Today's Q&A is with Kevin Brown, CEO of Innit. Kevin is participating in the panel, "The Kitchen OS: Bridging Islands in the Connected Kitchen". You can read more about Kevin here.
SKS: How is the Innit platform using data to disrupt the purchase, storage & cooking of the food in our kitchens?
Brown: A lot of technologies today are connecting things to things. You can connect your doorbell to your tea kettle, but it's not clear what problems that really solves. In contrast, Innit unlocks the information within food, and connects it to kitchen appliances to empower consumers. By digitizing the information within food itself, and making that information available throughout the cooking ritual, Innit can address challenges across all stages of the food lifecycle. By enabling your fridge to recognize and track inventory, we can reduce food waste, and provide inspiration for the stressful question of "what's for dinner?" Your kitchen can recognize your food and provide just-in-time how-to videos, providing confidence to try new dishes, much like GPS empowers driving. Finally, once a recipe is selected and prep is done, the platform can send a 15-step Michelin star recipe to your WiFi oven with a single click, enabling restaurant-quality results with just a few minutes of preparation. Once your kitchen can listen to food, everything changes.
SKS: Can you share an “ah-ha” moment for the Innit team as you were building the platform and how it contributed to where you are today?
Brown: We had to invent the first "self-cooking ovens" in 2013-14 because there was no hardware platform that could recognize food, collect detailed sensor data, and provide precise programming of heating elements. Using these prototype ovens, we were able to achieve amazing results that blew away some of the world's top chefs. The ah-ha moment for us was when we realized we could port these recipes to run on today's generation of WiFi-enabled ovens, and get nearly the same level of quality. We needed the advanced devices to generate machine-readable recipes, but we now had a way to deliver them to millions of kitchens in the near future.
SKS: How can the emerging connected kitchen industry avoid some of the challenges of the broader smart home space and its slow adoption?
Brown: A lot of IoT and smart home initiatives start with a technology, and search for a problem. Connecting devices to the Internet is a good first step, but it doesn't inherently deliver benefits. Opportunity starts with real-world consumer challenges, and orchestrating multiple devices to serve the consumer's needs. Innit spent three years in stealth mode developing technologies, but more importantly identifying innovative ways to solve existing consumer challenges with food.If we end up needing to launch six apps to prepare dinner with our various smart gadgets, that will be a fail. We envision a much different workflow, centered around consumers and the food itself, where the different stages are seamlessly orchestrated using the features of each device in the kitchen. Innit is working hard to build that "Food OS" in the kitchen that can unlock the best functionality within each appliance, while minimizing complexity for the user.
SKS: What’s the most exciting aspect of the convergence of kitchen and technology to you?
Brown: Every other part of our life has become digitized – music, movies, video, taxi cabs, hotels – with major jumps in value and convenience. Food has lagged behind in innovation, with major impacts to stress, economics, sustainability, and wellness. The Innit team is passionate about empowering people through food, and helping them eat and live better. We are excited to deliver technologies that can help millions of families get the most out of their food.
SKS: What’s your go to gadget or product in the kitchen that you can’t live without?
Brown: When cooking manually on the stovetop,my go-to device is my Lodge cast iron pan ($19.99). It delivers an incredible amount of searing power to lock in moisture and generate flavor, and it's very consistent on low heat over longer periods. There's no substitute for protons (26) and neutrons (30).
The Smart Kitchen Summit is next week! If you want to hear Kevin Brown and other leaders talk about the future of the kitchen, cooking and foodtech, get your ticket today!