Sophie Buckle studied Computing Science (with Human-Computer Interaction) and Psychology, she is passionate about human centred design, always thinking about users and their experiences coming first. At hedgehog lab she conducts research as a UX design researcher.
The desire for smart kitchens is evident, as has been confirmed by our survey in which 92 percent of respondents said they were keen to know and understand new smart kitchen features. In fact, it appears people are becoming ever more fascinated by the whole ecosystem of connected kitchens.
Technology is increasingly permeating nearly every aspect of human life, and becoming more ubiquitous and embedded into our everyday environments. We find that we have unconsciously become surrounded by ever-intrusive technology and connected devices – and we are comfortable with it! That’s because these advancements have made day-to-day life easier than ever.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things has the potential to streamline small tasks in life without the person responsible for them ever really acknowledging it! Lots of small tasks accumulate quickly and therefore this makes a drastic difference, saving time, cognitive load and energy. My favourite example is so simple, but I know it would come in handy for me time and time again! That’s the smart umbrella which you can leave by your door. It checks the weather forecast for the day and if rain is likely, the handle will light up so you see it before you leave the house.
Particular attention has been paid to the potential these smart, connected devices have in kitchens – the room nearly 92% of the respondents from our survey said played a significant role in their lives.
The day is coming in which our homes will become ‘smart homes’, adopting inter-connected technology, synchronised via the internet or Bluetooth. Our homes are now capable of talking to each other and are programmed to respond to our instructions. Going forward they will be able to determine the right or wrong way of doing something under certain circumstances. Gradually, they are becoming more intelligent, and even powered by AI.
The Impact of connected kitchens
As smart things penetrate our kitchens, these rooms have become increasingly intelligent, transforming them into connected Kitchens. Various connected features have been widely explored, but we were interested to learn more about the impact of smart kitchens on users. We therefore ran a simple survey to gain a better understanding.
To give you an idea of the demographics our survey covered, 83% of the total respondents were from the UK, and 17% from rest of the world.
Our tech-savvy consumers are very clear about how they feel about their future kitchens. A remarkable 75% of them want to have digitally connected kitchens with smart appliances that talk to each other and connect to other devices in the house, either through Internet or Bluetooth technologies.
The most significant revelation from the point of view of device manufacturers and mobile app developers is that 62% of the consumers are keen to invest in connected kitchens. A total of 58% of respondents wish to change their kitchens in 2-5 years time, while 8% would like to change within a year.
Nearly 75% of the respondents replied assertively that smart kitchens do make sense in the context of their lives – to track inventories, order supplies, and send push notifications, such as alerts when coffee is ready or the washing has been done.
The potential of smart kitchens is huge, and not just for making everyday life easier. Research at Newcastle University’s Open Lab has led to the creation of ‘The Ambient Kitchen‘ which was originally designed as an assistive technology for people with dementia but has since transformed into a context-driven language learning tool.
As connected kitchens become par for the course, hedgehog lab is pioneering software that makes this all possible.