Does the internet of things have a place in the kitchen?

Nowadays, so much tech is just hype. It’s often difficult to decide if something is relevant or if it is just a fad. At this year’s CES, a lot of people were listing The Internet of Things alongside huge technology trends such as drones, robots and Virtual/Augmented Reality as a theme to expect in 2016. But what do people actually understand about The Internet of Things and the trend that could be to come?

Well it’s not often as people think – massively high-tech gadgets – but often a lot more close to home. Smart packaging is massively on the rise and the new trends in technology could stand to change everything we know about packaging as it is. Forget smart fridges, think smart milk bottles.

Absolut Vodka has recently partnered with Internet of Things agency SharpEnd to set up an innovation lab in Stockholm where they plan to bring in users to test eight new product concepts across their brands. One of these involves bottles being connected to third-party apps to play music, dim lights and even change the colour of the lights in a room as a way of enhancing the consumer experience.

But is this just a fad? Is it actually relevant? Or is it just a bit of fun?

Similar developments have been appearing from global drinks brand, Evian. They recently unveiled a fridge magnet that can connect to the internet. And it doesn’t end there – the fridge magnet can submit a home delivery order when you are running low on bottled water. Pretty cool, but also quite limited. Imagine, though, if this technology could be extended to a fridge magnet that can submit a home delivery order when you are running low on anything. Or a product packaging that could tell you the actual shelf life of your food so you know when it needs eating or re-ordering. Or a packaging that you could eat along with the contents to cut down on waste.

Kraft Foods (along with researchers at the University of Connecticut) are currently looking into some innovative technology that can “taste” food through sensors embedded in the packaging. If the food is spoiled or contaminated, the packaging will change colour, alerting the consumer whether it can still be cooked or if it needs to be thrown out. Very impressive stuff, but why not go a step further and incorporate how social the average consumer is? It’s no use to anyone to look in the fridge to find that the packaging on your steak has turned red – uh-oh, got to throw that away! Why not alert the consumer before it goes out of date so there is no food waste?

It seems that in this day and age with all the technological breakthroughs, that The Internet of Things could be much better applied to the products in your fridge than simply affecting the music in your kitchen as you have a vodka and coke or doing something that common sense can already be applied to. But, that said, these seem to be merely stepping stones to the final product. Maybe one day, we won’t even need a traditional supermarket, but a fridge magnet that alerts us when to cook food and re-stocks itself through online orders. Now that would be the life.

What do you think about The Internet of Things and it’s place in the kitchen? Is there any tech you’d like to see available in your fridge? Let us know in the comments.