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How innovative IoT-based smart technology improves safety and efficiency in the kitchen

Vijay Anand
10 August 2021

The kitchen is one of the most important spaces in the home. It is where family members spend time preparing, cooking, eating meals, and enjoying time together with friends. However, at the same time, the kitchen is the most dangerous place in the home as most major accidents happen when cooking. (See Figure 1. Below.)

Figure 1: The many safety challenges in the average home kitchen
Source: Public domain

Improving kitchen safetyrequires new designs and technologies. One solution is the innovative kitchen or i-Kitchen enabled by IoT devices that detect gas leaks and other threats and create a more comfortable, relaxed environment. The i-Kitchen constantly monitors vital parameters such as smoke and fire, LPG gas levels, room temperature, drinking water quality, indoor air quality, and water leakage. It also keeps track of grocery items and object detection that recognizes the difference between children and the elderly. The i-Kitchen is becoming an important technology for today’s homes and many restaurants, where the safety, security, and comfort of family members and customers is essential. Indeed,  the i-Kitchen is one of the new waves in the home ecosystem. (See Figure 2.)

Previously, many homeowners have had difficulty using intelligent appliances because of their complexity. But new technology is much simpler, and the technical sophistication of the average user has improved. People are generally more comfortable using smartphones, connected surveillance cameras, fire alarms, smoke detectors, and chatbots like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Many people now understand how their digital kitchen appliances work, and they appreciate the convenience.

Figure 2: Kitchens can be dangerous places
Source: Public domain

As homeowners grow more technically savvy, they become more willing to reinvent their kitchens to be more intelligent, automated, and safer. Technologies include a hub or gateway, wireless sensors, connected mobile devices and applications, cloud platforms, and protocols. With the integration of IoT-enabled home technology, the kitchen will become one of the safest places in the house.

For instance, if a fire starts in the kitchen, it often causes catastrophic loss of life and significant property damage. However, IoT devices can detect a fire much earlier – even before it starts – and extinguish it quickly, minimizing damage to the home and protecting the lives of family members and friends.

The i-Kitchen features include:

  • Connectivity of sensor nodes in the kitchen space such as a temperature controller, fire alarms, smoke detectors, gas leakage detectors, lighting, blinds, surveillance cameras, and the ability to access and control the sensor nodes using the i-Kitchen hub or gateway based on different technologies like Zigbee, Wi-Fi and protocols like MQTT
  • Surveillance of the kitchen space from multiple camera angles to get a complete view of monitoring activity and transmit alerts that identify the exact location of a gas leak or fire. Also, the system can detect falls by older adults and share cooking advice with housemates
  • A kitchen inventory management system (KIMS) provides an up-to-date inventory of everyday essential groceries and ingredients
  • Efficient management of calendars and schedules of kitchen tasks for the preparation of meals
  • Improved safety using built-in intelligent systems that detect gas leaks from the storage tank, pipeline, or on-off knob in the kitchen and send alerts to the homeowner and the fire department
  • Voice-assistant devices such as Alexa and Google Home that provide family members with alerts in the case of an emergency, to adjust device controls such as the thermostat, or create grocery lists
  • Interoperability support from different OEMs (e.g., Honeywell, Butterfly, LG, Samsung, IFB, GE, and Haier) that supply home appliances such as dishwashers, refrigerators, washing machines, microwave ovens, fruit mixers, grinders, egg mixers, and other devices

To realize these technological benefits requires an i-Kitchen hub environment. (See Figure 3.) The hub enables connectivity with other kitchen appliances and devices that use different technologies and protocols and allows kitchen management from a centralized location. The i-Kitchen hub is intelligent enough to perform several functions simultaneously, such as detecting gas or smoke, pre-heating the oven, switching the coffee maker on, starting the dishwasher, playing music, dimming the lights, opening and closing the blinds, etc.

All these services can be provided by one i-Kitchen hub located in the kitchen area. The i-Kitchen architecture satisfies the requirements of meeting kitchen conditions, processing instrumented data and monitoring kitchen appliances.

Figure 3: The i-Kitchen hub in the home environment
Source: Capgemini Engineering

Many kitchen safety challenges could benefit from intelligent digital solutions. The i-Kitchen framework brings IoT devices and cloud computing into the kitchen to seamlessly deliver these solutions. It transforms the kitchen environment, making it safer by preventing major fires, shutting off gas leaks, or sending an alarm because of the high temperature in the kitchen. The i-Kitchen instantaneously activates an alarm, messages the fire department, and issues warnings to family members and housemates in other rooms.

In addition, the i-Kitchen can send alert messages to notify neighbors, residential association members, and maintenance service providers. It can unlock the front door to let in first responders, security, and maintenance personnel. In addition, the i-Kitchen enables household members to remotely monitor the status of the gas stove using a mobile app. They can turn the stove off by clicking a button on their mobile phone.

In addition to the safety benefits, the i-Kitchen supports three levels of sensing techniques – low, medium and high – to identify and track the daily usage of grocery items for inventory restocking and to generate shopping lists. In addition, the i-Kitchen can monitor the entry of children and older people into the kitchen to ensure they are using kitchen equipment safely. The i-Kitchen can ensure healthy cooking by monitoring food ingredients for allergens and connecting to fitness apps of family members so they can monitor and synchronize their consumption with their fitness routines.

The futuristic i-Kitchen can be enabled with additional features, including:

  • Smart ovens that help house members use appliances that digitally measure ingredients, monitor cooking, and reduce food waste
  • Smart plans that can track the specific diet for family members in real-time and communicate with a health application that computes the nutritional value of the food being cooked
  • Data analytics that can be performed locally on the i-Kitchen hub (i.e., the edge cloud) to make decisions about how long to keep the potatoes in the fryer for perfect crispiness


Vijay Anand

Senior Director, Technology, and Chief IoT Architect, Capgemini Engineering
Vijay plays a strategic leadership role in building connected IoT solutions in many market segments, including consumer and industrial IoT. He has over 25 years of experience and has published 19 research papers, including IEEE award-winning articles. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the Crescent Institute of Science and Technology, India.