What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. For some of the exhibitors eager to make their mark on the consumer tech world, this may well be true. For others, CES 2018 is an opportunity to launch new products that are guaranteed to make their way into consumers' homes. From televisions that can be rolled away to voice-activated toilets, the products on display ranged from the brilliant to the bizarre, but as always our focus remains firmly on the smart kitchen.
Read on to find out what the future holds for the connected kitchen.
Good news and bad news for LG
Source: LG Newsroom
If you visited CES 2018, one thing will be abundantly clear: voice is everywhere. Sadly for LG, whose voice assistant CLOi decided to take the day off during their presentation, it's not always a success. Apart from this minor blip, LG unveiled its new InstaView ThinQ smart refrigerator, which features a 29-inch touchscreen that is ideal for displaying recipes and managing your shopping list. Its in-fridge camera enables users to view the contents of their fridge remotely, while its screen will turn transparent when tapped. These are both nice features, but the most exciting aspect of the InstaView ThinQ smart refrigerator is that it can talk to Alexa-enabled smart ovens for a truly hands-free cooking experience. LG's EasyClean oven can also access recipe information via partnerships with SideChef and Innit.
Whirlpool is focusing on recipes
Whirlpool also sees the benefit of voice in the kitchen, unveiling a suite of Alexa and Google Assistant-enabled smart appliances at CES 2018. The big news from Whirlpool, however, is the launch of Yummly 2.0, an update to the Yummly app that can be used in conjunction with Whirlpool's range of smart appliances. Yummly touts itself as "the ideal source for recipes tailored to specific taste preferences and dietary needs", and it can also be used to schedule meals, add ingredients from their shoppable recipes to your grocery list, and find recipe inspiration using image recognition technology. Since Yummly 2.0 can also be used independent of smart appliances, it functions as the ideal introduction to the smart kitchen for those who are not quite ready to invest in connected appliances.
GE Appliances may be the smartest in the smart kitchen
Not to be outdone, GE Appliances unveiled one of the more clever connected kitchen ideas of CES 2018. As the importance of a screen in the kitchen becomes more and more apparent, GE's Kitchen Hub places a smart display right where home cooks need it - above the stove. The Kitchen Hub will enable cooks to view recipe information and videos without leaving the cooker unattended. It is Alexa and Google Assistant-enabled and functions as a hub for other smart appliances, whether they're manufactured by GE or not. The smart kitchen space is becoming more crowded by the day, and this all-in-one approach from GE makes sense for busy families who are tight on space and don't have the budget for a smart refrigerator.
Things are heating up in the smart display space
When Amazon launched the Echo Show, we said that it was a game-changer in the kitchen. Food is visual, and with recipe videos racking up billions of views every year, smart speakers alone are not going to cut it. Google is jumping on this trend in a big way, announcing partnerships with Lenovo, JBL, LG, and Sony to create Google Smart Displays. These are smart speakers with a screen rather than tablets, making them ideal for kitchen countertops. Of course, the biggest advantage Google has over Amazon when it comes to smart displays is that Google's versions support YouTube. Ongoing issues between Amazon and Google mean that YouTube has been pulled from the Echo Show. Since 'How to cook' searches consistently appear in YouTube's annual top ten 'How-to' search lists, and voice search set to account for 50% of all searches by 2020, Google is primed to take advantage of this change in how we find recipe inspiration.
Gourmia is taking on board what consumers truly need
Moving away from larger smart appliances, Gourmia debuted a number of Google Home enabled appliances, including the Gourmia GKM9000. This multicooker promises to do it all, but what we really love about it is its combination of 100 preloaded recipes and storage space for your own favourites. One of the biggest barriers to smart kitchen adoption is that consumers are often tied to new recipes that cannot compete with home cooks' tried and tested family favourites. This product combines smart speaker with smart cooking and it seems ideal for those with smaller kitchens who want to adopt the many benefits of smart appliances.
Appliance manufacturers are clearly keen to compete in the smart kitchen space, but above all, what CES 2018 confirmed to us is that 2018 is set to be the year of the recipe.