Evan Kraus is a senior vice president and director of APCO Online®, a service group that delivers powerful, results-focused online communication strategies for APCO Worldwide’s clients around the world.
We believe one of the most exciting trends in the digital world is the massive amount of convergence going on and the extent to which it is influenced by both the infusion of wireless data and integration with social media. At CES (#ces) this year, you were almost as likely to see a car or an oven as a tablet or a PC. At some level, that’s nothing new. Centuries-old durables like cars and washers were infused with electronics decades ago. But it was awfully hard at times not to take a step back at the amount of sophistication and usability that is coming and say “wow.”
As a firm with deep roots in public affairs and corporate responsibility and with health care as our largest global practice, we are well of the obesity crisis, the pressure on food producers to deliver healthy alternatives and the fierce debate going on about the appropriate level of regulatory oversight about how food products are marketed and sold.
And then we came upon the Smart ThinQ refrigerators by LG. I’ll let C|Net handle the full review, but the short version is that these devices scan and log your new groceries as you put them in the fridge after shopping, and then track them as they are used on a slick LED screen, your smart phone and even your television. You get alerts when the milk is spoiled or when you’re low on cheese, can download a grocery list to your phone when on the road, and can even display recipes based on the items sitting on your shelves.
But what was really interesting to us in the context of wellness was a dietary alignment feature, in which the consumer can enter in the dietary needs and restrictions of members of the family (e.g., diabetic, gluten-free, low fat or no-salt) and the suggested recipes would automatically conform based on who was sitting down at the table to eat. Since we believe the wellness problem can only be solved by consumers making smarter choices, appliances like this one could prove to be a valuable tool for the future.
Real-time grocery lists are a cool feature, but solving the obesity problem could be the ultimate killer app.