Your Refrigerator: Smart And Social?

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I’m fascinated by how technologies affect our lives and I guess because I’m a bit creative, I have a tendency to brainstorm and think aloud.  I explore possibilities, share my thoughts and ideas, even at the risk of sounding ridiculous at times.  I love interacting with people who do the same.  This morning I was just reminded about a conversation I had a few months back with a friend over dinner that had me imagining how everything in our world might be digitally enhanced, environmentally aware and best of all: social.

Take kitchen appliances, for example.  The idea of web enabled, smart appliances isn’t anything new, but what about social appliances?  Setting a baseline for technology, let’s first imagine that your fridge is digitally smart, web enabled and also equipped with such things as bar/qr code scanners and other simple sensors.  This allows it to automatically manage such things as your inventory, energy consumption, email you shopping lists or place direct orders with grocers for you, etc, etc. (nothing that hasn’t been talked about before).  Marketers might do stuff like send your fridge coupons for competing products you are consuming, meal/recipe ideas based on available inventory and then suggest one or two more items to make it happen. Lot’s of basic convenience features. Obvious stuff.

NOW imagine this: your fridge becomes social.  Let the sharing begin! What do they always show on MTV cribs? What’s in the refrigerator. People are fascinated by what others are consuming. Food goes hand in hand with being social. I bet you people would have fun sharing their fridges on Facebook. Watcha got in your fridge? Says a lot about people. Now it becomes a target for all sorts of apps related to diet, lifestyle, social gaming and and of course… all the fine opportunities for marketing/branding galore. Check ins? “Tony just checked into an Odwalla Smoothie.” and scanned the “Like” QR Code with the fridge scanner, earning him points towards a free offer… plus keep track of my calories for the day. Nice.

Want to go strangely further with it?  Now imagine your have an intelligent toilet with sensors that detect and analyze your urine samples, shares that information with your health provider who is actively monitoring your health, who then makes a recommendation for your diet that day in conjuction with your approved doctor/dietician.  Your smart fridge ensures you have the right meal items available, placing an order if necessary.   All you have to do is wake up, do your “nature calls” business and then ask your fridge: “What’s on the menu for today?”  ”By the way, modify my weight loss goal to lose 5 more pounds by April 20th (high school reunion) and adjust my diet accordingly please.”

Next up: intelligent and social wardrobe closets. Hmmm…..

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About Tony Kinard

Digitally Innovative, Obsessively Creative, Fearless Advertising/Marketing Exec. For 16+ years I've had the honor of working with brilliant ad agencies, digital marketing innovators and technology vanguards. It's been amazingly fun and exciting work helping clients to successfully leverage tech innovations and new ideas. From scrappy startups to some of the best known brands in the world, I love the challenges they present. The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some great ideas!

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  • Vlad Gorenshteyn

    Nice article! Good food-for-thought (pun intended). What I’d personally like to see is refrigerators that know when my food is going bad and suggest recipes or when I buy double of something, suggest local food drops for the homeless…