Q&A: Shawn Stover, VP SmartHome Solutions, GE Appliances

We sat down with Shawn Stover, the VP Of SmartHome Solutions at GE Appliances, one of our sponsors for SKS 2019. As a leader in the appliance market, we wanted to get Shawn’s take on appliance technology advancements and their place in the smart kitchen:

What are the unique challenges GE Appliances is tackling within the foodtech or smart kitchen space?

American's lives have grown increasingly busy and complex as they adopt new technology, in addition to the fact that both parents work in nearly 50% of U.S. households according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet, the demands and needs of their families have not changed. To meet this challenge, we have focused on innovations and features in the kitchen that simplify everyday chores and make cooking easier and more fun.

Who is GE Appliances?

GE Appliances has been a leader in smart appliances for over 10 years, developing thoughtful innovations and features that simplify our owner's lives and deliver greater ownership experiences. Smart Kitchen Summit is one of the most impactful events for our business to participate in because we can engage directly with entrepreneurs and start-ups that we want to partner with, while showcasing our own innovations. SKS is also a great forum for us to share our story with industry leaders, media, and potential customers.

Give us an “Ah-ha!” moment where you realized tech was disrupting your industry:

We knew that we were disrupting the kitchen when we started hearing the stories from our customers telling us how they are able to get dinner on the table faster because they can pre-heat their oven on the way home from soccer practice, or when a customer tells us they are legally blind and can now use their microwave because it is integrated with their voice assistant. These may seem like simple stories, but they are meaningful and impactful moments in our owner’s everyday lives.

What is GE Appliances doing differently? What are you disrupting, innovating, or inventing?

We are looking for ways to leverage data and sensors within our products to deliver greater automation and convenience. Also, by adding these new sensors and algorithms to our products, we can help our owners consolidate the countertop appliances they have in their kitchen because we can get our cooking appliances to do more. We have heard many times from our owners that they want less on their countertops, so we will continue to find ways to integrate more tech into our cooking products. A great example of this is our Air Fry capability in our new Wall Ovens.

What’s GE Appliances’s future vision for how foodtech will change the way we think about and interact with food?

We all have a different relationship and connection with food, but each of us has a goal for how food fits into our lives. Our vision is that kitchen technology will give us more control and flexibility, expand our culinary capabilities and blend experiences together making the act of cooking fun and exciting.

What are some of the challenges GE Appliances or others within your industry are facing?

There is so much innovation happening in the kitchen, but only a small segment of the population is adopting these technologies today. Some of it is driven by lack of awareness and some because the technology is just now catching up with consumer expectations. We are seeing an increase in adoption as we embed more of these technologies across a greater assortment of our products.

Is there anything else we should capture?

GE Appliances was name IoT Breakthrough's 2019 Smart Appliance company of the year.