One of the biggest challenges for an appliance manufacturer navigating through the IoT era is finding or developing the necessary technologies around which to build their products. Not only do they have to incorporate new chipsets, software and subsystems, but they also have to make sure these new products can serve as a technology foundation for successive generations of products in the future.
Innit has partnered with Google and contract manufacturer Flex to help make this process easier. The three have created a suite of connectivity solutions to enable the ability to add new interfaces, cloud connectivity and Innit smart kitchen software capabilities to appliances.
Of course, it make sense for a startup like Innit to partner with one of the world’s largest contract manufacturers and cloud providers, but why are big tech players taking an interest in the connected kitchen? Simple: home appliances are a big business, and both Google and Flex see most of the big brands already making forays into the smart kitchen. To compete for their business in the future, optimized IoT solutions will be a requirement.
For Google, this extends their partnership with Innit, whom they’ve worked to integrate the Innit cooking platform into the Google Home. For Flex, it could help tease appliance manufacturers use Flex for their connected products by allowing them to leverage some of the Flex interfaces and shortcut the integration work with Google cloud and Innit.
When I was at CES in January, I got to preview some of the smart kitchen solutions Flex was providing, including the simply touch-interface showcased in the video below.
I think this type of off-the-shelf integration suites are an important sign that the smart kitchen industry is becoming more mature. That Google Cloud and contract manufacturers like Flex are thinking of ways to provide solutions can not only expedite product development, but it could also provide a greater degree of cross-device interoperability in a market where most devices are designed to operate on an island do not work well together if at all.
This news caps a busy week for Innit, who last week announced their expansion into Sweden with a partnership with ICA (pronounced EEKA), one of Sweden’s largest food retailers. Innit will power a co-branded ICA app for recipe discovery and guided cooking. The app, which will be in Swedish, is Innit’s first move outside of English.
According to Innit CEO Kevin Brown, this is just the first move by Innit into the Nordics, as the company plans to expand to other countries in the region later this year.