Well it’s finally happened: after several years waiting for a centralised software application to monitor all connected kitchen appliances, like buses, two have come along at once. First up is the Mareno ‘My Tutor’, which can connect to not only Mareno cooking equipment, but much other smart kitchen equipment too.
Along with the Ali Group manufacturer’s Power Guardian, which optimises power consumption throughout the kitchen, the My Tutor platform monitors all connected appliances and alerts servicing companies if there is a fault. Uniquely, it depicts a kitchen plan and visually shows exactly which appliance an alert is referring to – which should make engineers’ lives much simpler.
The other major catering equipment manufacturing group, the Middleby Corporation, is also getting in on the act. The company purchased US-based Powerhouse Dynamics earlier this year to take its Open Kitchen by SiteSage software further. The platform can be used to monitor and control all kitchen assets, using the sensors supplied with the program. The predictive analytics can drill down as far as the component level, while real-time alerts report any exceptions to defined parameters.
These are the types of systems the industry has been calling for ever since manufacturers started to integrate Internet of Things technologies into their appliances. No one wants to download 20 different apps to monitor one kitchen, so having a single platform to control everything, even across whole estates, will be a boon for both the supply chain and operators themselves.
Both of these launches were revealed at this year’s Host show in Milan towards the end of October. Going round the halls, the Catering Insight team saw ever more digital technology developments in appliances, including a ground-breaking use of artificial intelligence by Welbilt brand Convotherm’s new Convosense oven, which uses a camera to scan and recognise exactly what type of food is being loaded into the cavity and automatically runs the required programme. This practically means that even a dolt like me could operate the oven – though whether high end chefs would welcome their own redundancy is another matter!
Host really is the place to find cutting edge innovations, and the show seems to get bigger every time. So many exhibitors we spoke to were overjoyed with the amount, quality and variety of visitors they received, with many remarking that the event is getting ever more international too. We certainly witnessed a large contingent of British dealers heading round the halls anyway. Some suppliers even claimed that Host is the only show they’ll be participating in from now on, which gives an idea of the strength of their satisfaction. The exhibition is only destined to grow.