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The EDGE IoT based Connected Kitchen
for Commercial Restaurants (B2C) and Home

Vijay Anand
Aug 24, 2023

This blog highlights the challenges faced in the kitchen, and how the Internet of Things (IoT) can address them.

The kitchen is one of the most important spaces in the home, with families spending valuable time preparing and enjoying meals together. It’s also one of the most dangerous; more accidents happen in the kitchen than in any other room. The same is true of commercial kitchens, where restaurant employees can face incidents arising from potential hazards, such as fire, caused by flammable materials like oil and alcohol, and gas leakages.

The concept of the IoT-enabled connected kitchen, or “C-kitchen[1] ,” is set to make kitchens safer, more secure and more comfortable environments for family members and restaurant staff alike, using connected sensors to monitor key parameters, like fire detection, gas levels, temperature, and the quality of air and water.

Fig. 1: Key challenges faced in the kitchen (images from Internet source)

Smart C-Kitchen

Enabled by Edge IoT, a smart C-kitchen can help address many of the problems that might arise in a regular kitchen. A fire, for instance, can cause major property damage and even loss of life. Fortunately, advances in IoT technology mean a combination of wireless sensors, gateways, cloud platforms, and mobile applications have the potential to reinvent the kitchen; automating processes, and making it more intelligent and predictive of user needs in real time. By detecting a fire before it becomes a problem, for instance, this approach can minimize its impact.

C-kitchens can address the additional concerns of commercial kitchens, too. In restaurants, food safety is paramount. They must adhere to regulations like HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point Reporting) regarding areas like temperature management. Inventory management is also important, combining current quantities with historic usage trends to minimize food wastage. And predictive maintenance of culinary equipment is preferable to fixed schedule maintenance as a way to save money and avoid downtime. To this end, by benchmarking a device’s uptime and downtime, a C-kitchen can identify any problems, and generate real-time automated alerts to maintenance technicians, allowing them to react quickly to any equipment problems.

Features and architecture

A typical C-kitchen will include the following features:

  • Connectivity – Various types of sensor nodes, including temperature control, gas leak detection, fire alarms, and smoke detectors, all accessed and controlled via a kitchen hub (or gateway) based on different technologies and protocols
  • Surveillance – Including multiple camera angles to monitor entry into the space, provide intrusion alerts, and identify the source of fires or gas leaks

Fig. 2: Surveillance in the kitchen to avoid major accidents

  • Smart bin – Embedded intelligence allows the bin to monitor the quantity of waste items and alert users when this reaches a predefined threshold
  • Efficient menu management – Access to family members’ calendars and schedules, which supports effective meal planning
  • Asset management – Providing improved knowledge of where important equipment is located
  • Safety – Built-in intelligence can detect gas leakages from hobs, pipelines, or cylinders, and alert nominated users
  • Virtual assistant voice controls – Using devices, like Alexa or Google Home, to control sensors and connected kitchen devices, create grocery lists, or raise alerts during an emergency
  • Energy management – Monitoring and managing the kitchen’s energy consumption and helping plan for effective savings by:
    • Processing data received from different kitchen appliances
    • Identifying energy consumed by each appliance
    • Predicting usage based on user preferences
    • Proactively controlling energy consumption in real-time
    • Enabling automatic shut-off of kitchen appliances when energy consumption exceeds an agreed threshold, to prevent risk of fire
    • Automatically switching certain appliances on and off, depending on time of day and cost of electricity
Fig. 3: Energy management in commercial kitchens
  • Interoperability – Supporting different types of appliance and manufacturer, eg. Honeywell, LG, and GE, and interconnecting between different wireless technologies to create a unified network, and a seamless user experience
  • Big data analytics – Restaurants have access to a wealth of potentially valuable data. Capturing that data can provide some of the following benefits:
    • Using facial recognition and learning customer habits in order to provide these customers with more accurate, tailored recommendations
    • Analysing business data to improve efficiency, customer satisfaction, and more

To support this, key elements of C-kitchen architecture include:

  • Edge sensor nodes based on 32-bit micro-controllers/RTOS, which can sense and monitor kitchen conditions
  • An EDGE gateway/hub for interconnecting all the edge sensor nodes
  • A database/data storage, to process data captured in the hub
  • A cloud platform to process important data for visualization
  • A mobile application for monitoring and controlling kitchen devices

Centralized connectivity

At the heart of the C-kitchen is an Edge IoT-enabled hub, providing centralized connectivity between various devices and sensors, each of which may work on different technologies (Wi-Fi, Thread, Zigbee, Z-wave). To do this, the central hub takes advantage of protocols based on emerging standards, like MATTER, an open-source connectivity standard for smart devices, which promises to make smart devices (regardless of their manufacturer) work with each other. In addition, the launch of prplOS, open source software for next generation WiFi routers and gateways, will make it easier to implement new applications into home ecosystems, like the C-Kitchen. This should spur further innovation in smart kitchen products and services.

This hub collects data from sensors on a range of devices, then analyzes, aggregates, and stores it in a local database, before actuators perform actions based on the results of that analysis. It will be sufficiently intelligent to perform several functions: detecting gas or smoke, activating devices, playing music, and dimming lights, among others. In addition, by integrating HVAC, lighting, and other systems, the hub can extend energy management capabilities.

Fig. 4: C-kitchen hub in a home environment

Future possibilities

The purpose of the intelligent, Edge IoT-enabled C-kitchen is to improve safety, lower energy consumption, and – in commercial usage – increase operational efficiency. Identifying fires or leaks, and alerting appropriate individuals, will make kitchens substantially safer. Monitoring and controlling device usage will lead to greater energy efficiency. And, by tracking the daily consumption of grocery products, a kitchen can become sufficiently intelligent and responsive to support inventory stocking, generating shopping lists of what’s required and when.

But the possibilities don’t end there. Over time, the C-kitchen may offer additional features, like:

  • Smart ovens that allow users to monitor their cooking and reduce food waste
  • Smart pans that can communicate with health applications to calculate the nutritional value of food being cooked
  • Data analytics located on the C-kitchen hub to optimize cooking times, monitor ingredients for allergens, synchronize food consumption with fitness routines, and provide other insights
  • Augmented reality technology that can superimpose virtual demo videos on to a kitchen, allowing users to follow recipes more easily
  • Computer vision technology that can automatically detect and recognize grocery products in a refrigerator or cabinet, for improved inventory management

Whether for domestic or commercial use, the intelligent capabilities of the C-kitchen mean that it truly is the kitchen of the future.

Meet the author

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.