Thursday, September 13, 2012

ubiquitous computing in food?

This has mostly artsy fartsy examples, but it got me thinking of some new business models this could launch. 

The idea is that you can merge electronics and food in a pretty seamless fashion.  You don't have to shove them together after the fact. 

I can think of two basic categories: internet connectivity or some kind of local accessorizing like the embedded mouse in the article (although that is kind a silly example). 

Connectivity
  • Instead of putting nutrition labels, ingredients, or whatever non-marketing (which needs to be push rather than pull) information you want on the label, allow potential customers to pull it.  This gives them the most updated information and any quantity they want to pull.  This would be especially useful for the newish strategy in which companies are associating fair trade stories with individual items - "Jose the farmer down in Colombia grew these coffee beans and sold them to Maria the processor . . . ."  
  • It would also be good for Kosher/Halal food in which customers could look up the factory where the food was made to verify the certification.
  • In cases of recall, especially food poisoning scares, consumers could look up whether a specific item is in the recalled batch (instead of tossing every tomato product they have), what the consequences are, specific symptoms, what treatment they need, etc.
 Local Accessorizing
  • Embed an oven controller inside the food.  So you just stick it in and it knows what to do.   30 minutes defrost at 150 degrees, an hour at 350, 10 minutes to rest before serving. 
  • Who needs a remote when I can embed a Kinect controller into my potato chips?  OK, maybe that is a silly one too. 
Any other examples?  This could get fun.