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Smart Products of the Future - Game Changers and Differentiators


In this age of Alexa, self-driving cars, and Google Home, it's clear that smart products are here to stay. But what's coming down the pike may surprise you. Imagine ten years from now when your intelligent "VitAImix" not only guides your recipes and grocery purchases, but influences the price of certain ingredients for everyone!

Rebecca Chesney, Research Director, Institute for the Future (IFTF), explains in ?Three Strategies for Designing Kitchens of the Future: "As machine intelligence becomes an easily embedded utility service, connected objects are becoming capable of more sophisticated interactions. Amazon, Alexa, and Google Home are now answering open-ended questions about ingredient conversions and calories for home cooks. Smart ovens are becoming intelligently engineered to automatically recognize what’s in them and how to cook according to individual preferences. In the near term, we can expect to see a proliferation of kitchen technologies embedded with what Kevin Kelly, founding executive editor of Wired magazine, describes as 'cheap, reliable, industrial-grade digital smartness running behind everything, and almost invisible except when it blinks off.'

These intelligent machines will become networked together and act in concert. Advances across the technology stack will reveal a world in which inanimate objects speak to us, bots act on our behalf, and networked machines negotiate with each other. The Institute for the Future (IFTF) calls this distributed global network of autonomous robots and intelligent systems the Internet of Actions. A kitchen in this world will be more than connected and more than smart—it will be a kitchen of actions."

She illustrates how a VitAImix in 2027 can learn a family's food criteria and tweet, negotiate, and actually cause prices to drop on a desired - but pricey - item. While the example is fictitious, the potential impact is real. The implications for product innovation are profound and far-reaching, going well beyond the kitchen. 

The Internet of Actions and other IFTF forecasts were shared by Rebecca's associate, Quinault Childs, at the Innovation & Growth Leadership Summit on February 27, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.  For a summary of event highlights or a copy of IFTF's report Food Innovation: Recipes for the Next Decade, please email