GE Appliances announced this week it had released an over-the-air software update that will assist half a million owners of GE Appliances’ Wi-Fi connected ovens cook their holiday turkey.
Called Turkey Mode, the new software update gives users step-by-step cooking instructions for their big holiday bird. The update also utilizes a software algorithm to estimate the cooking time needed to reach an optimal 170 degrees internal temperature for any size bird. Temperature measurement is done via a probe that comes standard with all GE Appliance’s connected oven models. Turkey Mode update works with most GE Appliances Wi-Fi connected oven models, 64 model families and 336 SKUs in all.
To see Turkey Mode in action, I jumped on a video call with GE Appliances’ food scientist Sabrinah Hannah and GE Appliances’ director of digital transformation, Taylor Dawson. Hannah told me that the company has been baking turkeys as a product development tool for decades, and they knew that turkeys are one of the biggest challenges home cooks face all year.
One of the lessons learned in the company’s testing was where to place the probe. The slowest heating part of the bird is deep in the breast, so part of the update on LCD-enabled models is a visual of where to place the probe. According to Hannah, if users follow Turkey Mode steps, they won’t need to baste the turkey or cover it with foil.
According to Dawson, the update went out to both LCD-equipped Wi-Fi ovens as well as Wi-Fi models without LCD screens. Users with LCD-equipped ovens can follow the step-by-step instructions on their ovens or the GE Appliances SmartHQ app, while users without LCDs can follow along on the app. For those who get the update on their LCD-enabled ovens, a button that says “Turkey Mode” will appear in the choice of cook mode on the screen. In addition to seeing the new cook mode, the user also gets a season-themed holiday background and a turkey “gobble” sound that plays when the turkey is finished cooking.
Turkey Mode is the second big update GE Appliances has sent over-the-air to their installed base of connected ovens this year. Earlier this year, the company sent an update that added an ‘air fryer’ cook mode to Wi-Fi-connected ovens in the field. While countertop smart ovens like the June have offered upgrades via over-the-air updates for a few years, the ability to send new cook modes and other updates to installed ovens is just beginning to take off as the installed base of connected built-ins reaches a critical mass. The ability to add new cooking features represents a potential business and customer support model opportunity for an industry where customers previously had a fixed set of product features that never changed once they walked out of the store.