As the premier name in high-performance kitchen blenders, Cleveland-based Vitamix has consistently shown its ability to stay close to and understand its customer base. The company was among the first to use television infomercials to illustrate its benefits. Much of Vitamix’s brand persona is linked to healthy lifestyles as demonstrated in their series of raw, vegan cookbooks.

Working with Vancouver, Wash.,-based Perfect Company, Vitamix is using IoT to strengthening its appeal to millennials and cooks who want to use the latest technology to up their culinary games. The Vitamix Ascent Series, which uses its partner’s wireless technology embedded in its new smart containers, allows the blender to read the container and automatically adjust program settings and maximum blending times. The Ascent Series blenders will not power on if the container isn’t sitting properly on the motor base.

The Ascent Series of blenders comes on the heels of the Vitamix Perfect Blend Smart Scale & Recipe App, its first collaboration with Perfect Company, announced in October 2016. The app allows users to select a recipe and tailor it to fit their needs based on portion size and nutritional needs.  In the new Ascent Series, the lid plug doubles as a measuring cup for additional convenience.

Each model in the Ascent Series includes a 64-ounce smart container with optional attachments that include 20-ounce cup and an 8-ounce bowl, including lids suitable for blending and serving, taking along or storing.

According to Tennant, the partnership between Vitamix and Perfect Company is in its early stages. “We’ve only just begun to imagine the possibilities for our Ascent Series machines and how they will continue to elevate the blending experience,” he says. “Look for new versions of the app in the future that incorporate Ascent Series machines, including our upcoming additional containers through which we can optimize the finished recipe by recognizing the container size and the amount of ingredients to create a custom blend program.”

Aside from their relationship with Vitamix, Perfect Company sells the Perfect Kitchen® PRO Smart Scale and App System, a Bluetooth-connected scale that works with apps for baking, blending and making cocktails.

As smart kitchen ecosystems go, the Vitamix Ascent Series offers a solid experience for cooks using its powerful blenders to make a variety of dishes from soups and smoothies to frozen desserts. As with any IoT-based system, some key questions will determine what level of holistic impact Vitamix will make on the kitchen of the future.

For example, how extensible is wireless connectivity between the blender and its containers? Is the IoT system based on a Bluetooth protocol or an open system that may allow other accessory companies to produce companion products? Are there plans down the road to allow Vitamix to wirelessly connect to other appliances or part of a smart home system? Imagine waking up in the morning and telling your Amazon Echo, “Alexa, make me a smoothie.”

Whatever direction Vitamix goes in, those decisions, the company says, will be based on the feedback it gets from its users. “The home cook will tell us what that invention should be,” adds Tennant. “The product that home cook is looking for may be a network of key tools in the kitchen that sequence the Thanksgiving dinner or the family heirloom cake recipe. We believe the ambitious home cook, young and old, is looking for ways to work smarter, not harder. Connected products have the chance to create those experiences.”

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Allen Weiner is an Austin-based freelance writer focusing on applications of new technology in the areas of food, media and education. In his 17-year career as a vice president and analyst with Gartner, Inc., the world’s largest IT research and advisory firm, Allen was a frequent speaker at company and industry events as well as one of the most-quoted analysts in the area of new media. With an extensive background in publishing and publishing technology, Allen is noted as the founder of The Gate (sfgate.com), the nation’s first daily newspaper on the web. Born in Philadelphia, Allen is a graduate of Muhlenberg College and Temple University.