when you plan in advance.
  • More Domestic Harmony: Most families don’t share the same tastes. Some family members may like the same predictable meals week after week; others prefer to mix it up. One person may love pot roast while a child may prefer plain noodles. Planning meals as a family lets everyone have a say in the decision-making. Studies suggest kids who help cook meals are better eaters.3 Getting them involved with the planning process may further diminish mealtime battles.4
  • More Eating In: Meal planning helps reduce impromptu trips to restaurants and fast food spots, where families spend more money and eat more calories, fat, saturated fat, and sodium than they do when preparing food at home.56 Families can save dining out for special occasions, rather than tack it on the end of a frenzied day.
  • More Family Dinners: Perhaps most importantly, planning meals encourages families to eat together around the dinner table, a ritual shown to keep families healthier and happier.7
Family Meal Benefits

Meal Planning Made Simple

If you’re new to menu planning, start by planning one week of meals on a day when everyone’s home and you have time to go shopping. Later, you may want to transition to monthly planning to better take advantage of buying in bulk.8 For the first few meal plans, it’s usually easiest to use pen and paper. Later, you can explore fancier ways to plan if desired.

Gather a few things before you get started:

  • A pen
  • Two blank sheets of paper
  • The weekly sale flyer from the grocery store (usually available in the Sunday newspaper or online)
  • Coupons (if you clip them)
  • Favorite cookbooks or recipes
  • List of vegetables ripe in the home garden or abundant at the farmers’ market (optional)

Limit the Options

When staring at a blank piece of paper and a pile of cookbooks, the options seem endless, and that’s not a good thing. Research suggests people have trouble taking action when there are too many choices.9 To make picking meals easier and to narrow down options, try one or more of these tactics:

1. Different Days for Different Types of Meals

This method is popular, because it reduces options while leaving room for variety. Here’s an example:

  • Monday: Soup
  • Tuesday: Baked potatoes with toppings
  • Wednesday: Pasta
  • Thursday: Pizza and salad
  • Friday: Beans and rice
  • Saturday: Mexican
  • Sunday: Stir fry

This format provides a helpful guideline for planning without stifling creativity. You can swap categories or ditch the whole thing when desired.

2. 20 Core Meals

As a family, brainstorm 20 meals you eat often and everyone enjoys. These will be the core meals that usually populate your meal plan. Choose one or two nights a week, perhaps weekends, to experiment with new recipes. Add any favorite new recipes to your list of core meals.

3. Consecutive Meals with the Same Ingredient

Brainstorm ways to use one ingredient for several meals. This method saves cooking time and helps cut food waste. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Use One Ingredient For Several Meals

4. Two Meals in One

Save money and time by planning dinners that double as lunches for school, the office, or at home the next day. This practice works especially well with beans, burritos, soup, and other foods that freeze well.

5. Meals from Sales or Seasonal Offerings

Study the supermarket ads to see what’s on sale, or find out what’s fresh at the farmers’ market, then incorporate those foods into the menu. Google is an ally for discovering recipes combining a handful of ingredients. Just type in the ingredients followed by “recipe,” and see what comes up. Using sales flyers or seasonal offerings helps limit the paralysis of too many options, saves money, and encourages sourcing food locally.

Eat Colorful Foods For More Nutrients

Plan the Week’s Meals

Once you’ve decided on a method to make meal planning easier, it’s time to plan the specific meals for the coming week. Here’s the simplest way to do it with pen and paper:

  • Make a grid with columns for the days of the week and enough rows for the meals you need to plan for – breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Fill in the first meal. Note where you found the recipe, so you don’t have to search through cookbooks or hunt the Internet for it when it’s time to cook.
  • On the other blank piece of paper, list the ingredients you need from the store for the meal, leaving off what’s already in the fridge or pantry. This is your grocery list. Divide this list by where things are located in the store if it makes shopping easier.
  • Repeat until you’ve planned every meal.
  • Post the menu on the bulletin board, on the refrigerator, or in a common area, so everyone knows what’s for dinner.
  • Take the list and go shopping.
Learn Proper Portion Sizes

