Smart Kitchen at CES: Whirlpool Unveils Smart Kitchen Suite (and more)

Smart Kitchen Summit is at CES, and we’ll be writing some posts during the week about some of the news and trends we’re seeing here around the connected kitchen.

One of the biggest pieces of early news is from Whirlpool, who came out big at CES with news of a new line of smart kitchen hardware, integration with Dash and Nest, as well as the unveiling of Whirlpool’s Interactive Kitchen of the Future, a virtual reality experience that is one part booth demo but also an online experience that will allow folks to get an idea of where Whirlpool thinks the connected kitchen is doing.

The Smart Kitchen Suite is the biggest news from a product perspective, as the company announced three new connected kitchen appliances: A refrigerator, dishwasher and range. Alongside these new appliances is their new Smart Kitchen suite app, which is where you’ll be able to manage and track info from their new integrations with Dash and Nest.

Whirlpool’s integration of Dash Replenishment isn’t all that surprising given that Whirlpool was one of the early partners when Amazon announced Dash Replenishment last year, but they’re one of the first big white good appliance makers to launch actual products. All three of the new connected kitchen products will be integrated with Dash, which means, for example, the company’s new connected dishwasher will track washing cycles and estimate when a consumer needs to reorder, and if the consumer syncs the dishwasher with their Amazon account, it can auto order.   Autoreplenishment with the refrigerator is a bit fuzzier, in my view, as it’s not clear year if the device will be able to accurately track consumption of food products within the fridge. We’ll hopefully have more info on that after talking to Whlrlpool when the show opens tomorrow.

The other big integration is Nest, which will enable alerting through the Smart Kitchen Suite app and will let you know, for example, if you’ve left the home with the oven on.  Quite understandably, there are some strict limitations around what you can do with a device like a smart oven remotely (such as turn it on), given safety concerns. UL and other safety compliance organizations have been developing rules for this for some time, but I expect feature sets to remain somewhat limited around cooking appliances with regards to remote connectivity. Still, integrating your smart kitchen suite with Nest could unlock some interesting potential use-case scenarios. 

By their early showing at CES, you can see how Whirlpool is attempting to take a leadership position in the smart kitchen space, not only through partnerships and early products, but through their efforts at conceptualizing the future kitchen. Take a look at their future kitchen concept online. Lots of interesting potential technology in there. In a way, it reminds me of what IKEA is trying to do with their concept kitchen. No doubt, 2016 will be an interesting year as some of the bigger players in the space try to establish themselves as companies that can help define this early market.