EDITOR’S VIEW: Connected kitchen concept is great until ‘computer says no’

Andrew Seymour grayscale

If you’ve ever tried installing a piece of software that isn’t compatible with your operating system, or found yourself in all sorts of bother after getting locked out of a program over a password issue, you’ll be familiar with the despair and frustration that even the most basic IT problem can breed.

So I certainly have empathy with kitchen equipment bosses that fear the proliferation of web-enabled appliances in commercial kitchens is a technology headache waiting to happen.

Kitchens resemble interactive control centres these days, with everything from combi ovens to refrigeration cabinets harnessing the latest computing power. 10 years from now, kitchens will be enjoying benefits that 10 years prior would never have even been conceivable.

In the meantime, though, we need to be mindful of the fact that the concept of catering appliances ‘talking’ to each other and giving operators an instant bird’s eye view of their equipment estate raises huge IT management challenges.

This has certainly not gone unnoticed by industry decision-makers, with the European Federation of Catering Equipment Manufacturers (EFCEM) establishing a technical group to examine the feasibility of developing a common standard for the use of connected technology in professional kitchens.

The group is due to publish a report at the end of this year detailing the viability of establishing a uniform standard.

It promises to be fascinating reading for anybody that is currently running multiple kitchen sites and who has already experienced the difficulties that a lack of standardisation can create.

Few want a situation where operators are forced to run dozens of different apps, with each monitoring separate brands of equipment.

A common standard, where one app will cover all equipment, remains the holy grail for kitchens of the future.

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One Comment;

  1. Keith Warren said:

    Data will be currency of the future. Key to its value is the ability to collect it and identify the ‘nuggets’ of information that it contains for use by operators, service companies, dealers & manufacturers. For operators it will lead to improved kitchen efficiency, effective staff management and reduce overall operating costs. The initiative to provide a common base for exchanging information is key to providing a benefit for all in the supply chain as our respective industry partners become a value chain. The’ Internet of Things’ is developing fast, UK government is already focused on connected cities and businesses under the BIM agenda. Those who meet the challenge of managing foodservice equipment and its operation have the opportunity to embrace the inevitable change that is taking place. Those who embrace the opportunity will have businesses that will remain relevant and in touch with their customers, that surely is every businesses objective?

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