Advanced Meal Planning

Once you get the hang of meal planning, you may want to investigate more efficient ways to do it. Here are a few methods that may work well for tech-savvy people:

  • Make an Excel spreadsheet for meal planning. Download a free template or design your own.10
  • Use Evernote (a free organization program) to keep track of menus and recipes.11
  • Join Pinterest to store recipes and menu planning ideas.
  • Purchase web-based software or an app specifically designed for menu planning. Many companies offer a free trial.12

Mealtime is powerful. Family therapist Anne Fishel writes that she often wants to tell families to go home and eat dinner together rather than spend an hour with her.13 Cooking at home and gathering around the table with family or friends provides countless benefits, and it doesn’t have to be stressful. With a good meal-planning system, it may even become everyone’s favorite part of the day.

What’s Cooking in the Smart Kitchen?

By Jennifer Tuohy, Contributor, Feb 26, 2016

Smart kitchen technology is innovating the way we cook.
The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where we feed our family and friends, and where many of us spend the majority of our time. Clearly, there’s a lot of potential here for new and amazing innovations. With all the recent excitement around smart home technology, what we food-lovers really want to know is: How can home automation make our favorite room in the house better?
10 Smart Kitchen Appliances That Will Change The Way You Cook
The kitchen has been the slowest room in the house to develop any serious connected cachet. Why is this? Maybe because the premise of the smart home, bringing technology to everyday mundane tasks to make them easier, is already met in ourkitchens. From bread machines to refrigerators, our kitchen is arguably the most high-tech room in the home. Simply connecting a kitchen device to the Internet doesn’t immediately improve its usefulness. A fridge that tweets wouldn’t work for me, but a fridge that can tell me what’s in it and what I can make from those ingredients? That’s something worth upgrading for.Essentially, you want to look for devices that provide a significant benefit that doesn’t already exist in your kitchen. Here are some of the smart kitchen products currently on the market, as well as a peek into the future at a few exciting devices that could make their way into our kitchens over the next few years.

Extra Control

Extra Control

Courtesy of Jennifer Tuohy

Connected ovens, like this one from GE, can be switched on and off remotely and “talk” to other parts of your smart home.

The first wave of smart kitchen appliances that hit the market was primarily focused on giving you remote control of your appliances. For example, you can buy a Wi-Fi-enabled oven that you can preheat from your phone while you’re on your way home from work, saving a good 20 minutes of your meal prepping time. You can also pick up a Wi-Fi-controlled crockpot or coffee maker. Belkin’s Mr. Coffee WeMo model lets you program your coffee-making schedule through its smartphone app, which is ideal if you have a variable workweek. You can even eliminate the hassle of scheduling entirely and pair your coffee maker with a WeMo Motion Switch so that it starts brewing the second you hop out of bed.Added Convenience
A step up from the simple remote control feature is integration. Take GE Appliance’s Chef Connect technology, built into some of its Profile and Cafe lines. You can use the oven’s Wi-Fi capability to set up If This Then That recipes that work with other elements of your smart home. For example, you can have the oven shut off automatically when you leave the house, or have your Philips Hue light bulbs flash when your dinner is done.

Additionally, the Bluetooth technology built into these appliances lets them communicate with each other to sync the clocks on the range and microwave, turn on the lights beneath the over-the-range microwave when you turn on a burner, and start the microwave’s vent fan when the stovetop is also on.

Risk Reduction

Risk Reduction

Courtesy of Jennifer Tuohy

The iGrill takes the guesswork out of cooking.

