It is predicted, that by 2020 billions of devices will be connected to the internet. This technology is known as The Internet of Things (IoT), which refers to uniquely identifiable objects that have a digital presence being connected to one another, creating a digital ecosystem, as well as being connected to the internet.
To better understand how a future Smart Fridge might work, you need to understand how radio frequency identification (RFID) tags work. An RFID tag is a technology that will be embedded into retail products. An example of this tracking technology is that they could be embedded into the inside of a pair of shoes or added as a sticker on a product’s packaging. The purpose would be to track and identify products using radio waves.
This technology will eventually replace the need for the barcodes that are in use today. Each RFID tag represents a unique number for each item individually, as opposed to a barcode tracking items as a group. This will then make it possible for the differentiation between like products. The number can then be read by an RFID reader which will process the data through network connections and identify the product name, manufacturer, expiration date and all other pertinent information about the item.
The appeal of the RFID technology is that it will be a huge benefit to retailers as a way to identify and track a product through its lifecycle. Each specific item can then be tracked from the producer, through the storage, to the shop floor and to the person who purchased it. The technology can be used to prevent theft and to maintain a real time inventory of all products in a store, sending alerts when it’s time to replace missing or expired products.
The fridge of the future will use this technology in much the same way. It will be semi-transparent with a display that will tell you exactly what’s inside, minimizing the need to open the doors so that foods can stay fresh longer. Neatly organized food will be recognized and categorized using sensors. We will have the ability to place foods on hold, with a message for a specific future use, like the next Sunday’s dinner. Leftovers will have clear expiration dates and it will be able to calculate the freshness of foods and automatically create a shopping list when things are missing or at a predetermined level. An example would be when the milk reaches a predetermined level it can be added to a shopping list based on the calculated useage. The Smart Fridge will even be able to suggest recipes based on the ingredients available in the fridge. The Fridge of the Future will also be able to help us maintain our diets, especially if we require a special diet for health reasons.
This description of the Future Fridge may sound like something out of a Sci-Fi movie except for the fact that this technology is already available to us today. Smart Cabinets or RFID Cabinets are being 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 have to identify themselves with a personal key card to open the door. Then they remove any item from the shelf, which have RFID tags attached to them. Information is then captured in real-time so managers know what they have in stock.
This technology is made possible by the use of RFID tags, the possibilities are endless.