One of the main selling points of a connected refrigerator is it allows a consumer to keep track of their food, manage shopping lists and even order groceries from the fridge itself.
But here’s the problem: continuously updating inventory and shopping via your fridge requires a significant behavior change on the part of consumers. Whether it’s scanning a barcode, manually logging a product or some other way of digitizing your inventory of foodstuff and home supplies, it’s just not the type of behavior most consumers have shown an eagerness or affinity towards doing.
But what if you moved inventory tracking and reordering to the point of disposal? In other words, instead of logging a product and putting it on the shopping list when you bring it into the home, you put it in the queue and get it teed up for same-day delivery from Amazon when you’re out of the product.
That’s exactly the vision NewTown, Connecticut startup GeniCan has in mind. The company, which was founded two years and a half years ago, has created an scanner that allows you to scan products as you dispose of them. It also lets you add things to the shopping list via voice by waking up the scanner as you throw things out. Hold a piece of lettuce or steak scraps in front of GeniCan and it will ask you “what may I add to your list?”
Another benefit of GeniCan is the ability to track dry goods. Fridges are where you put the fresh food like milk, meat and eggs, but tracking all that stuff in the pantry is not a natural fit for the smart fridge.
The GeniCan has integrated with the Amazon Dash – one of the few announcements around Dash at CES this January – and the company is talking to other food replenishment and delivery platform providers about adding their functionality to the device. By integrating with Dash and adding voice capabilities, the GeniCan becomes in a way a strategically placed Dash Wand, Amazon’s original kitchen scanner.
So, will GeniCan get consumers to forgo that smart fridge to track their inventory at the point of disposal? Possibly. I know I often put things on the shopping list when I run out of things rather than when I bring them home, so inserting technology at this point of the consumption cycle makes a lot of sense.
The GeniCan is available for preorder for $149 from the company’s website and they expect to ship the product this year.
You can hear how the GeniCan works by watching my interview with GeniCan cofounder Dave Pestka above.
You can get the Spoon in your inbox once a week by subscribing to our newsletter.