The kitchen has ample potential for disaster. From food poisoning to fires, there’s a lot that can go wrong. Remote control technology is a lifesaver in that respect. Checking in on your oven from your smartphone could save you a trip home if you think you forgot to shut it off. Smart smoke alarms, such as the Nest Protect, can help cut down on false alarms when you burn the toast, but also alert you via smartphone if it senses a true emergency. The Nest Protect can even tell you what room the danger is in, and if it’s carbon monoxide or fire that’s the problem. You can then use your app to turn off all your connected appliances and shut down your heating system if you have a Wi-Fi-controlled thermostat, potentially stopping the spread of the danger.Smart technology can also increase food safety. The trusty meat thermometer has received a Bluetooth upgrade in the form of the iGrill. Place its Bluetooth-connected probe in your food, either on the grill, in the oven or in a pan and be alerted via smartphone when the food has reached the perfect temperature. There’s no need to hover over your meat while it’s cooking or worry that it’s not done enough before you bring it to the table.

Improved Expertise
Many serious foodies are interested in how the smart kitchen can teach us new tricks and turn us into better cooks. Whether you are a newbie or an old hat, there are a lot of smart devices that can help improve your skills. The Pantelligent is a Bluetooth-enabled frying pan that guides you through cooking your dishes, telling you to lower or raise the temp at the perfect time for optimum outcomes. There’s also Pure Imagination’s Perfect Bake system, complete with a scale, mixing bowls and a smartphone app that connect to walk you step-by-step through the baking process.

For the more adventurous, the PicoBrew Zymatic is to the would-be homebrewer what the bread machine was to the would-be home baker. The machine connects to the Internet to download recipes and pre-programs itself to the recipe you select, taking a lot of the guesswork (though not all of the grunt work) out of brewing beer.

Have you read about the sous vide method, but aren’t prepared to spend a few thousand dollars on a piece of equipment reserved for the kitchens of Michelin-starred restaurants? The Anova Culinary Precision Cooker is the smart gadget you’ve been looking for. This stick-like device works with your smartphone, a plastic bag, and a pot of water to bring you perfectly cooked meats, vegetables, and eggs.

The Future of the Smart Kitchen
This past January, the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) provided us with a sneak peek into what’s coming to the smart kitchen. Whirlpool showed off its new Smart Kitchen Suite with the CareSync system, due at the end of 2016. The system includes the Smart Front Control Range, Smart Dishwasher and Smart French Door Refrigerator. All the appliances integrate with Whirlpool’s smartphone app, as well as with other smart home devices. For example, the Smart Front Control Range will send you an alert if it is still on when your Nest Thermostat senses the home is empty. The Smart Dishwasher can even order its own detergent when it senses you’re running low.

The Future of the Smart Kitchen

Courtesy of Jennifer Tuohy

The Samsung Family Hub takes you inside the fridge virtually and acts as an entire smart home hub if you have its compatible SmartThings ecosystem.

Samsung showed off its new smart fridge at CES, too, with first-of-its-kind interior cameras and a huge tablet screen. The Family Hub’s cameras let you check its contents via your smartphone, ideal when you’re out shopping and can’t remember how much milk you have left. Samsung also promises the fridge will soon be able to tell you when you need to buy certain foods and even let you order groceries right from its screen.Speaking of cameras, have you ever wanted to watch your lasagna as it browns, but not keep jumping up from the couch every five minutes to do so? The June Intelligent Oven hopes to be the answer to your prayers. Not only will it let you look inside from all angles while your food cooks, but it can also use its camera to detect what food you are cooking and suggest cook times and recipes, all of which you can control and monitor from your smartphone. June hopes to release its first models to consumers in Spring 2016.

Conclusion
The promise of the smart kitchen is one that will make cooking easier and better. Appliances that are not only connected to the Internet, but to each other, and can “think” for themselves to help us produce better food — that’s the promise of a truly connected kitchen. And while the smart kitchen is still in its infancy, there are a lot of exciting products already available and promising ones coming down the pipeline that are enough to get any chef’s mouth watering.

Jennifer Tuohy is a smart home enthusiast who writes about home automation and technology. She provides great tips on how you can use smart home tech both inside and outside of the kitchen. To see a wide selection of Home Depot’s smart home products, click here.