Internet of Things

Whirlpool Whips Up Foolproof Cooking, IoT Appliances

Anyone who says they can’t cook may have just lost all excuses. In fact, you don’t even have to read the instructions at all now.

At CES 2017, Whirlpool said it will be adding Alexa to nearly every appliance the company is cooking up.

But on top of that, the Benton Harbor, MI-based company debuted its new Scan-to-Cook feature in its app that will zap instructions to the company’s new line of ovens or microwaves to cook a certain food perfectly according to those instructions. The app and its capabilities were shown and explained at the Las Vegas event, with demonstrators using an iPad and empty boxes from specific pizza and TV dinner food products.

The Internet of Things-type app, which is available on Android and iOS devices, syncs with the Wi-Fi-enabled ovens and microwaves that will be available for purchase this summer. Specifically, those home appliances include a double-wall oven ($2,600), a microwave ($1,000) and two ranges: one gas ($1,799), one electric ($1,699).

Question is: What can a hungry, new appliance owner cook? So far, there are some compatible products, like DiGiorno Pizza, Marie Callender’s pot pies and Alexia frozen fries, with more slated to come aboard.

Step one in preparing these items is scanning the barcode of the item through the app, which will pull up those heating instructions and send them directly to the appliance of choice, which will then set the cooking temperature and timer accordingly.

Executives at Whirlpool said the automation is particularly advantageous when there are extra steps, like stirring or uncovering the food. At the same time, some critics wonder if this is indeed helpful, considering that those extra steps cannot be performed by the appliance but rather the human, who could read and set the cooking temperature and time.

Other critics just point out a disconnect between the type of food and the demographic of anyone who would need to spend $1,000 on an appliance that typically sells for a fraction of that price and only needs a few buttons to be pressed.

Need more Internet of Things news? Check out PYMNTS’ IoT Tracker, sponsored by Intel.

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