If you have thought that the functions performed by a fridge were fairly limited – needing only, surely, to keep things cool – then you were mistaken. A number of the foremost domestic appliance manufacturers have made the shift to smart fridges recently. These are devices which incorporate a variety of other tasks into the to-do list of our refrigerators to enhance our lives in as many ways as possible.
The term ‘smart fridge’ refers to a variety of appliances which take on a variety of tasks: anything from automatically ordering milk when you run out to turning on the oven in anticipation of your next meal can allegedly be performed by this high-class units.
Could this new technology transform kitchen life for the better, or is it nothing but a waste of time? Let’s take a look.
The argument for picking up a smart fridge
While the extent of these fridges’ intelligence may be shocking, that is not to say it is unwelcome or unhelpful. Those of us with busy schedules all too often arrive home from work to find that our fridge is not nearly as full as we’d expected or that we’d forgotten to pick up some milk for a relaxing cup of tea.
If, on demand, a fridge could recognise that we have run out of milk and request a delivery from a local supermarket, our lives could be made somewhat easier from time to time. Of course, some control over this might be needed as those preparing for a trip away from home may not want to return to find a week old pint of milk which they didn’t want sat on the shelves.
Another of the smart fridge’s rather nifty abilities is in recipe selection. The fridge is able to read what ingredients remain in the fridge and download a list of recipes based on the results. For those of us without Delia’s entire cookbook stored in our own memory, it could well pay for the fridge to suggest a nice meal every now and then – especially when fussy children are complaining about your recent culinary offerings.
The argument against smart fridges
No matter how impressive it may be that a fridge can perform all these functions, the underlying problem against the use of such appliances is that a smart fridge does nothing that we can’t. We might forget the milk from time to time but many of us are happy to take a stroll to the local shop to pick it up. We are happy to browse and to gain inspiration from what we see online when hunting for recipes too.
The second thing for us to think about is whether or not we stand to save any time. With the endless programming of preferences (because, of course, few of us want to eat the same thing every night and so tend not to replace every item on a daily basis), it is quite possible that using a smart fridge could prove to be more hassle than it’s worth.
Then again, most of this time would only be expended at the very beginning and once the fridge was set up we could carry on with a hassle-free life. This is presuming that no faults or errors develop with our new piece of technology-heavy kit – something which many will view as an optimistic dream rather a likely outcome.
A conclusion on the future of the smart fridge
In truth, few of us would see much of an improvement to our lives from a smart fridge. The occasional forgotten pint of milk is unlikely to outweigh the cost of fitting a new fridge and wiring it up to various appliances.
Then again, for those looking to embrace all things new, the smart fridge could be the next big thing. Whether it becomes popular itself remains to be seen but the thought behind it is sure to yield plenty of great gadgets for the future.
For the time being, if your fridge fails you it might be better to consider domestic appliance repairs before rinsing your latest pay cheque on a fridge you can talk to.
Terry Sibbick writes regular blogs on domestic technology and lifestyle. Terry balances his tech-heavy work life with rambling trips to the South Downs in Sussex.