What are Smart Kitchen Appliances?
Last Updated Aug 30, 2012 · Written by Rob Schneider
What are smart kitchen appliances? You may think you have the answer, but today's smart kitchen appliances are a lot smarter even than they were when the term was coined just a few years ago. Back then, a "smart" kitchen appliance had a few electronic controls and maybe even a sensor. Some of today's smart kitchen appliances are as so advanced, you can even have a 2 way "conversation" with them from your mobile device.
The Evolution of Smart Kitchen Appliances
Smart kitchen appliances, like laptop computers, started off as a result of improvements in microchip technology. As it became possible to put greater amounts of information on smaller chips, it followed that computer technology could be applied to smaller devices. In the kitchen, the first hint of what technology had in store for us was electronic controls. Instead of just having time and temperature controls on your microwave, for instance, with a touch of a finger, you could select the type of food that you wanted to cook and its weight and the microwave would take over from there.
Although convenient, those early electronic controls were not really "smart." The user was still the "brains" behind the controls and had to tell the appliance what to do. In order to make appliances smarter, manufacturers started adding sensors. Dishwashers, for example, had soil sensors installed in them that could detect how dirty dishes were and automatically adjust their wash and rinse settings for optimum cleaning and energy efficiency. With sensors, kitchen appliances really became "smart."
Just as we are beginning to get used to kitchen appliances that can "think" for us, an even smarter range of appliances is being introduced. Either independently or as part of a home automation system
, these appliances know how to communicate at a distance. One example of this is an oven that sends you a text message when your meal is cooked. This can come in very handy when you would rather be outside playing with the kids or gardening than watching your food cook. There are now smart ovens on the market that can read the barcode on the products you buy. All you have to do is remove the wrapping and pop the food into the oven. The barcode tells the oven everything else it needs to know and it cooks your pizza (or whatever other food you're cooking) perfectly for you.
Choosing Smart Kitchen Appliances
Do you need an oven that can send you text messages? Do you want a fridge with a touch screen display of its contents and internet connectivity that turns your fridge into a home entertainment centre? While not all of us feel like we need the smartest of smart technology, we can all appreciate the energy saving features that are built in to many smart kitchen appliances. The smartest appliances are pre-programmed for greatest energy efficiency. Since up to 30% of household energy usage is in the kitchen, that can translate into big energy and money savings over time.
Definitely consider all the bells and whistles that come on smart appliances, but take a close look at their Energy Rating labels, too, and buy eco-friendly appliances
that are "smart" enough to know what's good for the environment. That's the smartest way to buy smart appliances.