Hot Shots: Gourmia has added a camera to its latest connected fryer.

The International Home + Housewares Show starts this weekend, and we know we’re going to see lots of announcements around the smart kitchen. Gourmia is one of the first, announcing this week that they’ve added a camera to the brand’s line of connected air fryers.

Gourmia is a well-known brand in the small appliance world and has been working to brand itself as a premier IoT name in the kitchen. They’ve gotten into the smart sous vide machine game and added connectivity to their air fryers and pressure cookers. Now they are putting cameras inside their air fryers to give consumers a front row seat to watch their food get crispy.

We’ve seen cameras play a bigger role in the smart kitchen over the past few years, whether it’s inside the June Oven, a unique tabletop smart oven that knows how long to cook something using machine learning and interior cameras, or fridges that allow you to see what’s inside without opening the door. But are cameras really changing the game in the kitchen, or are they just bells and whistles to drive up price points and make cooking a little more fun?

Maybe it’s a bit of both. In some instances, cameras are working in cooperation with powerful AI software engines to remove the guesswork from cooking, like with the June Oven. In other cases, the camera is a bonus feature that maybe adds a bit of convenience to your day by letting you see if you need milk while you’re at the grocery store.

The Cook Cam might seem like a fun, unique feature to some consumers and it’s clear Gourmia is out to lead the way in adding connectivity to small appliances.

Gourmia founder Heshy Biegeleisen commented,

“During 2017, we intend to enable over 100 sku’s with IoT, all of which can be controlled with just one app. The addition of the built-in Cook Cam in our IoT product line is a major introduction. Gourmia is proud to be leading the way in bringing smart kitchens into the home.”

In the case of the Gourmia Air Fryers, the Cook Cam allows users to see via the smartphone app each stage of the cooking process. If you’re an anxious chef, says Gourmia, you’re able to keep better track of where your food is in the cooking process and prevent overcooking. The Gourmia app will also let you upload your pictures to Instagram, in case taking pictures with your phone and uploading them has become too arduous.

But adding connectivity to all of our devices is causing some to raise concerns about cyber intrusion and privacy. And putting cameras inside appliances adds another layer of privacy issues – the New Food Economy lays out the downside in a recent piece. Are companies adding cameras and connectivity to spy on us and ultimately sell us more stuff? Probably. The big wow factor of the IoT, after all, is less about efficiency and connection and more about all the data that these connections will generate. The NFE piece points out that privacy policies for these devices often give the manufacturer “broad latitude” to capture whatever information they’re capable of collecting.

“let’s not pretend that the cameras creeping into our kitchen are about social sharing and perfectly cooked meals. There’s much more to it, and the companies behind the smart kitchen revolution aren’t actually that stupid.”
– New Food Economy

Should we be worried about this? Possibly – and at the very least, we should be having these discussions and paying attention.

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