What Makes a Kitchen Appliance Smart?

Connecting appliances to the internet allows basic control and monitoring, but truly smart products create additional value through enhanced user experience, intelligent algorithms, and valuable data insights.

As kitchen appliances continue to evolve, consumers are being offered a wide range of connected-only, as well as some truly smart appliances and applications. With the advent of cutting-edge kitchen technology, the distinction between appliances, applications, and platforms becomes blurred. The product that combines all three is a smart kitchen ecosystem. While individual connected appliances provide a certain level of convenience, a smart kitchen ecosystem excels in engaging with home cooks and addressing the everyday challenges they face in the kitchen.

Here, I aim to highlight the confusion surrounding the products and explain how "smart" unlocks the full value of kitchen appliances for brands and consumers.

Connected (only) Appliances vs Smart Ecosystems

While "smart" and "connected" are often used interchangeably, I would argue for a clear distinction between these terms. When referring to a "connected appliance," we typically mean a product connected to the internet which enables it to be monitored and controlled remotely by a dedicated app or service. This ability is only the foundation of the smart kitchen concept and often does not solve any real problems for consumers.

For example, when you issue commands like "Alexa, turn on the oven," the connected device responds and performs the desired action. It is referred to as "connected" because it can be controlled, but it is not considered "smart" because there is no value being offered in the transaction beyond simple remote control.

Smart products add additional layers of value for consumers and appliance brands compared to connected appliances. Smart product ecosystems possess intelligent features and capabilities, allowing them to respond to real-life situations and even anticipate the needs of their users. An example is Fresco Smart Recipes, which dynamically adjust to the user's needs, providing clear step-by-step cooking instructions and orchestrating the operation of multiple appliances across manufacturer ecosystems.

Smart products and ecosystems incorporate sensors, data, and software, which enable them to collect, analyze, and make decisions. Manufacturers can use this data to build dashboards that provide valuable insights and trends. This information can be used to better understand the needs and preferences of home cooks and how they actually use their appliances, and then guide the development of new experiences and products. The data can also help manufacturers establish personalized connections and relationships with consumers and increase the efficiency of their marketing activities.

How Smart technology unlocks the full value of kitchen appliances for brands and consumers

Smart technology revolutionizes how home-cooked meals are prepared, eliminating obstacles and ensuring delicious outcomes.  These innovative solutions empower both novice and experienced cooks alike, with novice cooks gaining confidence as they consistently produce exceptional results, while seasoned cooks are empowered to explore new techniques and cuisines. Additionally, real-time appliance monitoring and notifications provide peace of mind and save valuable time for other priorities.

By offering genuine value to home cooks, brands at the forefront of the smart kitchen market can increase appliance sales at higher price points. Furthermore, staying connected with customers throughout the entire lifecycle of their appliances fosters long-term engagement and loyalty, and enables brands to diagnose malfunctions, understand pain points and develop products that their customers truly love.

As brands consider investing in smart kitchen appliance technology, it's crucial to recognize its distinct advantages. Here are four key benefits that set smart products apart:

  1. Consumer-centric experiences: Solve the everyday challenges of home cooks and provide ongoing value. 
  2. Personalized connections: Establish direct links and ongoing relationships with customers and generate value throughout the lifecycle of their appliances.
  3. Data-driven insights: Gain vital information about how consumers use and enjoy appliances to guide marketing strategy and product development.
  4. Return on investment: Maximize the lifetime value of every appliance sold to drive long-term growth.

The real value for consumers and appliance brands lies in smart appliances which offer enhanced user experiences, intelligent algorithms, and valuable data insights.  While connected appliances allow for remote control, smart products and ecosystems surpass mere connectivity by anticipating user needs and orchestrating the operation of multiple appliances. Smart technology revolutionizes home-cooked meals, empowering cooks of all levels with consistent and exceptional results.

With the global demand for smart appliances expected to increase by 18.4% every year from 2022 to 2030, from USD 15.6 billion in 2022 to USD 60.2 billion by 2030, now is the time to invest in smart kitchen innovations.

Between making your appliances smart, building an app experience to control them, and curating high-quality recipe content, Fresco reduces the complexity of launching smart appliances by providing all of these solutions in one platform, KitchenOS.

To learn more about smart kitchen technology and its benefits, click the button below.

Tim Redfern
Tim Redfern
Written by
Tim Redfern
Co-founder + Head of Innovation