In 1950, the inimitable Ray Bradbury published a wildly-imaginative story about a futuristic automated house that cooks, cleans, and handles every other chore a family needs. Written as pure science fiction, we are now edging closer and closer to that vision: the Internet of Things is now spreading to the kitchen.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, the Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the growing network of devices, buildings, vehicles, and everything else connected to the internet. Businesses are producing more and more devices with internet connections and their own programming — including toasters, refrigerators, and ovens. Otherwise known as smart appliances, they can function semi-autonomously with the aim of making your life easier.

Okay, but what’s the point of a kitchen full of smart appliances?

A kitchen full of smart appliances won’t cook dinner for you, but they might make it a whole lot easier. For example, a smart refrigerator can take stock of what’s inside, recognizing items with cameras and image recognition software. After a quick inventory, the fridge could tell you what’s low on a front-facing screen, or even text you while you’re out if something needs to be replaced.

Going a step further, smart refrigerators can even help an individual keep track of which items are about to expire or spoil, saving costs on groceries. Additionally, smart fridges can provide you with a slew of meal ideas based on what’s inside, and even communicate with a smart stove to preheat the oven to the right temperature. And of course, you can manage all this from an app on your phone, so you can do it from the grocery store, at the office, or lying on the couch.

…so what about other appliances?

Of course, other appliances are also being developed in smart iterations that feel more fitting to science fiction than real-life. If you’re a coffee fiend, you can buy coffee makers that are scheduled to make coffee at a specific time of the day, so your coffee is automatically ready every morning.

The only catch is that you still have to do some cleaning and refill it with coffee grounds, but you can receive text notifications for that, too. You can even buy a brewing appliance to expertly brew your own beer.

Is this actually going to catch on?

We don’t have a crystal ball, but it’s certainly likely. Almost 20% of American broadband households sought to buy a smart appliance for their kitchen in 2016. Still, not everyone’s buying into the idea of a smart kitchen.

For starters, many feel like it’s a case of reinventing the wheel — we’ve cooked with ordinary appliances for decades, leaving many reluctant to switch to a flashy new gadget. Furthermore, there’s the cost — the smart fridge we talked about earlier retails for $6,000, which is roughly twelve times the cost of a decent fridge. For most buyers, they’ll wait to see how other consumers like their pricey new smart appliances before making any decisions.

The good news? With a little maintenance, you can extend an appliance’s lifespan for years and years. Whether it’s an older model or a new smart device, Doc’s Appliance Services can keep your appliances running smoothly and save you from breaking the bank on any replacements. Call today!