Never before has food been so fashionable. It’s no longer just a necessity; we are paying a lot more attention to what we are eating, the ingredients we are using and how it all looks on the plate. You need only to go on Instagram and you’ll be inundated with budding chefs, foodies and fitness fans posting photos of their latest kitchen creations.
One thing that hasn’t changed though, is our busy lifestyles and finding the time to create these kitchen ‘masterpieces’ after a long day’s work. There are already numerous companies who aim to take the stress out of meal-prepping, such as Gusto or Hello Fresh, by delivering all your ingredients, portioned out, right to your door …but you still need to navigate the cooking process without burning anything.
So, what if there was something that could help us create our own fresh, home-cooked meals but with minimal effort? Well, perhaps the answer is in the recently formed partnership between Chefling and Bosch (and subsidiary Thermador). In autumn this year, the California start-up and home appliance giant announced their plan to bring Chefling’s artificial intelligence cooking app to Bosch smart appliances.
Chefling allows users to manage the food in their kitchen or ‘Pantry’ via the app; you can keep track of ingredients that are about to expire and add items to your shopping list simply by scanning a previous receipt. You can also ask for recipe suggestions based on what ingredients you currently have at home.
With Bosch bringing Chefling into their Home Connect ecosystem, users will be able to coordinate these shopping lists and recipes with multiple smart appliances. Once you have found a recipe you like, key items such as cooking time or defrosting temperature are automatically extracted from the recipe and organised in a list in the app, so you can start each step – like preheating the oven - by a single tap on your smartphone.
But it doesn’t stop there, once you have all your ingredients and appliances ready to go, the Chefling app also allows you to connect to Google Home or Amazon Echo to talk you through the recipe, step by step, as well as enabling you to add items to your next shopping list through voice commands. This all sounds great…if put into practice.
There is already a plethora of smart appliances available for the kitchen (from cocktail scales, to meat thermometers) each with their own bespoke app. However, the common issue, as we have seen from our previous studies, is that owners of smart devices aren’t fully utilising them. The standard on/off function is a novel idea to begin with but it’s unlikely to transform your home or lifestyle.
Perhaps the key differentiator of the new Bosch/Chefling partnership is that it links various devices – the smartphone app, the appliance, the voice assistant – and brings them together in one app to create one supposedly seamless experience. This kind of integration across devices and services could be key in making smart technology a success.
However, the key factor in all of this is the consumer; understanding their needs and behaviours and at exactly what points and in what way smart tech can support them. One way we help our clients do this is through digital ethnography tools to capture in the moment consumer experiences. Through short selfie videos, snapshots or diary entries, respondents can easily share pain points, delight moments or just general musings as they happen, allowing us to help our clients better understand their key consumers.
There is a lot of hype around the smart home at the moment, and many companies are rushing to offer their own smart products, with promises of transforming the home. However, this ‘transformation’ won’t happen on its own; by working to understand the everyday consumer experience, the smart home can be developed and expanded to help create seamless, easy to use solutions.
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