Partnership to Bring Smart Appliances to Mass Market

Partnership to Bring Smart Appliances to Mass Market

Builders are often hesitant to install fully integrated kitchen solutions for two reasons: cost and a knowledge gap. A new partnership is aiming to change that.

Whirlpool’s Jenn-Air division and Innit, a developer of intelligent cooking technologies, are coming together to offer a range of connected appliance options without the massive price tag. These two major manufacturers are also consulting with homebuilders to both educate them and understand their needs.

RELATED: Samsung Enters the Connected Kitchen with New Smart Fridge

A Partnership Driven by Consumer Demand

And timing couldn’t be more perfect. According to the “Connected Home Appliance Market” study, the smart appliance market will grow at a CAGR of 39 percent between 2016 and 2020.

“I would say that now is a great time to enter the market. Consumers have become so comfortable using smart devices in their lives for so many aspects,” says Steve Brown, GM of Jenn-Air Appliances. “The kitchen is the next step in the connected revolution.” 

In fact, consumer interest was one of the leading trends pushing the manufacturer giant into this market space. It prompted Jenn-Air to release a line of connected ovens with Wi-Fi capabilities. But the company quickly found that without a dedicated technology resource, new developments were slow coming, which led to its most recent partnership with Innit.

The Jenn-Air smartphone app while in use.
The Jenn-Air smartphone app while in use.

The Innit platform uses advanced sensors, which are built into Jenn-Air’s connected wall ovens. These sensors can identify what type of food is inside the oven to determine the best way to cook it. The oven automatically sets the temperature and timer, and can provide recipes and prep steps to the consumer.

“We had over 500 people show up to our announcement. It was jam-packed with builders, celebrity chefs and people off the street,” says Kevin Brown, CEO at Innit. “There’s a lot of pent-up demand to get help with cooking.”

The partnership was announced, last year, at the  Smart Kitchen Summit.

RELATED: New Partnership Brings Smart Kitchen Tech to Market

A Concept to Cook Up More Awareness

Innit's cooking display that helps consumers understand connected appliance tech.
Innit’s cooking display helping consumers understand connected appliance tech.

Jenn-Air and Innit are hosting cooking lessons with connected appliances that use the Innit platform with the goal of teaching homebuyers about this tech.

The concept is to show the average consumer how these technologies can help improve efficiency in the kitchen and enable them to cook more intricate meals in a short time. “The idea is that if you can unlock the information from the food, combined with greater granular control in the oven, you open up a completely new way to cook,” says Kevin Brown.

At the same time, Jenn-Air and Innit are teaching builders how connected kitchen tech can lead to more home sales. According to the team, the partnership will eventually allow builders to install one specific line of connected appliances, as opposed to connected products from all different companies. This allows for an easily integrated solution that doesn’t necessarily require an integrator. For mid-market and high-volume builders, removing that extra step is key when is comes to cost and time management.

“This is something that no one has ever brought forward as a value proposition in homebuilding,” says Kevin Brown. “We are working with builders to determine how these appliances can better add value on new developments.” 

The Jenn-Air/Innit team is also working to educate builders about installing the necessary plumbing and infrastructure for these connected appliances. 

When to Expect This Tech

The new partnership will be releasing updates and products in periodic increments into early 2017.

For those builders who had already installed a Jenn-Air connected oven before the Innit partnership, your homebuyers will receive a free update to add basic intelligence.

“The nice thing is that it’s not new products that will be coming out initially but updates to the software that’s already out there,” says Steve Brown. “So, if you bought a connected oven previously, those smart capabilities will be added in the fall.” 

Jenn-Air and Innit plan to release a full kitchen suite of connected appliances in early 2017.

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About The Author

Michael Black is a staff writer and content coordinator at TecHome Builder. He has a particular interest in new solar developments and smart energy systems and is always looking for the next smart home trend to cover. As the youngest member of the TecHome team, Michael brings a passion that keeps the team energized. He also is instrumental in leading our social media efforts.

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