As we have left the IFA behind in Berlin, one of the emerging IoT technologies was connected fridges and we have seen some amazing connected refrigerators like this one from LG. I wanted to share few thoughts with you on why I think it is an opportunity for consumers as well as the manufacturers.
17 million people in the US already own a smart appliance and the market is set to swell to $149 billion revenue globally by 2020 (*emarketer.com). However, the question of how to create actual value for both consumers and manufacturers still remains somewhat unclear.
More than a tablet
It has to be more than a tablet stuck to a fridge. There is little meaning to listening to your music or checking your social media from your fridge. For consumers, we need to consider what will actually solve a problem.
From the manufacturers perspective, we know that developing connectivity is complex. Maintaining it over time adds to this complexity. Furthermore, they cannot justify an increased price for a tablet added to a fridge. Only when actual value can be demonstrated, does a revenue opportunity emerge.
So we stand at these crossroads: Consumers want meaningful connected appliances. Manufacturers will tackle the complex development when the revenue opportunity emerges.
€630,563,600 wasted in households annually
The solution lies in food waste. In Ireland, each household wastes between €400 – €1,000 a year of food (*stopfoodwaste.ie). If you multiply that by the 1,576,409 households in the country, the minimum amount thrown away is €630,563,600. This isone country only. For a single household, it amounts to a mini-holiday. Regardless of whether you look at the micro or macro, this is a lot of money wasted.
The big reason why this is happening is not planning ahead and not knowing what is actually available in your fridge.
So let’s see how through connectivity we can tackle this waste.
Connecting refrigerators to pockets
Connectivity can help solve this problem and bring value to both the consumers and manufacturers of refrigerators.
Consider a simple solution: 2-3 cameras added to the fridge at different angles that take a picture every time the fridge closes. These images are sent to an app to the consumer’s smartphone. And, when they wonder in the supermarket whether they have milk at home, it’s a quick check to get the definitive answer. No more wastage.
It’s that simple
It’s really that simple. Connectivity can solve this little problem in life and bring value to both sides of the coin. That is, if manufacturers can solve the complexity around connectivity.
Developing for the Internet of Things is not straightforward. In fact, issues continue to come up where products can’t be updated or security is compromised. We believe these issues occur because internal development teams are new to the IoT and unaware of the complexity. This is why working with an experienced partner like Cesanta is the way forward. We have years of experience in connecting products to the Internet in a simple, secure and scalable manner.
Would love to hear your thoughts on smart fridges - would you buy one?