Smarterware by Ovie
What Is It:
Ovie is a kickstarter backed tech startup based in Chicago, that produces a line of Smarterware – internet of things connected food storage system – which are essentially Smart Tags and accessories that alert users when the contents of their fridge are going bad.
These Smart Tags warn about expiration of food through colour coding (e.g yellow for food that should be consumed fast, red for expired), and prevents food wastage which is a huge problem.
Also, these Smart Tags come in various forms and can be tagged onto just about anything – there are containers to store leftovers, clips for closing bags, as well as a Universal Connect that can be tagged on anything from cardboard to glass.
Cost-wise, these Smart Tags are fairly affordable and go from $35 USD for a starter pack, up to $300 for a total fridge kit.
How It Works:
There are 2 ways to record the contents of the Smarterware, through Amazon Alexa (smartspeaker), or a mobile application (smartphone).
Smarterware works with Amazon Alexa by voice recognition. This means that all a person has to do to record their food is to say what is the content of their Smarterware, and through Alexa, Ovie will match that to relevant information in its database.
It is also possible to record the contents of the Smarterware through the companion app available for phones, that also comes with additional features such as it sending notifications to users when their food is about to expire. It also provides recipes that are filtered to ingredients one has in their fridge.
More in-depth step by step explanation of how Ovie’s smart tag works:
- Avoidable food waste (which is food items that could have been consumed if better managed) is completely preventable, and Ovie would help significantly in managing that.
Food waste is a significant issue all over the world, and especially so in Singapore, as it is “one of the biggest waste streams in Singapore and the amount of food waste generated has grown by around 20% over the last 10 years. In 2019, Singapore generated around 744 million kg of food waste, equivalent to 2 bowls of rice per person per day.” (from https://www.towardszerowaste.gov.sg/foodwaste/)
- Seemingly simple and intuitive to use. Just log the food in your fridge via Alexa or your phone.
- Instead of having to stand in front of a fridge and look for food products with the door open (if it isn’t a smart fridge that has see-through doors like the LG Instaview Refrigerator), you can just conveniently browse the contents of your fridge on your phone.
The LG Instaview fridge that allows you to view the contents of it by knocking twice. Costs $5,119 SGD.
- Speaking of smart fridges that can cost upwards of $5,000 SGD ($6,999 in the case of the Samsung Family Hub Fridge), compared to them, Ovie’s Smarterwares are super cheap to get into smart food management.
- While the kickstarter project has managed to raise $64,176 out of its $40,000 goal, the product still has not been shipped out to its backers… after 2 years. (On the product’s Kickstarter website, it still says ESTIMATED DELIVERY: Jul 2018)
Comments taken from the various social media sites of Ovie.
- Might be a niche product, appealing only to people who really care about the environment / food wastage, and I do not quite see it having an appeal to most Singaporeans.
Honestly if this product really does end up being manufactured and sold, and if I were a working adult, I would get a set. I personally can attest to unintentionally wasting food due to forgetting what I have bought and when it expired, and I feel that a smart system without the hefty price tag of a fancy fridge would be helpful in tracking my groceries.