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Microsoft and Miele collaborate to make smarter home appliances

by Mark Tyson on 13 April 2015, 11:50

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Fujitsu (TYO:6702)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacqn6

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Microsoft has partnered with high-end domestic appliance firm Miele to leverage its IoT technologies to create smarter home appliances. Coincidentally Fujitsu has just announced its collaboration with Microsoft to improve factory manufacturing processes through IoT innovation. Both announcements emanate from the Hannover Messe event which is on this week. The deployment of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Internet of Services (IoS) to create smart factories has been dubbed Industry 4.0.

Many people will know Miele makes a wide range of white goods and other household appliances but its Microsoft collaboration centres around oven cooking. Miele and Microsoft have developed a website where users select recipes. Once selected food preparation stages are downloaded to the user's smartphone or tablet and the matching program is loaded onto the oven through Microsoft Azure. The oven varies temperature, cooking time, humidity (by adding steam) and other factors to match the recipe to help cook your meal to perfection.

Perfect putenbraten is easy thanks to Microsoft and Miele

Caglayan Arkan, general manager, Worldwide Manufacturing and Resources at Microsoft, said that "This is just one example of how the Internet of Things and cloud technology are moving from enterprise experiences to personal experiences". The IoT implementation could go beyond cooking to include remote diagnostics and predictive maintenance of the oven.

Fujitsu's collaboration with Microsoft IoT and Azure comes from a different angle and aims to improve factory processes rather than direct customer experiences. Explaining the initiative Fujitsu says "Having recognized a solution was needed to optimize processing by both machines and humans, Fujitsu brought together its Eco-Management Dashboard, the IoT/M2M platform, Microsoft cloud services and Windows tablets in a way that could enable managers, engineers and scientists to improve product quality, streamline systems and enhance functionality while reducing costs".

The facility where Fujitsu is testing its IoT partnership with Microsoft is a mothballed semiconductor factory - unused due to unneeded capacity. Instead of making silicon chips the factory is now producing lettuce – based on the same quality management techniques employed to optimise its semiconductor manufacturing. It's a good test-bed for the IoT and M2m (machine to machine) and Microsoft mobile technology. The facility produces low potassium lettuce for kidney dialysis patients, and is transforming the perception of agriculture.



HEXUS Forums :: 32 Comments

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I suspect my reaction won't surprise many here.

Miele and Microsoft have developed a website where users select recipes. Once selected food preparation stages are downloaded to the user's smartphone or tablet and the matching program is loaded onto the oven through Microsoft Azure. The oven varies temperature, cooking time, humidity (by adding steam) and other factors to match the recipe to help cook your meal to perfection.
I'm no Michelin chef, but ….. really? :rolleyes:

I'm a Miele fan, but a SmartOven? Give me strength. Maybe for the hopelessly inept, but what happens when, as the cook, you vary the recipe to suit your tastes? When you increase this, or substitute that for the other, or if you like whatever it is a little better of less done? How do you like you steak? Rare, medium or well-done? What about a roast?

Sorry, but it's not for me. I wouldn't pay 50p extra for an IoT oven, and NO WAY am I using a website, or MS services, that tell companies what I eat, or for that matter, which days I use my oven. I just told my utility company to shove their “smart” meter for the same reason. I wouldn't pay extra for this type of oven because no way would I connect it. And if the device came at a premium (and my bet is it will) it would cause me to buy a different model or, if need-be, a non-Miele product.
Saracen
I suspect my reaction won't surprise many here.
Hmm, given the anti-Microsoft feeling coming from your recent posts I've read, I'd be sore afraid that the SmartOven would “accidentally” undercook and polish you off by food poisoning!

Like you I thought that cooking was a “creative” exercise, so I'm not sure that this latest thing isn't “cloud for the sake of it”. After all, what'd be wrong with some kind of (non-cloud) DB lookup that the device could do - heck even a QR code-based thing. And no, I'm not getting at you with “anti-Microsoft feeling” - you gave pretty convincing personal reasons.

I had a look last year at one of those “smart microwaves” and came to the conclusion that it was actually a lot more effort-intensive than a “dumb” model. It was fine if you wanted the amounts of those foods it knew about, but hopeless otherwise. My negativity shocked SWMBO because she'd assumed I'd be all in favour of another “fancy computer gadget”.

Maybe all these IoT advocates need to be sat down in front of films such as Demon Seed and maybe learn a lesson.
I really like the idea of IoT in my kitchen, I just can't bring myself to wear the outlay of it (at least not yet).

Keeping track of my stock of ingredients, best before dates, offering cooking times/settings and even offering me recipes based on what I have in the cupboards/fridge/freezer all seem value added extra I would be interested in.

The problem is how much it would cost to cover those bases…plus we need great tools and an open API so that you don't get tied into horrid software or a fragmented ecosystem.
What if someone hacks you and sets it to burn everything?
Smudger
What if someone hacks you and sets it to burn everything?

TBH, I would rather my lunch gets burnt, rather than all my data getting compromised. So it's less of a concern compared to devices I am already protecting.

I guess there would be the inevitable lawsuits in the US because “My firewall didn't protect me from the oven burning me!”