“Everyone talks about smart kitchen, but no one really does it!”

A few weeks ago, we had the great honor to support our partner Veriset AG during the Swissbau event – Switzerland’s biggest building trade show. At this event Veriset also presented their new intelligent kitchen concept developed in collaboration with dizmo and which was later nominated for the Prix SVC 2018. We caught up with Ueli Jost, CEO and Rafael Duss, Head of Development and ICT at Veriset and asked them a few questions about the potential and future of intelligent kitchens.

What is behind Veriset’s intelligent kitchen concept?
Jost: I would first like to answer the question about why we tackled this idea in the first place. Compared to all the products that are already smart, e.g. the car, the kitchen is still in its infancy. That’s why we decided one year ago that we wanted to focus on this particular innovation and cover the topic of the intelligent kitchen at Veriset. And the result of this decision can now be seen at this fair.

What are the characteristics of an intelligent kitchen?
Duss: An intelligent kitchen is characterized by the idea of supporting the user of a kitchen in the best way possible. Nevertheless, it is important to understand, that we do not want to patronize the user in any way. This means, that the user should still have the cooking experience, but when it comes to preparing a difficult menu for example, the technology should support him or her.
Another important characteristic of an intelligent kitchen is brand neutrality. It means that no brand is preferred and the different appliances communicate with each other, independently of their brand. Our focus lies on the overall processes within the kitchen in order to support the user in the best way possible. For example, normally it takes around three steps on a tiny screen in order to preheat the oven… We offer the possibility to do that in one click directly out of a given recipe.

Now, the hashtag #SmartKitchen and corresponding videos are popular on social media and have been around for quite a while. So, it seems that your intelligent kitchen concept is nothing new?
Duss: Well, it is one thing to make a marketing video, but a complete different one to actually build a working prototype.

This is exactly how it is with dizmo: you can see our vision in movies such as Minority Report but people forget that nobody has built such technologies in real-life yet, except us. 
Duss: Yes, the same is true for the kitchen market. I had people here from trade journals and they all said that everyone talks about networked and smart kitchen, but nobody really does it except us – with Veriset’s intelligent kitchen concept, we are the first ones.

What trends will revolutionize the kitchen or cooking in the future?
Duss: One important thing will be smart devices. Many suppliers are about to make their devices smarter. Standardization is another important topic. Today the interfaces from different providers cannot properly communicate with each other. This will change to becoming a neutral standard in order for the different brands to be able to talk to each other seamlessly.
Finally, I hope that the technologies will become more user-oriented. So, that they will become easier for everyone to use. Even for those who are not digital natives. It is very important to us that these people as well are convinced, that the new technologies can make a difference and help them do things better and in a more intuitive and easier way.

Why do we need intelligent kitchens?
Jost: In the end, what counts is that many people are happy to be supported by the intelligence that technology offers. Most of us already use smart devices on a daily basis without even noticing. We are used to the fact that intelligent, technological solutions are simplifying our everyday life – be it in the car or now in the kitchen.

Duss: One could also ask: Why is it necessary to have a display in the car? It hasn’t been around that long. In the past, you had to install the car radio yourself since it wasn’t integrated. And today it’s standard. So, why not have an equivalent standard in the kitchen as well?

What is your personal favourite in the field of new technological kitchen appliances?
Jost: We operate on a national basis. It’s important for us to work with any brand and find standard interfaces that works for everyone. In the end, the customer buys a whole kitchen which needs to be smart, perfectly processed and compatible with any appliance, regardless of the brand.

What challenges do intelligent kitchens entail?
Duss: The current challenge consists surely of finding a common interface between the technology, know-how from the smart home and the device manufacturer. It is difficult to ensure that the different brands communicate uniformly and that it works reliably so that each and every situation that could possibly occur in everyday life can be covered. In addition to that,
it will be crucial that competitors work together to offer the user the best experience possible.

What market potential do you see in Switzerland?
Jost: To be able to answer this question, I have to wait until the fair is over. But we notice that there is a great deal of interest. Personally, I’d say there’s great potential but of course it also depends on how you sell that to the market and make sure that the customers get excited about intelligent kitchen and the demand is growing.

Switzerland is a rather small country, do you plan to also venture internationally with your intelligent kitchen concept?
Jost: We always look beyond Switzerland and we constantly compare ourselves with the best in the market in terms of quality, technical standards, and the production processes. Most of our competitors come from abroad and if our intelligent kitchen concept is successful, of course we will also discuss expansion beyond where we currently operate.

Thank you very much.

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