Leistungen // Laterales Management

the handy, digital kitchen elf

Although manufacturers have been promising for years that they would invent a fridge that will order all groceries needed, they have not achieved much. Today, the real innovations in the kitchen are analogue: new, stylish materials for stone surfaces or economical use of resources. And this is despite the fact that the sector is investing in digital technology: in 2012, there were only 76 household appliances with Internet access, now there are over 2,000.

Here, it is not kitchens that are the issue but the cooking experience because there is, after all, an emotional aspect to cooking in particular: it’s a matter of tasting, liking and disliking, cooking together and, especially, trying things out. Digitalisation in the kitchen will therefore only catch on when cooks benefit from it. If it means they have less work, better quality, learn something or have more fun. It’s a case of cultural change, as cooking and culture are just as much classics as music and culture or writing and culture.

A long way from digitalisation

The Board of Directors of BSH Home Appliances (Bosch-Siemens-Hausgeräte) achieved a massive flop, when they filmed a video in 2016 in which the board members in their well-cut suits discussed the digitalisation of kitchens in unfeeling “management speak”. The fact that the company’s top management had missed the point was also clear from the very negative reactions it triggered.

Their competitors are looking at getting the fridge to tell consumers by screen when groceries are past their sell-by date, for instance (Haier). Or they are developing the option for checking your fridge at home from the supermarket (Samsung). However, this is still a long way from digitalisation, the networking of things or household appliances.

Mykie – the handy kitchen elf

Now BSH is developing a personal assistant in the form of Mykie (my kitchen elf): it can talk, looks like a teapot, controls all household appliances on request and has stored all the world’s cookery books. A conversation with Mykie on Sunday morning could start like this: “Mykie, I’ve got the family coming to lunch at 1.00 p.m. Using the things in the fridge, freezer and larder, what can I cook for them?“ Mykie starts chatting and suggests various menus. The cook decides on a menu. Mykie controls and advises on the cooking process. The BSH Board of Directors will decide in autumn 2017 whether to continue development of the prototype.

BSH has learnt a great deal from its unintentionally amusing video by the Board of Directors, as is also clear from the comments of the multimedia team at BSH Household Appliances: “Dear Community, we’re totally astounded by the various comments. Okay, we’ve got it ;-).” But failure pays dividends!