Internet of Things (IoT) and the Smart Fridge

As product designers, we live in exciting times. We’re on the verge of another technological revolution that will change the way we live and interact with our surroundings. This technological revolution is called the Internet of Things (IoT).

The Internet of Things refers to uniquely identifiable objects or “things” that have a digital presence. There are two main categories of these objects: identified objects and connected devices. These objects or devices can be connected to one another (to create a digital ecosystem), as well as to the Internet. Hence, the name, Internet of Things.

To better understand how a future smart fridge might work, it’s important to distinguish between the categories of objects (the Things), and to explain their meaning.

So What’s a Smart Fridge to Do?

The core functionality of the smart fridge is to maintain, with minimum effort, an inventory list of perishable food items and their expiration dates.

This is where RFID technology and the Internet of Things starts to kick in. RFID technology will eventually replace the barcode, therefore any product that has a barcode today will have an RFID tag in the future. The smart fridge will have an RFID reader embedded in every shelf. This reader will scan for RFID tags every time the refrigerator door is opened and closed.

This technology is already available. Smart Cabinets or RFID Cabinets are used to keep track of high value products in a wide range of markets, including healthcare, medical device, biotechnology, and security. Smart Cabinet users first identify themselves with a personal key card card to open the door. Then they remove any item from the shelf. Information is captured in real-time so managers always know what they have in stock.

The article also talks clearly about Identified Objects (barcodes & RFID), the Connected devices and more about the Smart Fridge.
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