oftenwrong 45 days ago [-]
The main antipattern of smart fridge startups is building something that is not a must-have. Re-ordering milk automatically or inventorying the fridge from an app is more like a neat trick than something people actually need. It addresses a minor problem, and therefore does not inspire an expensive purchase or subscription fee. Even if a company absolutely nailed the functionality, I doubt many people would be willing to pay much for it.
notahacker 45 days ago [-]
I think an even bigger issue is that sometimes the "solution" is likely to be worse than the problem. Smart fridges may automatically top up when you're on holiday, duplicate items you leave out of the fridge for a few hours or pick delivery timescales for when you're not in the house and whilst those are configurable parameters, anticipating and dealing with that might be more of a pain than hitting "reorder" on a smartphone app.
pnwhyc 46 days ago [-]
Presumably, most of them filed patents before their demise. So Google Patents is a good place to start

https://patents.google.com/?q=smart+refrigerator&oq=smart+re...

vermorel 46 days ago [-]
Awesome idea!
Spivak 46 days ago [-]
Integrating with the fridge itself I think is a losing game. But I think a personal inventory system would find a market. Just have one of those grocery store guns tied to an app that inventories your fridge and pantry, estimates expiration times, and has a little switch to switch between adding to inventory and adding to list. I think the killer feature would be speed though. It has to work in milliseconds and be completely seamless for it to be worth the effort.
throwaway894345 46 days ago [-]
I've thought about this for a long time. Whole Foods (AMZN) could build or partner with an OEM to automatically re-order (or suggest for re-order) certain products when they run low (perhaps based on predictive analytics tailored to the individual fridge unit). The fridge should connect to a Whole Foods catalog that associates items with full/empty weights so it can infer the remaining contents. Integrate with Alexa to allow people to ask how much X is remaining or when she thinks X will run out, etc. Integrate with a recipes database so you can ask things like, "What can I make with the groceries on-hand?" or to allow users to place an order for ingredients for a particular recipe (less the ingredients already on-hand). Of course the corollary would be "smart cabinets" that do the same thing sans refrigeration. I don't know why this doesn't exist yet tbh. Surely people would pay a premium on groceries for the convenience.
sct202 46 days ago [-]
But how much would a person value an inventory system? For retailers there are financial impacts so that they can maximize inventory turns and minimize lost sales.

If I run out of spaghetti it's a minor inconvenience and there isn't a clear financial impact.

OldHand2018 45 days ago [-]
I like spaghetti a lot, but I don't want to eat it twice a week forever. When I run out of spaghetti, I don't want some service to send me more: my fridge/pantry can't hold all the stuff I like to eat all at once.
_ah 45 days ago [-]
This works easily with ubiquitous RFID. If we eventually transition to fully automated grocery checkout we may end up in this future by default.
rdtwo 44 days ago [-]
Don’t make a smart fridge make a good fridge. Nobody needs another malware gateway that orders overpriced shit and breaks down after 2 years
buescher 46 days ago [-]
The Wink home automation system had smart egg trays. https://www.cnet.com/reviews/quirky-egg-minder-review/
Mobleysoft 46 days ago [-]
I concur with your suspicion. A quick google of smart fridge startups yields this post as its 5th result.I'll list what my search returned.

1)Ovie.life, which doesn't seem to have launched yet. 2)Karma.life, which came up in an article about it, rather than the website proper, though the .life tld seems like an interesting trend. 3)Whisk.com, which appears to be the most alive, so far, of the companies I found in this space. 4)Brezzl.com, which makes a fridge cam to turn your dumb fridge smart. Because people want smart fridges without spending smart fridge money, ostensibly. 5)ByteFoods.co, which looks a reinvented version of those random food item vending machines. I can't tell if employees pay per item or the client firm pays to keep it stocked, but seems like an interesting perk to have if the latter.

And that's it for the first page of results.

Observations:

1)It seems like every major fridge manufacturer now has a smart fridge offering that already does much of what a pure smart fridge startup would do. 2)Most of the results returned by this query were smart fridge startup adjacent, if I had to rigorously categorize them. 3)Whisk is the only one I think I've heard of, but I'm not sure what it does. 4)I have a wife that does the shopping. Aside from Covid concerns this past year, I wouldn't want to be the one to tell her I've solved the "problem" of her having a recurring task to do that gets her out of the house a few times a week and brings real value to our family, and all with a single click for the low cost $9.99 per month, no less. She might like the extra free time, but I doubt it would be in our combined best interest to have that bit of control and impact taken away from her "for her convenience". Call me crazy, but I'd go as far to say she likes it. She's a homemaker, so I'm assuming a more directly income generating career oriented person would feel differently, especially if the food shopping we're "their task" in a given relationship, unless their partner handled all the home maintenance and yardwork such that nutrient acquisition being left to the subject in question seemed fair, though in our case, Granddad does those things (enjoying his retirement, he says), making the 90 hours a week I spend running my businesses darn enjoyable, I have to say. I'm curious to hear from others if they, or their partners (whether directly queried or as matter of perception) enjoy, or seem to enjoy stopping/going out for groceries (let's assume in the pre-covid times, for argument's sake).

I think my final observation above is what makes smart fridge startups DOA. They're messing with the bread and butter of a demographic that still, despite rapidly a-changing times, make up the vast majority of the bread-spenders, when it comes to nutrients, at least. That might be ill-advised. I who knows. It's not my wheelhouse.

I think I'll wait for a replicator, a la star trek, to hit the local distribution center before I start that conversation with Mrs. Mobley, anyway. I choose life.

watertom 45 days ago [-]
So what is your great idea that will succeed where the others have failed?
wussboy 45 days ago [-]
"The best way to make money at gambling is to develop a system, write a book about that system, and sell the book."