When people talk about the Internet of Things, there are often semi-joking references to fridges that know when you've run out of milk and ovens that know how to cook whatever you put in them. Forget the jokes; this is now a reality. We've already seen a generation of smart appliances, and Microsoft wants to be part of what happens next.
At Hannover Messe today, Miele - of oven, vacuum cleaner and washing machine fame - announces it is working on a new breed of appliances based on Microsoft Azure Internet of Things (IoT) services. What does this mean? Ultimately it means you'll be able to find a recipe online, have the ingredient list and preparation instructions sent to your mobile device, and your smart oven will be automatically configured with the correct settings.
At the industrial fair, Miele revealed that it had completed a proof-of-concept study of Microsoft's technologies and was ready to start building a new breed of smart appliances. Caglayan Arkan, Microsoft's Worldwide Manufacturing and Resources general manager said: "This is just one example of how the Internet of Things and cloud technology are moving from enterprise experiences to personal experiences. Miele is driving a truly innovative home solution that we are looking forward to experiencing in our own kitchens."
Dr. Eduard Sailer, Miele's executive director of Technical Affairs at Miele, said:
"This assistance system incorporates temperature charts, times and the machine's special features, such as adding steam, to create the optimum roasting, cooking or baking results. This allows people to get the best results out of their cooking appliances."
Although at the moment there is a focus on food preparation, Microsoft points out that the same technologies could be used in other ways. Other possible uses include generating status report for machines or enabling remote diagnosis of problems.