As smart technology expands, new devices are connecting to each other via the Internet and giving users mobile operation capabilities. The Internet of Things has all the potential to change the way homeowners control all of their appliances and devices, but it extends beyond the living room. Restaurants have as much to gain from interconnected devices as any other industry, given the possibility for more efficient operations, better monitoring and greater options.
The Internet of Things' greatest asset is one that is only just beginning to take form: a single platform for controlling all of the appliances in a given network or system. For a restaurant, the benefit would be greater control over the kitchen which could increase efficiency and speed up operations. Plus, it would require less legwork for the employees, as one person could effectively set timers, start and stop appliances and perform other basic functions all at the same time.
A few companies are working to release an app that could control smart appliances across different brands, according to Wired. Apple offers its HomeKit framework, which will allow developers to build apps that will consolidate the disparate smart appliance controls that are likely housed in separate apps. In other words, an individual could use a HomeKit app to issue single commands that would impact the operations of several appliances. At a restaurant, the head chef might say, "The kitchen opens in an hour," and have the oven, range, dishwasher and other appliances turn on and warm up.
While the HomeKit is specific to Apple's new iOS, another similar platform, Thread, is the joint project of Nest, Samsung, Freescale and other smart appliance makers. The goal of Thread is to create a standard communication protocol for appliances to communicate with one another, so that the device network is integrated and fluid.
Take the guesswork out of cooking
While many chefs maintain that the human element is essential to good cooking, their newly-hired line cooks may disagree. Working in a kitchen at a busy restaurant is a stressful, hectic task – one that can be exacerbated if customers are dissatisfied with their meals. Smart appliances can eliminate human error by sensing the right ingredients, measurements and nutritional values, as well as ensuring the correct time and temperatures.
A number of smart appliances are continuing the evolution of the kitchen, according to The Wall Street Journal. Seimens and Samsung introduced refrigerators with LCD screens that perform various functions – Seimens' shows the contents of the fridge for a quick, easy check without letting out cold air. Thingk created a cutting board that doubles as a scale and timer. The iGrillmini is a thermometer that links to a smartphone and lets the user know when a piece of meat on the grill is at the desired temperature.
As consumer interest grows, so too will the number of innovative devices. It is not far-fetched to believe manufacturers will soon produce mixing bowls, trays and other apparatus that know when the right measurements or variety of ingredients are used. This could prove invaluable to kitchens that rely on inexperienced cooking staff to deliver the correct proportions time and time again. Even veteran chefs make mistakes – the IoT will allow them to focus on their craft while ensuring they don't forget to take the roast out of the oven.
Hospitality and restaurant industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, leaders in food service equipment financing. Marlin is a nationwide provider of equipment financing solutions supporting equipment suppliers and manufacturers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.