Intelligence in the kitchen is the message coming out of this year's Consumer Electronics Show taking place in Las Vegas this week as electronics and IT companies band together to create 'smart' devices for the home's busiest room.
Computing and software giants such as Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Cisco and Intel together with consumer electronics manufacturers including Sony, Panasonic, Whirlpool, General Electric, Bosch and Casio are convinced that consumers will rapidly buy into the idea.
Bosch is showing off a networked dishwasher that can immediately alert the company's service department if something goes wrong. The manufacturer claims it will cut down on human error where consumers cannot adequately explain faults and inevitably save the customer money.
Whirlpool has unveiled a networked fridge that connects to the Internet via a detachable computer pad on the door. The 'intelligent' fridge can recognise when you have run out of a product and order it to be delivered from the supermarket.
Panasonic has an Virtual Chef Interactive Microwave oven which can record a recipe from a TV cookery show or from a website and display it on a screen at another time. It can even suggest recipes from ingredients you have left in your fridge.
These are just some of the home gadgets on show and while not all will make it to the high street analysts are still predicting that the market will be huge. The Yankee Research Group estimates that 9.5 million US households will have networks in the home by in 2003.
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